By Ryan Donovan
It’s strange living in a house and a neighborhood that you know you’ll be leaving soon.
That’s the position four of my friends and I have found ourselves in the past two years, our junior and senior years at college.
We’re all graduating seniors. I’m majoring in finance, and these last few weeks on campus have been extremely bittersweet.
Last year, we lived in a house in the Bluebonnet Hills neighborhood, which is a little closer to Texas Christian University’s campus than where we live now in Westcliff, about 6 miles southwest of downtown Fort Worth. Seemingly too Bluebonnet Hills is much more prevalent with TCU students.
At our current house, which is right off Granbury Road and on the outskirts of Westcliff, we’re pretty far from campus.
Instead of running into TCU traffic we run into McLean Middle School traffic. Lines of cars stretching down both streets bordering our house, with kids running in and out, during pick-up and drop-off times.
Instead of hearing the TCU Frog Horn during home football games, we hear the blaring horns of trains passing by — up to four times a day. The train tracks are fewer than 200 feet from our front door. The horns often wake us up in the middle of the night on weekdays. On weekends, we’ll try to hop on the moving train, yet to no avail.
But when pick-up and drop-off ends and the train isn’t blaring its horn while passing our house, it’s a very quiet neighborhood, one that I’ll miss.
Westcliff census breakdown
Total population: 3,218
Two or more: 3%
80 and older: 3%
No degree: 7%
High school: 9%
Some college: 25%
Bachelor’s degree: 38%
If I need a quick grocery trip, the neighborhood Albertsons is a two-minute drive away, with a Dollar General neighboring if I want some $1 candy, or a cheap energy drink.
In the same lot is a neighborhood restaurant, Cafe Bella, a BYOB Italian restaurant that has every Italian dish you could think of. The BYOB is a nice touch for college students — bring a bottle of wine with you and you’re bound to have a good dinner.
The neighborhood Shell station on Kell Street with legendary cashier “Kell Shell” Sam also is a draw for students looking to buy cheap drinks or snacks. The gas prices are also significantly better than at the stations’ lined along University Drive.
Although it’s not in our neighborhood, I’m a quick three-minute drive to the TCU campus. I don’t need to go far to get to and from class. When my day ends, I don’t need to go far to pick up my Potbelly sandwich. (I basically eat a sandwich a day — since living here I’ve racked up hundreds of Potbelly rewards points.)
I don’t yet know what I’m doing or where I’m going after graduation. I’m leaning toward staying in Fort Worth, but know I likely won’t be living in Westcliff once our lease ends.
Regardless, the neighborhood and its quirks will have a long-lasting impact on me and my memories of college.
Whenever I think back on these incredible four years, Westcliff will always be a part of it.
Ryan Donovan is a senior studying finance at Texas Christian University, where he will graduate in May. He lives in the Westcliff neighborhood in Fort Worth.