Tag Archives: Albuquerque

I Remember…Cousins, Mother’s Side-Part 3

10 Jun


Judy Wills




Uncle Frank didn’t like to have his picture taken. We only have a few pictures of him. After Mother and Jessie died, and Bill gave me all the family pictures, I began scanning them into the computer. Jessie had a bunch of slides, and they were scanned as well.  When I told Pat about that, he requested copies of any pictures I had with Frank in them.  And I have done so.  Here are a couple of them.


1959 – Uncle Frank and Aunt Lillie – San Antonio, Texas


1959 – Uncle Frank, Aunt Lillie, my Granny – San Antonio, Texas


1959 – Uncle Frank – San Antonio, Texas



At least he’s smiling in this one.


An amusing story about that family came up when we were staying with Aunt Lillie in 1974.  You see, back in the 1940’s, Jessie owned a small diner in downtown San Antonio, Texas.  (Please see my post of November 17, 2013 –My Aunt Jessie – Part 1)


San Antonio, Texas – Jessie’s little diner


Granny made some delicious pies for that diner that were a hit with anyone who ate a slice.  My favorite – to this day – was her chocolate cream pie (we just called it Granny’s Chocolate Pie). Yummmmmmmm!  Lillie loved it, as well, and made it often for her family.  She told me that one time she had made the pie, and it looked so good that she ate a slice.  Then she wanted another slice and ate it.  Then she realized that her boys would know that she had eaten so much of it, so she ate THE ENTIRE REST OF THE PIE!  And made a second pie for the family.  When I told Pat this story in 2001, he said “I didn’t know that.”  I said:  “she didn’t want you to know!”

One more thing about Aunt Lillie – she was a great cook!  As a matter of fact, she was a cook at an elementary school near her house.  When we were staying with her in 1971, she saw that we ate a Sara Lee Coffee Cake nearly every morning.  When she noticed that we were discarding the foil containers the coffee cake came in, she asked if we would save them for her.  Seems that road workers would come into the school and purchase a lunch from them, because the food was so good, but she had nothing to put the food in.  So our little foil containers were just what she needed.

For a time, Pat and his wife, Lee, lived in Albuquerque.  Actually in Rio Rancho, just outside the main city of Albuquerque, on the west mesa. On one of our visits there, Fred and I agreed to meet them at La Placita Mexican Restaurant in Old Town Albuquerque. Later, Pat said that, when they moved back to Texas, he could see Lee’s fingernail grooves in the road all the way! She really loved New Mexico and didn’t want to return to Texas.

Back in 2001 when Pat and Jimmie came to visit, they stayed with us for a few days.  We met up with Bill, DiVoran, and their family in Titusville for dinner one evening.  Bill agreed to escort them to Kennedy Space Center the next day, and the boys were excited by that prospect.  They went with Bill to KSC on September 10, 2001.  When 9-11 happened, I remember thinking, “WOW!  If they had been one day later, they wouldn’t have been able to get onto KSC, as everything was closed after the terrorist attack!”  I’m glad they were able to have a good day there.

Fred and I were able to meet up with Pat, Lee, and Gary last year on our road trip.  Here is a picture of them at the table at the BBQ place where we ate.


Cousin Gary, Lee – Pat’s wife, Cousin Pat


And on a recent trip, Bill was able to meet up with Pat and Lee for a meal.  He hadn’t seen them since that 2001 visit, when Jimmie was with Pat.

Family is always important, and these cousins have meant a great deal to my family.  I’m glad we have been able to stay connected all these years.


