who tried to hide the fact that they'd been
there at all.
Zschiesche family had had to contend with
the nagging easement road in and out of
ly a nuisance. About three times a year he'd
ask Raymond Zschiesche and later Otillie to
grade the road or allow him to spread a truck-
load of gravel or maybe just let him widen the
path so that two cars could get around each
other without flattening a couple of rows of
crops. Raymond Zschiesche had always been
civil and courteous, and he'd always said "no."
neighborly politeness had vanished. That the
investor group sued the county in an effort
to convince it to take over the road and turn
it into a smooth two-laner didn't make any
friends with the Zschiesche's. Otillie was six-
ty-nine years old when she got wind of the de-
vious plan and sent her youngest boy, Speedy
Zschiesche, off to the county courthouse to
tell her side of it--that the road was private
property, always had been, always would be.
The county agreed.
put up with four decades of pilots and jump-
ers and sightseers zooming back and forth
up the dusty road, each time rumbling past
the Zschiesche home's front door not fifty
Raymond John Zschiesche, in the last years
of his life, holding up a gnarled fist each time
he heard a car or an old Dodge D-100 pickup
with a pair of noisy glasspack mufflers blow-
ing past, each time some thrill-seeker turned
off of Fuchs Grove Road with his radio blar-
ing, fat truck tires spitting rock and loose
gravel every which way, each time a fine
layer of dust settled over the damp laundry
Otillie had pinned to the clothesline earlier in
the day, and I imagined Raymond Zschiesche
cursing the day a crazy, idealistic couple of
kids, Ray and Mary Harding, bought the land-
locked piece of Texas scrub next door and for
some screwball reason got it into their heads
to build an airstrip.
All to say that the property came with some
would just as soon put behind them.
cine Priscilla Zschiesche, now Francine Her-
nandez, the only surviving child of Raymond
and Otillie Zschiesche, and he presented what
I believed was a generous offer.
est appraisal price) or approximately $4.2
million in total. Two, I agreed to put $500,000
down and I asked the sellers, Francine and
the four other heirs (Speedy Zschiesche's