Tag Archives: New Mexico

Memories of New Mexico~Part 4

19 Mar

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

Back to Albuquerque – way back in my day, the airport was not the big event it is today. The airport (appropriately called the Sunport, since it’s over 5300 feet in altitude) shared the runway with Kirtland Air Force Base. The airport building itself was quite different than it is today; quite primitive, but unique. Here is a picture of it, taken with my grandmother. It will give you an idea of the “Southwest” look it had.

 

 

No jetways then – one had to climb a set of stairs to get into the airplane.

There was a “wall” made out of New Mexico stone, that was really beautiful. And after I was old enough to drive, my girlfriends and I would drive to the airport, sit on that wall, and watch the airplanes take off and land. It made for very inexpensive but wonderful evening entertainment. I’m not even sure the wall is still there. And since 2001 and 9/11, I suspect security wouldn’t let anyone sit on that wall and watch the airplanes come and go anymore. Pity.

As a kid – and then a teenager – we used to enjoy driving from Albuquerque up to the mountains, sometimes to Sandia Crest (tops out at 10,678 feet in altitude). It was a bit harrowing at times – the road was quite twisty and curvy, and it wasn’t such a great road back in that day. Today it is a lovely road – still some twists and curves, but not as nerve-wracking as it was then. And even in July, the temperature up there can be as low as 28º in the daytime! Take a jacket!

 

 

After Fred and I married and moved away, a fish restaurant was built along the way up the mountain. My mother and family/friends would drive up there for a Sunday meal after church. When Fred and I visited, we were able to go with them to Bella Vista Fish Restaurant. Granted it was fried fish, but it was an all-you-can-eat place, and we most certainly ate our way through the meal! It was great!   Unfortunately, it is no more. The original owners died, the children took over, but made it into a sports bar – and the patrons just didn’t take to it that well. So it went under. We were sorry to see it go.

Just one more memory. I’ve mentioned before that my father had one lone peach tree in our back yard that he babied. He would wrap it in cheesecloth each year, so the birds couldn’t get to the fruit. It produced some of the biggest, sweetest peaches I’ve ever eaten! Mother would cut some up, freeze them for pies later, or make fresh-frozen jam out of them. Delicious!   But one other type of pies she would make were cherry pies – and they were the best! We would drive out to the North Valley to Bosque Farms to pick our own cherries. I remember doing that a number of times. We would pick what we wanted, and probably paid by the pound or basket. Mother had a cherry “picker” in that it would dig out the seed as one turned the handle. So we would de-seed the cherries, mother would freeze some them for pies later on, and then would make a pie. Daddy loved it. Especially with hand-packed, home made ice cream from Fitzgerald’s on Central Avenue! We stopped every Sunday for the ice cream to go with the pie mother had made. WOW!!

Oh my, what memories those are for me. This is such a fun trip down memory lane for me.

See you next time.

 

 

 

 

 

Memories of New Mexico~Part 3

12 Mar

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

I can remember going to Carlsbad Caverns as a family. It was fascinating! I especially remember standing with a large group of tourists in a huge cavern, and the lights were turned off. It was so dark and black that I, literally, could not see my hand in front of my face. I know, because I tried to see it – and couldn’t! And then the guide lit one match, and it was light enough to see everyone in the group. Astounding! My Aunt Jessie had always said that she would never go to the Caverns. Why? Because she was convinced that the day she went – it would cave in! Guess what? She died in 1990 – without ever having gone to the caverns – and the caverns are still standing! She had some funny superstitions.

Another fun memory is that of going to White Sands National Park. It is near Las Cruces, New Mexico, and also near the White Sands Missile Range. It was such fun for my brother and me to romp around in the white sands. The entire area looks like a desert, with the sands shifting and moving around – but the sand is sugar-white, not tan or brown as one usually sees a desert. The sand is made up of gypsum and calcium sulfate, and thus reflects the sun, rather than absorb the heat. And because it is at high elevation, with high evaporation, the sand is cool to the touch. Really a neat thing to see. These are some pictures taken of my grandmother and others back in the 1950’s. I think it’s hilarious to see them dressed up so much – to go walk in the sand dunes!

As an outing, my family would frequently drive around the state, to see what we could see. We would drive to Isleta Pueblo, just 15 miles south of Albuquerque. We crossed the Rio Grande River to get there. It was a fascinating place to see.