I thank my God every time I remember you

Philippians 1:3


1989 – Albuquerque, New Mexico
Stepfather Sid, Cousin Pat, Aunt Jessie, Mother




~~~~~~~~~~The End~~~~~~~~~

Memories of New Mexico~Part 12

14 May


Judy Wills



One of my fondest memories is of the old KiMo Theater (we pronounced it kee’-mo) in downtown Albuquerque. According to Google Search, it was built in 1927, and opened on September 19 of that year.


Credit Google Search and Daniel Schwen photographer


U.S. Route 66 was Central Avenue through Albuquerque, east to west, the main street through town. The KiMo Theater, located on Central Avenue, is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the New Mexico Register of Cultural Properties (credit Wikipedia).


Credit Google Search and On The Road with Jim and Mary


The KiMo Theater began to fall into disrepair after a stage fire in the early 1960’s, and the “exodus” of much of the downtown. The Theater was scheduled for demolition, but the city of Albuquerque bought the KiMo building in 1977, and restored it to its original glory. It is considered to be Pueblo Deco architecture style, which combines the Indian cultures of the Southwest with the flavor of Art Deco.



“The colorful Kimo building in downtown Albuquerque, done inside and out in Indian motif, is of interest to all new-comers.” Theatre Posts Credit Google search

According to Wikipedia, The word KiMo translated means “Mountain Lion” in the Tewa language. This word is also loosely translated to mean “king of its kind”….Due to the use of the name outside it’s native Tiwa culture, it is now a ‘dead’ word and is no longer used by native speakers.

I remember being fascinated by all the Indian symbols around the theater. The decorations were absolutely unique, and different from any other movie theater in town. I spent many movie hours in that theater.


Credit Google Search and Mark Bayes Photography

Credit Google Search and Alamy

Credit Google Search and Mygola

Credit Google Search and Trip Advisor

Credit Google Search and The wanderer.net

Credit Google Search and Getty Images

Credit Google Search

Credit Google Search and Trips Into History

Credit Google Search and Alamy


Although I don’t remember any mention of the theater being haunted, apparently KiMo has that reputation. Again, according to Wikipedia:

 For decades the KiMo has housed the spirit of a restless child. In August of 1951 a 6-year-old boy, Robert “Bobby” Darnall was attending a screening of an Abbott and Costello movie at the KiMo with his parents.

 Bobby was sitting in the balcony with friends when something on the screen frightened him. He ran down the stairwell just as a water heater or boiler in the basement under the lobby’s food concession counter exploded.

 More than a dozen people were injured in this accident. Bobby was rushed to a hospital but died en route.

 After his death his ghost returned to the KiMo theater. Bobby’s spirit quickly gained a reputation for impish behavior.

The KiMo Theater was beautifully restored in September, 2000 and is now a prime venue for concerts, civic events, and the performing arts. The theater’s resurgence represents the city’s recent upturn with new development and stores popping up throughout downtown. (Credit Cinema Treasures)

There has been a resurgence of “downtown” in many cities in recent years, and I’m glad to see it. Albuquerque wasn’t too large when I was young, and cruising “downtown” was one of our favorite things to do. It was especially fun at night – we would drive to the sand mesa to the west of town, turn around and drive slowly back to town, admiring the city lights all the time.

I was also in the Rainbow Girls organization, and our meetings were held in the Masonic Lodge, also located on Central Avenue, not far from the KiMo Theater.



I learned many years later that the Lodge had also been destroyed by fire. There was a lot of my history in downtown Albuquerque.


~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~


The Cruise of a Lifetime~ Part 4

21 Feb


Judy WillsJUDY

I’ve not mentioned that, before each meal, Fred and I would “excuse” ourselves from the rest of the table, to say our blessing. This morning, at the breakfast table, as we were beginning to excuse ourselves, the other gentleman at the table leaned toward me, arm and hand outstretched across the empty chair between us, and said, “Looks like you are about to thank the Lord.” When I agreed, we all took hands and prayed. After prayer, I told him that he sounded like a preacher. He grinned and said, “well…….”

They turned out to be Richard and Judy, with their widowed friend, Lucy (Richard called her “Lucy B”). They are from Fort Worth, Texas, and he is the Worship Leader for the 8:00 a.m. service at the North Richland Hills Baptist Church. He also directs the Senior Adult Choir there. So while he is not a preacher, he is in the Christian ministry.

Richard and Judy flank Lucy

Richard and Judy flank Lucy

We found several points in common: His wife’s name is Judy – I am Judy. She is a pianist – I am a pianist (of sorts). I asked her one time: If you are eating a piece of cake, what is your favorite part, the cake or the icing? Her response? THE ICING! I gave an air fist pump and a whoop of joy – because that’s MY favorite part of a piece of cake, as well! WOW….are we twins?

We struck up an instant friendship.   Judy is the pianist for the service at their church (he affectionately calls her “Sister Judy” – i.e. “play us something in the key of G, Sister Judy”). He would address me occasionally as “Judy2.”

Just a note here to say that the first four years Fred and I were married were spent in Fort Worth, while Fred attended and graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. We are quite familiar with Fort Worth.


Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary – the Rotunda

While Lucy was up getting her food, we talked about Fort Worth and seminary. He mentioned that Lucy was a Baylor University graduate, and I told him about my Dad being one of the three students at Baylor in the very first graduating class in the School of Music in 1924.


When Lucy returned, he informed her that my Dad was a Baylor grad. She blinked and looked at me. Our conversation took off from there. She is a die-hard Baylorite!


There is also another connection between Richard and us – he was the Minister of Music for the First Baptist Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico – my original home church – in the 1970’s! We began comparing notes on people we both had known while there. Absolutely amazing!

Original building, First Baptist Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Original building, First Baptist Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico


Following breakfast, I wasn’t feeling very well, so I stayed in the stateroom, while Fred went on an excursion (walking tour) to the Marksburg Castle. He came back saying that it had been a VERY difficult walk/climb, and I would not have been able to manage all the steps and the climb. I was glad I had stayed home! But he took lots of pictures, and said it was a delightful castle to explore. I’m glad he was able to make the jaunt by himself.


~~~~~~~~~~Part 4 to be continued~~~~~~~~~~


Aunt Jessie~Part 3

1 Dec


 Judy Wills



 My Aunt Jessie…..

