Dear Fredericksburg: An Open Letter


Lauren Guzy

Dear Fredericksburg, 

It has been interesting, to say the least. These past ten years. I have been doing a lot of reflecting and looking back on things recently, and I feel like we have had this on-and-off-again relationship. 

When I first moved here with my family, I remember feeling embarrassed in parents for choosing Texas over anywhere else in the world for a place to live. With the influence of my older brother and twin sister, seven-year-old me had the idea that the South was the inferior part of the States, and I had resentment towards the stereotype of what Texas represented. 

After the novelty of hating the new town, the new house and the new school wore off, I started to realize all the good things about you. One of the first things I realized was the different demeanor of people here. Strangers holding doors for me, nodding their heads while saying hello on the sidewalk, and the grocery store clerk asking how my day has been and that they hoped I would have a good rest of the day was a bit strange and odd at first. That southern hospitality was something that I had to train myself not to find weird or take as an invasion of privacy. 

My family was introduced into a group of family friends and truly became a part of that group rather quickly (something my parents say that never happened to them in Minnesota, Nevada, and England). The strong sense of friendship and community helped counteract overhearing the unwelcoming comments from long-time locals and old Germans about all “those damn Californians” moving to town. But after 10 years of ski trips together and barbeques, I would do anything for them, and I know they would do the same.

For a long time, I would tell people that I was born and raised in Nevada, grew up a bit in London and then moved to Fredericksburg. I have always tried to disassociate being from Fredericksburg despite the fact that I have lived here the longest (and I have probably been shaped by you more than I would be willing to admit). But you have taught me a lot about growing up. I have noticed that you start to look at things a certain kind of way when you have grown up knowing the same people from elementary to high school. You have taught me to never forget where you come from but to have pride in where you are now. You have taught me that you can have trust in people, but also not to trust everyone. You have taught me that not all best friends are forever, but that I will always find and have the people I belong with. But you have also taught me just small you are and how much of a bubble you are.

Someone recently told me that the friends they made here are the best friends that they have ever had. That statement resonated with me strongly after thinking about it and finding that statement to be true to me as well. My best friends that I have had since second grade, the casual friends I made in middle school, the friends I drifted away from freshman year and a best friend I met sophomore year. I would not trade any of them for the world.

I would not trade all the after-school hangouts at Clear River, midnight dance parties in the HEB parking lot and hide-and-go-seek games at Walmart. From first dates at the movie theater to food trucks and after dark philosophical talks sitting in the trees at Lady Bird- all irreplaceable. Driving up and down Main Street playing music with the windows down being the sole form of entertainment for my friends and me, to the roads I could drive down with my eyes closed and all the hidden parking lots- I am thankful for those. Finding my love for theater, adventure, medicine, film, journalism, fashion. Everything was because of you, Fredericksburg. 

I recently went back to my hometown in Nevada, and I thought how different my life would have been if I never left Nevada or even if we stayed in London. Although I know if I were still living in either of my old hometowns (or anywhere else in the world), my time there would have still been great, but it would have been different. Could have it been better? Worse? That is something I will never know, but I am fine with. I am perfectly happy with my life that I lived here with you, and I do love you, Fredericksburg. But because I have lived in worlds outside of your bubble, I know come May after graduation it is time for me to pack up my life and move cross-country to one of the 10 out of state universities I applied to. And for that, I am thrilled and cannot wait to go and find a new place I chose for myself.

But, yes, it will be difficult to leave you. I will miss the drive I take to school, all my teachers, my favorite cafe that become my first job, the shops on Main Street, my parking stop (208) at the high school, seeing the man with his dog at the gazebo, complaining about tourists, afternoon drives to look at all the houses, and I will miss my friends and the people here.

So, thank you Fredericksburg. For everything.

With love,