Credit Google Search

Lots of interesting information on the sign

 

Credit Google Search

 

Or we would drive to the Santo Domingo Pueblo (now Kewa Pueblo), on our way to Santa Fe. It’s about 25 miles southwest of Santa Fe, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. They had some wonderful turquoise jewelry there and other Native American artifacts. This trading post looks very much like I remember.

 

Credit Google Search and NCPTT

 

Another fascinating place to go and explore was Bandelier National Monument. It is near Los Alamos, New Mexico. I remember climbing up hand-made ladders into some of the dwellings dug out of the cliffs. It was grand fun for a kid like me.

 

 

Credit Google Search and Wikimedia Commons

 

Credit Google Search and YouTube

 

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

Memories of New Mexico~Part 2

26 Feb

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

 

 I have some mementos of New Mexico, and I would like to share them with you. Some of the Native Americans that lived in the pueblos out and around Albuquerque, made some wonderful black pots. I’m sure that originally, they were actually used within the house for some household chore, but these little ones are just for sitting on a shelf, and to be enjoyed by all. At least I’ve always enjoyed them. However, they were quite expensive, and I was unable to purchase any.

My wonderful sister-in-law, DiVoran, had this little pot sitting on her shelf for as long as I can remember. We made a trade one time – she got some gold earrings, and I got her little black pot! It was an even-trade for both of us.

 

 

And Fred’s parents had this black pot, that I admired so much. So when they passed away, I was able to inherit the pot, and have enjoyed it ever since.

 

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They both sit on a shelf, along with this adorable brass road runner that I also inherited from Fred’s parents. They had him a long time, and I admired him for all that time. He appealed to me because the road runner is the New Mexico state bird.

 

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Some newer art forms from New Mexico also have appealed to me. The last time we were in Albuquerque (Fred’s brother still lives there), I purchased this little glass cactus. I thought it was really cute – and it is almost a prickly as a real cactus!

 

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For some reason, Kokopelli has become a favorite Native American icon of mine.

I just think he’s cute – and he’s playing a musical instrument. From Wikipedia, I gleaned the following:

Kokopelli is a fertility deity, usually depicted as a humpbacked flute player (often with feathers or antenna-like protrusions on his head), who has been venerated by some Native American cultures in the Southwestern United States. Like most fertility deities, Kokopelli presides over both childbirth and agriculture. He is also a trickster god and represents the spirit of music.

This little statuette sits on one of my shelves for me to enjoy. I have forgotten what this type of metal-work is called.

 

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I also have another type of that art work – it is a turtle. I saw this the last time we were in Albuquerque, and it appealed to me. I think it’s cute.

 

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Those of you old enough, and interested in car racing – especially the Indianapolis 500 – might remember the Unser brothers. They were New Mexico boys, and back in the 1960’s-1980’s had an auto shop in Albuquerque, designed for maintaining race cars. Al Unser won that race four times, his brother, Bobby won it three times, and Al Unser, Jr. won it twice! You might say it was in the family’s blood! There is a Unser Racing Museum in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque that is open to any and all.

 

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Credit Google search and Rita Wechter

The Cruise of a Lifetime~ Part 4

21 Feb

SUNDAY MEMORIES

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.

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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.

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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!

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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~~~~~~~~~~

 

An Amazing Adventure~Part 4

16 Nov

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

 

As a child growing up in New Mexico, it seems I had always known about “Shiprock” New Mexico. It wasn’t until many years later, that I knew what or where Shiprock was, or the Indian lore about it. It is a majestic piece of rock—possibly volcanic but probably sandstone—that is just out in the middle of nowhere. It just sprouts up by itself. It is absolutely magnificent, and for some reason, holds a special place in my heart.

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Brian had not thought that we would have time to cross into New Mexico, but then proclaimed that it was a “pilgrimage” for me, so we went to see it. I’ve had a framed calendar photo of it on our wall for many years, but Karen and Brian had never seen it in real life. They were AMAZED.

As we were leaving Shiprock, I made the statement that “it’s dirty, it’s dusty, it’s scrubby—and I love it! This is home!” Of course, I hadn’t lived in New Mexico for more than 50 years, but it still felt like “home” to me. Funny how our minds work.

