La Feria News

Larry Myers

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.

Larry took great pride in his La Salle, and despite its age, Larry could out-accelerate most new cars in La Feria. Photo: blog.hemmings.com

Larry took great pride in his La Salle, and despite its age, Larry could out-accelerate most new cars in La Feria. Photo: blog.hemmings.com

Larry Myers and I put a lot of miles on our horses. We used to ride together, starting when we were both 11 or 12 years old, and kept on riding until we both graduated from high school in 1954 at age 18.

Larry owned a sorrel quarter horse named Charro. Charro was astonishingly fast and had a lot of personality. My horse was a blue roan named Smokey. Smokey tended to be skittish. He’d rear up at imagined dangers, like a paper bag blowing across the road, and he had a habit of loping sideways. But I liked Smokey, and we got along fine.

In those days, La Feria was surrounded by open fields and citrus groves, and most country roads weren’t paved. Privacy was less a concern than now, and people didn’t mind us riding across their property. So one of the charms of horseback riding was the absolute freedom to trespass wherever we wanted.

Larry was one of those guys who had everything going for him. He had the looks of a Brando when Brando still looked like Brando. Larry was bright, brash, witty, full of energy, a good athlete. He played football, rode horseback extremely well, and had confidence to the point of guttsiness. Everyone liked him.

When we’d ride, we nearly always rode bareback. And we often took our horses swimming in the La Feria or Mercedes main canals. The horses weren’t anxious to go swimming, but with enough prodding, they’d take the plunge. Larry and I would be stripped down to our shorts, and in the water we’d hold onto our horses’ manes as they swam.

One day Larry happened across an orphaned baby raccoon. He adopted it, named it Jake, and Jake would ride behind Larry on Charro, hanging onto Larry’s waist with his tiny, human-like hands. Eventually Jake grew up and turned mean, so Larry set him free.

I also remember once riding along the arroyo toward Harlingen. About halfway there, we came upon a good looking young woman on a farm. She was hanging out laundry near the levee. Larry stopped and flirted with her. She was obviously flattered and interested, but she kept telling him that her husband would be coming home soon. I sat there fascinated and scared to death.

The summer between our junior and senior years in high school, Larry rode his Triumph motorcycle out to Los Angeles. He got a job parking cars at Hollywood and Vine. When he came back to La Feria, Larry told my classmates and me about the movie stars he’d seen, what cars they’d been driving and what they looked like in person. His Hollywood stories struck us as the height of romance and adventure.

We graduated together, but then Larry went his way and I went mine. I saw him only three times after that. He’d taken a job in Harlingen, married a wonderful, beautiful girl named Lorraine, later started a couple of businesses, and his life seemed to be going well.

Then, in the early 1970s, I heard from a friend that Larry had come down with MS, multiple sclerosis. My parents, who knew about such things, said it was serious, although Larry might live with MS for a long time.

He did. He struggled on for the next 30 years. Lorraine steadfastly stood by him. The two of them must have gone through some tough times together, and the one I know about had to do with their motorhome catching fire. Larry was badly burned, but he survived.

The third and last time I saw Larry, he and Lorraine owned a very nice home in Rio Hondo alongside the arroyo. Larry had chosen not to come to one of our La Feria high school reunions, so a group of us drove out to Rio Hondo and visited him. He was cordial and still confident, and his voice sounded exactly the same as it always had. But he wasn’t Larry anymore, not the horseback riding, motorcycling adventurer he’d been in school, and that’s probably why he didn’t want to attend the reunion.

Larry passed away a few months ago, and his death not only made me sad, it made me wonder again about the mechanism of human chance: how luck, good and bad, gets parceled out to various people. Larry showed me that luck is way beyond winning the lottery. Luck has to do with being spared the misfortunes that befall the innocent through no fault of their own.

Larry Myers was as good a person as you’d ever want to meet. He was that before he came down with MS and also afterward. Why his luck turned remains a mystery, but I think I was lucky just to know him.

MichaelLamm2ABOUT 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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