La Feria News

Shadows of the Past

CentennialSeal

The city of La Feria is celebrating its 100th year anniversary and to commemorate the occasion we are digging deep into our archives each week to bring you images and stories from La Feria’s colorful past.

The following is part of a series of historical articles written by Michael Lamm that originally ran in the La Feria News in 2003. They are being reprinted with the author’s permission.

Someone asks me where I’m from, and without hesitation I answer, “La Feria, Texas.” Then I tell them, “You’ve heard of La Feria, haven’t you?” And they say, “No.” So I explain where La Feria is, more or less, but I can never explain what La Feria is. Nor was. Nor what it meant to me.

It’s the “was” that I’ll write about in this series. I grew up in your town, my ex-town, some 60-odd years ago. To me, the memories are still vivid. I’ve been back, yes, on several occasions, and a few archeological reminders of growing up still exist. Yet it’s always a bittersweet return. Revisiting, I feel like a cat in a room full of furniture that’s been moved around.

Heinrich and Annie Lamm moved to La Feria in 1939,  fleeing Hitler’s Germany, when the author was only three years old. His parents would set up medical practice in La Feria and he would spend his formative years growing up here. This photo is of the author in college in Portland, Oregon, 1957. Photo: Michael Lamm/blog.hemmings.com

Heinrich and Annie Lamm moved to La Feria in 1939, fleeing Hitler’s Germany, when the author was only three years old. His parents would set up medical practice in La Feria and he would spend his formative years growing up here. This photo is of the author in college in Portland, Oregon, 1957. Photo: Michael Lamm/blog.hemmings.com

I truly don’t know what it’s like to live in La Feria today, but back then it was idyllic. What a great place to grow up. Like being Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer and Andy Hardy headed toward becoming Holden Caulfield. La Feria, for me, turned out to be a wonderful experience–warm, tranquil and supremely innocent. It’s the innocence that I miss most.

My parents moved to La Feria in 1939, when I was three years old. My mom and dad were both doctors, and I suspect a few of you might remember them: Heinrich and Annie Lamm. I went through all 12 years of La Feria’s school system, start-ing in first grade in 1942 and graduating along with 31 classmates in 1954. I then went away to college in Oregon and New York, and although I did return to La Feria for holidays and on other occasions, my life there effectively ended after high school. And yet the town has continued to be my geo-graphic and emotional center, and I’ve always realized that I owe it more than I can say.

In writing these columns, I’ve decided to throw chronology to the wind. So figure on coming in at the middle of some-where between about 1942 and 1954; no telling where. In the end, my ramblings might make a little sense, but they’ll tend to be impressionistic. More next week.

 MichaelLamm3ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Lamm’s family moved to La Feria in 1939, when Mike was three. Both his parents practiced medicine in La Feria. Mike grew up here and went away to college in 1954, first in Oregon and then in New York. He and his wife, JoAnne, and their three sons live in California, where Mike publishes books about cars. His company website – www.LammMorada.com.


Do YOU have any photos, books, or stories that might help us piece together La Feria’s storied history? If so please email us or call our office at 956-797-9920 and let us know!

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