Roundtopolis: Old Places, New Eyes
In 1957, when she was a fourth grader at David Crockett Elementary, Cathye Moon got hooked on photography when she got a Brownie Hawkeye box camera—and an almost constant companion. Today, she rarely leaves home without a camera in tow.
“I’ve always loved photography and its ability to stop time in its tracks,” Moon, a retired teacher who lives in San Angelo, said. “Photography lets me capture what I wouldn’t notice if I hadn’t slowed down to take a picture.”
Moon describes herself as a passionate hobbyist. When her children were younger, the camera, often trained on family and friends, captured memories as they were being made. She laughingly tells a story about being “uninvited” to an event because the teenagers involved were “tired of having my camera in their faces.” This was in the days before teenagers were addicted to selfies.
These days she has camera and will travel.
“If there aren’t photo opportunities, I’m not going,” Moon said.
Moon and her husband Roy have season tickets to the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio. Once a month the retirees make the trek from San Angelo to San Antonio to catch a show. Then they plan a photography day trip using San Antonio as the launch pad.
“The day after the show, we go to a beautiful area that’s within easy driving distance of San Antonio, and we take a look around,” Moon said.
In the interest of full disclosure, the Moons and I go to church together—and have for 20 years. Our church office is the Register’s unofficial West Texas distribution center. They have been reading about Round Top since our first issue made its way to the frontier in early 2015.
They were inspired to go east. (No arm twisting involved.) In late March, after their monthly musical at the Majestic, the Moons and a photography loving cousin headed to Round Top and the surrounding area. None of them had ever been to Fayette or Washington counties.
Before they left, they picked my brain for suggestions and whittled down my enormous list of possibilities to a semi-manageable itinerary. Unbeknownst to me, they only had six hours to explore. According to Moon, their photographic sprint through the area was a little like Mission Impossible.
“My advice to fellow lovers of photography—or anybody coming for a visit—is that one day is not enough,” Moon said. “I could have spent an entire day in any of the locations we chose. We barely scratched the surface in the time we had.”
Moon agreed to share some of her favorite shots from the trip thus creating the opportunity to see beloved old places with new eyes. Enjoy this peek at her personal photo album.
A Q&A with Cathye Moon
RTR: Why did you choose the places you chose?
CM: For a couple of years now Cousin Cecelia has been telling us how remarkable the Painted Churches are, so we were anxious to see at least one of them. We started at High Hill.
Our sweet fur baby and king of the household is a long-haired Chihuahua named Burton, so of course we had to explore a town of the same name.
Once we arrived in Round Top, the town square drew us in. We branched out from there in search of nearby photo ops and discovered both Bethlehem Lutheran Church and Festival Hill.
RTR: What struck you about St. Mary’s Catholic Church in High Hill?
CM: The beauty of the interior, both the paintings and the architecture. We were lucky enough to be there at the same time as a tour, and we overheard some interesting tidbits. My favorite was that when they wanted to increase the church’s seating capacity they just sawed off part of the pews to decrease seat depth, so they could fit more pews inside.
CM: The train station was like a stepping back in time—something I love to do.
RTR: Festival Hill?
CM: We were disappointed that we weren’t able to see concert hall’s interior, but we loved the chapel and grotto. I can just imagine a wedding and reception there. So beautiful.
RTR: Bethlehem Lutheran Church?
CM: The exterior of the church was lovely in its simplicity, but the cemetery is what really attracted us. The style and age of the headstones indicated so much history in that one spot.
RTR: The countryside?
The trees. Oh, the trees. They ranged from full and flowing to bare and gnarly. Grand, absolutely grand.
RTR: What do you wish you would’ve had time to see and photograph?
The Antique Rose Emporium was on our “really want to see” list because I love to take close-ups of flowers to capture their intricacies. Unfortunately, the hour was late and we were hot, tired and hungry, so we put it at the top of the list of things to see on our next trip.
RTR: So you’ll be coming back?
CM: Yes. Most definitely and enthusiastically yes.
by Lorie Woodward Cantu
photos by Cathye Moon