Jessie was born in 1910, and died in 1990.  As you can see, she lived to be 80 years old – one of her goals in life.  As it turns out, she, her sister (my mother), and their mother (my Granny) all THREE died when they were 80 years old!  She had only one sibling, my mother.  I really enjoy these pictures of them as children.

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This one is one of my favorites.  When I showed it to a friend, her comment was, “Look at that – she’s mad as a wet hen, but still has a bow in her hair!”  Seems like Granny liked for her girls to look feminine – with bows in their hair a lot.

 This is also one of my very favorite pictures of Granny, Jessie, and Mother.  Someone must have said something really funny!


I’ve mentioned before her love of antiques.  This is an antique drop-leaf table that she treasured.


For Christmas in 1955, one of her friends “wrought” a tapestry for Jessie that is truly amazing.  She had it framed and hung on the wall between the dining room and living room.  This picture shows just how huge it is!

Jessie had a really unique house in Albuquerque.  This window corner is in the kitchen.  When Granny was alive, she had pots and pots of African Violets in that East window.  She loved to tend to them.12  After she died, and Jessie couldn’t keep them up, she placed some of her knick-knacks and beer steins there, so she could enjoy them.

The upstairs bathroom was a neat room – the tile work 13was fascinating.  Actually this same theme was throughout the house wherever there was tile – kitchen (white with black), downstairs bathroom (green with black), etc.

The wall between the dining room and the living room was a “stair-step” affair, and she used it to advantage.  At Christmas, she would make candles, using waxed cardboard milk cartons.  She would literally whip some of the melted candle wax to make a foamy outer layer, and she would sprinkle sparkles in it before it hardened.  When the candle was burned, it glowed through the foam (and sometimes color) to make a delightful ambiance in the room.  I really loved those candles. (If you look in the background, you can see the “cove” ceiling I mentioned last week)

She had a real talent for decorating.  She loved Christmas and went all out to decorate the house for her – and our – enjoyment.

She was a delightful lady, and I’m glad she was in my life.

Philippians 1:3

 I thank my God every time I remember you.


2 Jun


Judy Wills



Have you ever seen a hot-air balloon floating overhead?  Really neat, huh?  We’ve been enraptured with them for quite a while.  The sister of a friend and her new husband “escaped” from their outdoor wedding reception in a hot-air balloon.  How neat is that?

 We had heard about the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta for years, but had never attended one.  It was started after we married and moved away from Albuquerque.   In talking with Fred’s parents, we all decided to head to New Mexico for that great event that year, 2001.  It was the 30th anniversary of the Fiesta.  Fred’s youngest sister and her husband thought it would be fun to join us, as well.  So we made our hotel reservations, airplane reservations, and were getting quite excited.

And then….September 11, 2001 happened.

We were scheduled to fly out in early October, 2001.  After September 11, all flights in the U.S. were grounded.  We were afraid that our flight had been cancelled, as well.  But the grounding was lifted, and we were able to fly out as scheduled.  I’ve heard so many people say they have stopped flying after September 11 – they were just too afraid.  And my thought is…where is your faith?!  Much safer than traveling long distances in a car…etc.

In any case, we flew out as planned and arrived quite safely in Albuquerque, city of my heart.  We connected with the rest of the family, and began our Balloon Fiesta adventure.  It was absolutely wonderful!   Completely fascinating to watch the balloons go from flat on the ground, to upright, to up in the air in a matter of short minutes!  Breathtaking!

But the best day was the day of the Mass Ascension.  If I recall correctly, there were over 800 balloons going up that day.  They were laid out in a pattern, and went up in planned sequence.  But they did all go up.  And that was the day they had the different “shapes” to the balloons, as well.  A cow (Creamland Dairy)…



a Wells Fargo stage coach (as well as a piggy bank)…

















a beer stein…






Mr. Potato Head


Mr Potato Head

Mr Potato Head


Smokey the Bear…



Smokey the Bear

Smokey the Bear



a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Cone…



Ben and Jerry Ice Cream Cone

Ben and Jerry Ice Cream Cone



Tony the Tiger cereal….



Tony the Tiger

Tony the Tiger



a shoe (Famous Footwear)…



Famous Footwear

Famous Footwear


and a birthday cake congratulating the Fiesta on their 30th anniversary.



Happy 30th Birthday!

Happy 30th Birthday!


We were able to get down close to one of the balloons and watch as they readied it for take off.  Fascinating.



Getting Ready

Getting Ready

Fred has an aversion to large crowds, so it surprised him greatly to find how “uncrowded” this all felt.  As we recall, there were probably well over 100,000 people there!  Of course, it was held on one of the valley floors in Albuquerque, so that helped – lots of room to spare.

That evening, we went to one of the Indian casinos in town, and were able to watch a night-time ascension.  Really beautiful.










Rising Flag

But it is one of our fondest memories – one we recall and treasure.  One year, our oldest daughter and her husband gave us a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle of that event, and we had a great deal of fun putting it together.  Brought back great memories.






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