Born and raised in North Texas, just under an hour from the Dallas Fort Worth area, I have been able to see first-hand, one of the largest US growths in an area in my lifetime. I was born in the very late 70s in McKinney, Texas. At that time, just under 16,000 people. A bustling small town.
Having lived in and around this area for my entire life, what exists now, is nothing like it was just a tad over 20 years ago. Considering the area of McKinney and surrounding cities have all been on the top of the list of the fastest growing area in the United States in the last few decades. This includes Plano, Allen, The Colony, and Frisco. Frisco, where my school’s bus drove on to farm market roads in the mid 1990 to get us to their high school stadium to play football. A meager small plot of land, very little seating, and probably the only lights on aside from the Dairy Queen. To look at Frisco barely twenty years later, skyscrapers kiss the sky and shopping centers crowd miles of intersections.
Twenty years is not that long. Seriously, barely two presidencies for all you political sycophants. So how did all this happen, and so fast? This puzzled me at first, but as soon as I started working in and around the adjacent growing areas, I figured it out very quickly. I was in my mid 20s and working in McKinney. Doing what I did, I came into contact with residents from about a 30–40-mile radius. One day in particular will stay with me forever. A lady had come into the business I was employed and asked to speak with a manager, no, this is not a Karen story. The lady was led to my office, greeted each other, and I assisted her in what she was needing. Nothing spectacular, I cannot remember what it was she was needing. I do, however, remember the warm smile and how her eyes lit up as I spoke.
” Dear, where are you from? What is that accent? Georgia? Alabama?”, she asked with a warm smile.
” Oh, no, ma’am. Born and raised here in North Texas. Born a mile from this building and always lived within 20-30 miles of here.” was my response.
This really confused me. As I was beginning to see, the majority of the transplants were from California a this time, and thinking they were accustomed to living amongst other northern and western transplants and never really heard a native speaker. I was a bit taken back by this. I mean, surprised, really. Well, this would not be the only time. All through my 20s, 30s, and now in my early 40s, I get asked from time to time.
Someone asked me a few weeks back, they were from Michigan, if it bothers me how the North Texas suburbs have become a landing spot for transplants. Well, not really. For the most part, I have made some great friends. What I can tell you is, people who come here, have a stereotypical idea of what they will experience. Some of it is correct, but most of those thoughts and ideology are dead wrong. Which leaves me saddened a bit, as the culture I miss is the one of people struggling together and watching after one another. I experienced this from all around North Texas in the 80s through the early 2000s. I have lived in a few places, but all had the same demeanor. Unity. Spending summers with my mother and being the only white kid in a black neighborhood in Wilmer Hutchins and Lancaster south of Dallas, I experienced neighborly love and unity. Neighbors making sure I had food, shelter, and not getting into too much trouble. Even growing up in east McKinney where the east side is predominantly Hispanic. People looked out for people. That is what I remember and hold dear.
It is different now. People in general. Is it all the transplants? Are true Texans going extinct?
I live in a small, overly saturated area east of Dallas not. The town is Fate, Texas. Basically Rockwall, but whatever. What I see now is people wanting to belong, but to be a Texan, you have to understand most of the people who live in these areas. They are disgruntled by the growth. Beautiful farmland and country taken away in lieu of sprawling neighborhood developments with HOAs that are a little, well, over-bearing. I tend to stay off social media but have accounts. Joined the Facebook group for my neighborhood. What I found was a soap opera of attention hungry residents, disgruntled neighbors, and Karens and Connors. Probably normal, hence why I do not let social media dictate my outlook. Too many keyboard warriors out there.
For the most part, the transplants are nice. Friendly and open? Not really. Having tried to strike up small talk with a few neighbors, I find it fruitless. People are guarded. If they do talk, it is to brag about something that most could give two shits about. Although, I listen, and try to see when the person is going to let down that facade and be themselves. This is what people talk about when they say Texans are “too proud” and “arrogant”. No, we just let it all out. We are ourselves for the most part. True Texas natives from the country are blunt, transparent, and just try being themselves. Do not know how else to explain it.
Is it our fault that we had classes from grade school to high school that was only for Texas history? No. There are a lot of cool things about Texas and its history that some do not realize, just as there are bad. True Texans never try to be a part of the status quo. This is born and bred into us. For most of us, who seek out higher education throughout our lives, we keep that small seed of Texas inside of us. That seed that reflects long walks in pastures and in woods. Down fence lines where honeysuckles were abundant. Friday night lights of football stadiums in small towns, rock roads to oblivion, and swimming holes galore up and down creeks and even the local ponds and lakes. Hay meadows that allowed an escape from the city, a place where you can park your truck, crack a beer and listen to nature. Sweet tea, white gravy, and Texas toast from Dairy Queen. The best Mexican food on the planet. All in Texas.