Beneath The Window
Stories That Must Be Told
Before it became a national park, the Big Bend was home to a number of ranches and mining operations. On the Wilson ranch, which stood at the center of the current park, Patricia Wilson Clothier spent her youth exploring the wonders of ranch life in the Chisos. Patricia´s richly detailed memories, coupled with a backdrop of Depression era hardships, bring the Big Bend to life in this original and vivid description of a childhood spent Beneath the Window.
Jack Lamkin, President of Friends of Big Bend
"A book with a different perspective. It is warm, yet full of strength. It is not only a story of the Big Bend, but of a family with joy, sorrow, and struggle. A story of a time and place that is gone, but one that should never be forgotten."
Jean Bradfish, award-winning author and editor
"This is Patricia Clothier´s story of growing up in the 1930s and 1940s on a vast ranch in the mountains and desert hugging the Mexican border in the Big Bend country of Texas, before it became a national park. Her family weathered rattlesnakes and drought, accidents,loneliness, and the financial hardships of the Great Depression with fortitude, ingenuity, and grace. Like their scattered neighbors - miles away over rugged roads - it was the love of the land that gripped and held them there. Clothier paints a picture of this vast and glorious territory with words as vivid as any artist with a pallet of paints. A joy to read - an adventure of Western life you´ll not forget."
"My life has been closely intertwined with that of Patricia ever since she was born, particularly during those years when we both lived on our family ranches in the Big Bend. Our families and the others that were clustered around the Chisos Mountains shared the same problems. Patricia has captured these and the intense love we had and still have for the area. This book needed to be written because it shows what life was like in the Big Bend before it became a National Park and I am extremely proud of Patricia for doing it."
Customer Reviews - GoodReads
Peg - "The Big Bend Country in southwest Texas wasn´t always the site of a National Park as it is today. Before that it was home to a number of hardy ranchers and their families who made a living from the land. In the first half of the 20th century, Homer Wilson and his wife, Bergine, came to the Big Bend country and put together land for their ranch that was measured in sections, not acres. Homer was a geologist who stayed on as a rancher and was the father of the author, Patricia Wilson Clothier. In her memoir of life in the 1930´s and 40´s in that remote part of Texas, Patricia tells, not of a life of deprivation and loneliness, but a life filled with hard work and the friendship of neighbors. These hardy families, together, survived the Depression, a drought and the beautiful but difficult land that was their home. Her descriptions are vivid and capture the harsh allure of the land.
Big Bend has been a National Park since the mid 1940´s. Thus it is preserved for visitors to enjoy, however almost all signs of earlier ranches and homes have disappeared. It is difficult today to imagine crops growing, peach trees bearing fruit and fenced pastures and shearing sheds. The Wilson ranch alone had some 40 miles of fence with careful attention paid to preserving water sources and using them carefully. Being a stone´s throw from the Rio Grande made Mexico and its people close and friendly neighbors to the American community in Big Bend. If you ever have a chance to visit Big Bend National Park, this memoir is a must."