“I call my cousin who lives in Crosbyton to find out what it looks like now and if people still swim there,” writes Bobby Alemán. “I ask him if there are still waterfalls. He laughs.”

Silver Falls, once an idyllic swimming hole and recreation spot for families in Texas, no longer exists. But why did the waterfalls go dry? Alemán went back home to investigate why, and on the trip unexpectedly uncovers memories of his father, who died in 2005 at age 50.

She struggles to put words together to tell me about a separate incident involving my father. It turns out my dad once saved a drowning child at Silver Falls. He pulled a 6- or 7-year-old boy out of the water and performed CPR. The boy’s parents were hysterical. Screaming. “They were sure he was gone,” she says. “He just pulled the boy out, right?” I say, puzzled. “No! Your dad brought the boy back,” my aunt emphasizes. “He was as limp as can be.”

I’d never heard this story, but it didn’t surprise me. My grandfather tells me a similar story from many years ago about my dad spotting an injured hiker stranded on a ravine, most likely in the Guadalupe Mountains, when he and his girlfriend were on their way to Mexico for a trip. He was able to flag down help and get aid to the woman. My dad died in 2005 at the age of 50—too young. But since he’s been gone, his stories keep finding their way to me.

Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.