The Walk

The Texas Story Project.

“The freshly bloomed sunflowers and roses didn’t compare to her beauty.” My great-grandfather described the first moment he had seen my great-grandmother as he took his first walk on the UT Austin campus in 1946. He emphasized that it was the best walk he’d ever taken in his life. My great-grandfather goes by the nickname, “Ware” now because that it what my great-grandmother called him; her nickname was “Bellissimo”, which means “beautiful” in Italian. My whole family calls her “Bella” now. My great-grandfather said, “I decided that name for her because that’s the only word that ran through my mind when I saw her that day on my walk.”

It was August of 1946 beginning the new school year at UT Austin and Ware was walking the campus a day early to get a feel for the campus. It was sunny and warm and there were birds chirping and singing in perfect harmony. The universe seemed perfect as each moment led to the next. Everyone was happy, and he remembers specifically the sound that his leather shoes made when he walked on the stone pathways. “It made me feel official- like my shoes were taking me somewhere important in life.” He had a gut feeling that this new beginning at UT was going to change his life for the better.

The street they crossed paths isn’t remembered but they were walking parallel in opposite directions from each other when he saw her. “She was glowing. She looked so happy, and I was very interested in her.” When he saw her he quickly greeted her and introduced himself. His cheeks started to hurt from his amount of smiling because their greeting turned to planning on meeting later for tea. She “I could tell even from our supper and tea date that we were going to get married.” He was certain to make it happen. The rest of the night they talked and laughed and discussed their plans after school and what their goals in life were. They essentially fell for each other and within days of talking they made it “official” that they were dating.

After they both graduated from UT, they went to Medical School together as well and after they finished that, they got married and headed back home where they both were from, San Antonio, and carried out their careers and started a family.

Unfortunately, this story can only be told through my great-grandfather as my great-grandmother passed away a few years ago. Currently, my great-grandfather still lives in their first house and he still talks of her as if she’s still with us physically. Their story of how they became is a source of hope for me that everything happens for a reason. He later revealed that he was considering not going on this walk and staying in for the day as he was still settling in his new apartment. If he had not gone on that walk to preview his class locations, he would have never crossed paths with my great-grandmother and the next generations living and to come might not exist.

Who would have known that the simple decision of taking a walk on a that specific day, would lead him to the love of his life? If there is one thing that I will always remember of my great-grandfather, it’s that at every family event he stresses to me, “Always believe your actions have a purpose because they shape your future.”

Rheanna is a first-year freshman at St. Mary’s University and is studying Political Science. She is a part of the Alliance of Rattler Commuters and a member of St. Mary’s College Republicans. She strives to become a Corporate Attorney and Political Commentator and she is working to air her own podcast by the end of January 2019.

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