From Shiprock, New Mexico, we crossed into Arizona, heading to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park that is in both Arizona and Utah—Navajo Nation land. Absolutely AMAZING!!

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This picture is of the two formations called “Mittens” – and you can see why. They look like right and left handed mittens.

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And here is Brian, trying to hold up The Cube. Those are enormous rocks! It reminded me of a “saying” that my dad had, i.e. “I sure wouldn’t want that pebble in my shoe!” I asked Karen if I had told her about that “saying” of her grandfather’s, and she said “no.” So she got another touch from the grandfather she had never known. I keep wanting to pass along those things to our girls and their children – so they will know him, as well.

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The roads in Monument Valley are just dirt—and, as you can see by the car—it just covers everything!

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We stopped by the side of the road there and had a picnic lunch right at the car. The wind was blowing in such a way that the dust made by any cars passing by would blow the other way from us, so we weren’t eating dirt!

At many of the stops along the way, there were Native American women selling hand-made jewelry. I bought a neat beaded necklace with a silver Kokopelli at the center. He’s my favorite Indian character—the flute player.

After we had packed up from lunch, we headed to Grand Canyon National Park. I don’t remember how long it had been since Fred was there, but I think I was about 8-years-old the last time I visited the Canyon! It hasn’t lost its appeal at all for me! Absolutely breathtaking!!

There are so many pictures we took of the Grand Canyon, that I just can’t show them all. But here are a few of our favorite sights.

 

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These were taken at sunset. Absolutely gorgeous!!

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On the side of one of the buildings up top, this sign was posted. Marvelous!

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

 

THE SAILBOAT

19 May

MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

Growing up in New Mexico, there wasn’t a lot of water around – no swimming pools (except at the public ones), no ponds or lakesides, no oceans, etc. So, consequently, I was not really familiar with boats of any kind. That really didn’t bother me too much I had a lot of other interests.

If you have ever lived in government quarters – as we did on any military base where we were stationed – then you know that, when you leave that posting, you are required to have those same quarters absolutely immaculate! Better than when you moved into them! And there would be an inspection of those quarters by an official inspector. If they found anything wrong – you were required to “fix” it before you were allowed to leave the base.

We had lived in quarters on Tyndall AFB, Florida for five years. That’s almost too long, actually. Our usual moves were about every three years. I told Fred that we needed to leave soon, because I was beginning to put down roots – in a government duplex!!

He was finally given orders to relocate. So then the work of packing up and moving out began. After the movers had taken our belongings away, we started cleaning the unit. We had always thought we could do that ourselves, rather than hire someone to come in and do it for us. So I set Fred and the girls to cleaning, and I thought I would tackle the kitchen. I had planned on the weekend to do the entire kitchen. Unfortunately, the stove was so old that, in taking it apart and cleaning it – it took the entire weekend just for the stove!

By the time we had finished, we were exhausted.
Now….you may think there is no connection to cleaning and boats…but wait….

page1image16592 There was a gentleman who worked in the Weather Station with Fred, who LOVED boats! And especially sailboats. Not being able to purchase one for himself, he had contracted with another gentleman from Alabama to care for his sailboat.

It was a 33-foot Hunter that would sleep six people. It had a full galley and full shower. It had a small auxiliary engine to get us in and out of port. It was set up for ocean voyages and was one-person configured. Whenever the owner wanted to “play” with it, he would call and come down and retrieve it. That usually only happened once or twice a year. The rest of the time, our friend could take it out whenever he wanted.

And that’s what happened with us. He had offered to take us out for a sail, on the last day we were in town. And so we did. I was a bit confused when we motored out of port, thinking “what does this have to do with sailboating?”

But then he cut the engine and unfurled the sail. It was the most wonderful thing – so very quiet, and peaceful, and RESTFUL…just exactly what we needed after all that cleaning.

He even let our 8-year-old handle the wheel for a while. She loved it!

We’ve never purchased a boat of our own – never felt the need to. But it was an experience that we savored and have remembered all these years.

OUR CRUISE TO MEXICO – Part 3

24 Mar

SUNDAY MEMORIES

 Judy Wills

Judy

                                                     

The next day, our port of call was Cozumel.  We docked at a small island and caught a fast ferry boat to Playa del Carmen.  Very touristy town.

