Enjoying those old photos

I’m sure I speak for VMS readers 60 and over in complimenting you on the Tuesday feature ‘Scene from THE PAST.’ I hope younger readers appreciate these historical links to Harlingen’s past even if they can’t imagine anything interesting happening in Harlingen in the 1930s through the 1960s.

That said, I particularly enjoyed the recent photos of the Whitworth family because their history is so closely linked with my family’s.

My parents Lee and Bertie Bourg were also charter members of St. Anthony’s Church.

Father Ordner was the ‘mover and shaker’ priest who raised the seed capital to build the church at Harrison & 10th Street. (Sadly razed last year). and opened the doors of St. Anthony’s School in 1946-47. Father Ordner was replaced by Father Victor Ralph (later Monsignor Ralph).

My parents were godparents to Paul Edward Whitworth shown at age five in the photo.

Paul, or Ed as we knew him, said some years as an adult his only birthday card was from my mother. (That’s another story how she kept an impressive card file of birthdays and anniversaries of children, grandchildren, friends, acquaintances, you name it. She was a truly remarkable woman.) Ed was one of my best friends at St. Anthony’s and we graduated together from Harlingen High School (the Vernon Junior High building).

Lee and Bertie Bourg moved to Harlingen in 1929 shortly after their marriage. Both worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad (the ‘Mopac’) in the building at Harrison & Commerce.

My older brother Jim, still going strong living and working in Corpus, was born in 1932 and Joe (deceased) was born in June 1933 a few months before the infamous 1933 hurricane.

I had a photo from the Houston Chronicle at one time that showed my dad stepping off the train in Houston carrying Joe and holding Jimmy’s hand.

His comment to a reporter that ‘Harlingen is devastated; hundreds are dead’ thankfully was a bit overstated.

My younger brother Fred Bourque (he legally changed his last name to what he thought was more accurate genealogy — he was wrong) is retired and lives in Virginia.

Here’s a parting comment about St. Anthony’s School.

We didn’t appreciate the nuns drilling us on spelling, math, diagramming, and penmanship (Really? Kids today don’t even learn cursive) nor did we consider it ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ for them to hit you with a ruler at some random body part for cutting up in class.

They must have done something right.

St. Anthony’s grads in the 50s through 70s (and maybe since then) have accounted for a disproportionate share of top students at HHS, attorneys and judges (example Filemon Vela), and very successful businessmen (example Matt Gorges).

His has been a long-winded way of saying thanks for the new feature.

I look forward to it every Tuesday, and am still hoping to see the photo I submitted of the last Harlingen Cardinals basketball team to play in the ‘Final 4’ state tournament in Austin 61 years ago.

On a personal note, Thomas Wolfe erred in his famous ‘You can’t go home again’ comment. (Before I get nasty emails I realize he meant you can’t relive your past.) Anyway, I returned to Harlingen in 2007 to marry a wonderful widow, Janice Shofner Labar.

It was by far my best decision ever.

We will celebrate our eighth anniversary Aug. 8 with our good friends Sidney & Linda Broyles (their 57th).

Life is good in Harlingen.

Jim Bourg Harlingen