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Native Writes: Letís get serious

Posted: Friday, Feb 8th, 2013

Age doesnít necessarily breed wisdom.

The memory is such an inexact thing that it often plays tricks.

Comparing recollections can be ó and often is ó fun until someone takes it too seriously.

To tell the truth, I donít really remember where every one of my classmates lived when I was in school. If we werenít in scouts together or members of the same income group, I probably went there.

Most of my friends knew where I lived. It was a place of mystery, adventure and intrigue.

It had excitingly eerie shadows, windows that opened to nowhere in particular, a scary roof to play on and a hole in the floor. With a pole in it.

A couple of them recall it with a hint of excitement in their voices, but they canít tell me exactly where it was.

Its front windows, which one had to access with permission behind a locked door, looked out on what was once the bustling, throbbing heart of the city, the railroad depot and the loading docks for semi trucks that hauled goods from the flatbeds and boxcars inland where the rails didnít go.

I think someone lived across the alley to the rear, because lights were on in the rooms until late at night.

Once in a while, I meet someone who lived upstairs over Main or Sixth streets, but they really donít boast about it. I donít either, but I am proud of my dadís employment. My dad was night fire truck driver/street superintendent/jailer.

I had friends who owned yards and the parks werenít that far away, though I had to have been really good to get to accompany my uncle, aunt and cousin to Harmon playground.

Show of hands: How many people remember where that was?

Who remembers when there was a shallow pool at Boyd Park?

Why did we enjoy going to the 12th Street well until the city finished working on it?

Alamosa County will be celebrating its 100th birthday this year and, no Virginia, I donít remember anything about it before 1949. The rest I have learned from books, conversations and library archives.

Alamosa in its youth was predictable. My dad recalled a situation or two at Slavickís Saloon, so bad that he didnít let me walk eastbound on Sixth Street without an escort.

I never saw the inside of a bar until I was a teenager, so I have no idea what went on there. By then, Slavickís was history and Beefís and Scottyís had taken their place. Show of hands: Who remembers the real name of Beefís?

My dad was the jailer until the 1950s, but I never knew who he placed there, or why.

Men with fat cigars in their mouths leaned up against buildings around town and I knew some of them, but was under strict orders not to speak to any one of them unless my dad was along.

Truthfully, I donít think any of those jolly looking men would hurt a young girl.

Then again... Back then, children didnít question parental authority.

Police officers were our friends.

We obeyed the law out of fear of what our parents would do when they found out.

ďReform schoolĒ was a place most of us feared. I knew where it was because my dad drove me past there a few times, but I didnít know anyone who went there.

In fact, I donít really remember anyone getting in serious trouble until I was in high school.

When the word started circulating around the hallways that ďso-and-soĒ was going to fight ďYou know whoĒ after school at the airport, why were we surprised that the law got there first?

I mean, there were no trunk lines that anyone could tap into.

If I use the word naive in describing Alamosa as a growing city, I donít believe Iím wrong.

Today, the newspapers report that people are cutting and stabbing each other on the streets, firing shots in the neighborhoods and dealing hard drugs.

ďYouth TrackĒ is a reality and kids go there, but juvenile laws prevent their names from being reported.

Címon, now. Does protecting a youthful offender make him or her automatically better?

So I walk past the gaping holes where early buildings once stood and I walk to the alley past the drain that once was used by a mechanic at the fire station/city hall and I remember...

I know where Columbia Hall once stood, the venerable Sands, the three-story ďmenís club,Ē the two and one-half-storied Elks Lodge, and I marvel at the buildings that still stand.

Can anyone tell me the first home of the Valley Courier? Hint: It wasnít the old hospital.

How many doctors had their own hospitals in their huge residences?

Recollection is odd. Maybe we should celebrate Alamosa Countyís 100th birthday by getting serious about it.

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