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.

The well in the backyard was a focal point of my childhood. I would often decorate its stone sides with chalk art or attempt to plant flowers inside it. It also inspired many a ghost story during sleepovers with friends. We loved to speculate about what might come crawling out of its depths to crash our party.

My friends were also my neighbors and we attended St. Margaret Mary School together, rode bikes together, and were always over at each other’s houses — especially at one friend’s pool during the hot summers.

I was lucky to live just a few houses away from my grandparents and I cherish the time I was able to spend with them. My grandmother and auntie loved going to the movies, and I loved going with them. The theater that we used to go to was torn down and a new one went up in its place. Even though it’s a brand new theater, it still reminds me of the time I spent with them.

My grandmother was also very involved at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church over by St. Philip’s College. I was always running around with her on her various duties. My family still attends the church, and it’s where I got baptized, married, and plan on baptizing my daughter Zoë there as well. 

When my grandmother was older, my mom moved in with her to help take care of her. Her house, my childhood home, was sitting empty when Mattie and I got married, so my mom asked us if we wanted to move in.

Many of the neighbors are still around and have become like family. When I was pregnant, they would always check in on me and even brought me food and gifts. Now that I have a daughter of my own, I’m happy that she’ll grow up in the same warm community that raised me. She’ll even have her grandma right down the street just like I did.

Nicole Galindo-Collazo shows her daughter Zoë the well where she made lots of memories when she was younger. Credit: Bria Woods / San Antonio Report

The neighborhood and San Antonio’s Southeast Side have changed so much over the years. Whenever I would come home from college in New Orleans I would see something new. From Brooks to the McCreeless shopping center, we have more options for shopping and community spaces. There are a lot of misconceptions about the Southeast Side because it’s been a historically low-income area, but even before all the recent developments, Highland Park was a great place to live. I’ve always felt safe and welcome here and was happy to return to start my own family here.

Something we don’t have yet that I would like to see in the near future is a formal neighborhood association or community group that gets together to discuss issues and plan events. I remember attending the huge Halloween carnival at St. Margaret Mary’s when I was growing up and how much fun that was. The whole neighborhood would come out and there’d be carnival rides, food, and music. I’d love to bring back that tradition and start new traditions for the community.

Mattie Collazo and Nicole Galindo-Collazo walk from the CineMark theater, which used to be an older theater Nicole frequented with her aunt and grandmother. Credit: Bria Woods / San Antonio Report

We’ve made a lot of upgrades to the house, like knocking down a wall and creating a passing bar, closet upgrades, and even put in a basketball court in the backyard, which my husband cherishes. 

But one thing we’ve preserved is the well in the backyard. My husband reminds me it adds character to our home every time I suggest we tear it down to make more room in the yard. The plants now growing out of and around it add charm and, even though I sometimes still think it’s an eyesore, it’s a reminder of a happy childhood. I can’t wait to see Zoë’s own chalk drawings on it someday.