The Where I Live series aims to showcase our diverse city and region by spotlighting its many vibrant neighborhoods. Each week a local resident invites us over and lets us in on what makes their neighborhood special. Have we been to your neighborhood yet? Get in touch to share your story.
I was very close to my grandparents when I was young, and when they moved to Converse, I went with them. Back then, Converse was still a hidden gem with many longtime residents and a tight-knit community. The strong sense of community remains to this day, but we’re not so hidden anymore. As more people discover this wonderful town and make their homes here, Converse is growing and thriving.
It’s now been 21 years since I first moved here and I’ve moved into my own home and started my own family. Though Converse is getting bigger, it still feels like everyone knows one another here.
One of the best things about knowing all your neighbors is knowing that they’ll be there for you when you need them. When the pandemic started and there were shortages of food on grocery store shelves, we had neighbors who would set up tables outside of their house with canned food, rice, beans, pasta, things that people could make a lot out of because they knew people in our community were really suffering. That’s kind of the love that we have for our neighbors. We want to make sure that everybody in our neighborhood is taken care of.
When we built our house five years ago, this neighborhood was still pretty undeveloped, so we didn’t have any neighbors at first. As more families started moving to the area, getting to know them was easy and natural. We were all excited about our new neighborhood and building community with one another.
I quickly became involved at the new elementary school built in our neighborhood. My kids attend, so I wanted to make sure the school has all the support they need. As part of the PTO, I contribute to teacher appreciation efforts and things like snacks for students to keep their energy up when they’re testing.
With more residents, Converse has added more schools, but I remember growing up there was only one high school. And the community really rallied around that high school, especially during football season. To this day, that same energy and excitement around high school football lives on. If you’re trying to drive into or out of Converse on football night, good luck!
Converse North Park is one of our favorite places to visit as a family. There’s a playground for toddlers and another for bigger kids, basketball courts, a volleyball area, a pond for fishing, walking trails, and workout stations throughout — really something for everybody. There’s also a pavilion where you’ll often see people having birthday parties and other get-togethers. The park has always been such a big part of life in Converse, and during the pandemic especially, we saw how much the space means to our community.
My kids can’t get enough of Paraiso de Mexico #3 where they especially love the mangonadas. And I can’t miss an appointment at Kim Nails. For family dinners, we like Papa Dante’s, a family-owned Italian restaurant that’s been around since 1979.
We’d love to see more of that sit-down type of restaurant in Converse, since so much of what we have is take-out. As the city grows, we’re also seeing the need for more grocery options. We’d love to have a bigger H-E-B that can keep up with growing demand. Luckily, Converse residents are vocal and involved and the chamber of commerce is aware of our needs as a growing city.
Converse might not be as much of a hidden gem these days, but it’s certainly still a gem to me. I’m happy that more people are seeing it for the wonderful place it is and hope we’re smart about growth and stay true to our focus on community.