Sept 6, 2017–If things had turned out a bit differently, today’s school children might be singing a song written by a Hill Country resident in place of Texas, Our Texas.
Fredericksburg’s “almost famous” songwriter was Louise Forres Enderle. Her song was When It’s Bluebonnet Time Down in Texas.
Born in 1884 in Fayetteville, Texas, Louise met her husband, B. Lester Enderle, in Kerrville. Lester Enderle was a well-regarded teacher and coach at the Fredericksburg High School, Gillespie County surveyor, and later recognized as an originator of the Hill Country peach industry.
But I couldn’t find out much about Louise Enderle’s story online. So back in 2006 I tracked down her daughter, Louise Nixon (who has since passed away).
“Mother was a dyed-in-the-wool Texan,” Mrs. Nixon told me. “She only wrote about things that had to do with Texas.”
Louise Enderle was a piano teacher and composer. According to her daughter, Mrs. Enderle was earnest in her composing duties.
“We would come home from school some days and see that no housework had been done,” Mrs. Nixon recalled. “We knew that mother had been writing music.”
Mr. Enderle was often called on to sing during school programs. He enjoyed singing, but would perform only his wife’s original compositions.
“Fredericksburg was a musical town,” Mrs. Nixon said. “People who presented music were always in demand.”
That would have been the end of this tale, if not for a competition announced in the 1920s. The state of Texas was seeking entries for an official state song. Aspiring songwriters from around the state turned in their compositions.
Louise Forres Enderle was among the hopefuls. Her song was chosen as one of the “best” songs entered from each Senatorial District. Mrs. Nixon does not recall many details, as she was a young girl at the time. She does remember that her aunt from out of state came to stay with the children while their parents made the trip to Dallas to perform When It’s Bluebonnet Time Down in Texas.
Of course, we know the winner was Texas, Our Texas. Even 80 years later, Mrs. Nixon kept her strong opinion why the other song won.
“It was more militaristic,” she said, with no hint of sour grapes. “Mother’s song was more poetic.”
Mrs. Enderle returned to Fredericksburg, where she and her husband continued to perform at American Legion programs, school functions, and community events. But she still played only her original compositions.
Mrs. Enderle never saw her songs in print. A few years after her death, her children got together and published a songbook with six of her original compositions. It was called the Texas Song Album, and on the cover is a Texas flag, an outline of the state, and a drawing of a bluebonnet.
The song titles confirm her love of the Lone Star State. Louise Enderle wrote Texas; Beautiful San Antonio; I’m Going Back to Texas; At the End of the Trail; Little Log Schoolhouse; and, of course, When It’s Bluebonnet Time Down in Texas.
As for the song? It goes a little something like this…
When It’s Bluebonnet Time Down in Texas
There’s a place of enchantment, A dear land of dreams
Where the fleecy clouds kiss the blue sea
Where the redbird and wren gaily flit through the glen
And the lark sings his sweet melody
When it’s Bluebonnet Time down in Texas,
and the fields are a great sea of blue
With the one that you love, and the bright skies above
Life holds nothing sweeter for you
When the mockingbird sings in the wildwood
To his mate in the moon’s golden glow
There’s no place can compare, with a springtime so fair
Down in Texas where bluebonnets grow
Printed with permission from Louise Nixon
Written by Louise Forres Enderle
Arranged by Mildred Benorden
Copyright 1968 by Sunnyland Songs
Published by Crescendo Music, Dallas