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Brian had pre-arranged a car/van for the six of us to take us to Tulum and the Mayan ruins there.  The car was arranged through Avis, so we thought we were safe.  However, when we tried to find the address where the Avis rental store was – it wasn’t there!  We even checked in with the police station, and they had no clue where it was!  Brian actually called Avis to find out what was going on.  Finally, after walking around the town for about an hour, he was able to find out they had built a lovely new showroom – on the outskirts of town!  Apparently the Avis company didn’t realize this – had no record of it, etc.  In any case, we climbed into two taxi’s, and were on our way.

While the rest of us freshened up, Brian got the car.  Turns out, they had given away the van he had reserved, and the only vehicle they had was a Jeep that only held five bodies, so Katie sprawled in the luggage area of the vehicle.  Not very comfortable.

And especially not comfortable when we were hurtling down the road at 60 mph and came to an unmarked HUGE speed bump!  She was literally bounced to the roof of the car, and banged her head, causing her to cry out!  After this happened the second time, she tearfully announced that Forrest was riding back there on the way back!!  There were three speed bumps on that road, and only the third one was marked!

We finally arrived at Tulum.  We had a light lunch, and Brian arranged with a local to be our guide through the ruins.  Before we headed off, we were treated to a show of pole dancers.  No, it’s not what you think – this was a group of four men, dressed in native costume, at the top of a tall pole, who allowed themselves to be dropped nearly to the bottom of the pole (and the ground!) and swung around.  Very festive, but certainly not something I would want to attempt.

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And then we began our tour of the ruins.  Fred and I have always enjoyed roaming around ruins – whether in New Mexico, Texas, Europe, or now Mexico.  Our girls enjoyed it, as well, so this would be a fun trip.We were quite interested in seeing the “village” and the building there.  We saw the temple and it’s outbuildings.

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One structure that interested us quite a bit was at the top of a hill.  Our guide, Ernie, said that it was an “early warning system” that the Mayan’s had built-in for hurricanes.  When a hurricane was coming, the wind would blow through that building – or the “hole” within it – and make a unique sound.  And it only sounded when a hurricane was approaching – no other storm would make that same sound.  Fred, being a meteorologist, was fascinated by this piece of information and the ingenuity of those ancient peoples.

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When we returned to Playa del Carmen, Brian dropped us off and he went to return the car.  We were concerned that he wouldn’t get back to the ferry in time to make the ship, but did – running at top speed!

More to come……….

 

Fiesta Dresses

9 Dec

SUNDAY MEMORIES

 Judy Wills  

Judy

Growing up in New Mexico was a great experience.  Of course, we moved there when I was only four years old, so I didn’t know any different.  The Indian/Mexican culture was just something that was normal to me.

 When I was old enough to learn how to sew, my Grandmother and Mother began teaching me the sewing machine by having me sew row-upon-row-upon-row of trim on yards and yards of fabric.  It was all straight stitching, but some rows were metallic trim, some were rick-rack, some needed only a single stitch to hold it down, others required stitching on the top and bottom edges of the trim/braid.  Very boring.  But it gave me a sense of what sewing was all about.

All those yards and yards of fabric would eventually be made into a Fiesta Dress, or Squaw Dress, as some called it.  Three tiers, each one “longer” than the one above it.  Those dresses could be made from just about fabric and color combination.  I remember a royal blue fabric with nothing but copper trim – one of my favorites.  I remember a winter dress made from blue corduroy – no trim needed.  I remember one made from fabric that looked like bandana design – no trim needed on that one, either.  I remember one that was made in light cotton – white – with red and red-and-white trim.  It was great – until I washed it the first time – and the red ran like crazy!!  So my Aunt Jessie took the dress (blouse and skirt) and dyed them beige.  For some reason, the red didn’t show where it had run, and really looked rather classy with the red trim.  Another favorite of mine.  Oh, so many dresses.

And the skirts were not left “pouffy” like they might be today – they were hand-pleated after being soaked in starch!  And to keep the pleats in, we rolled the skirt into itself and stuffed it into a nylon stocking.  Jessie’s dogs LOVED to get at those to fight with them!

Dogs fighting

But those dresses were considered in good taste no matter where they were worn.  They could be worn to a very casual setting…..they could be worn to work….they could be worn to a fancy dinner setting – all worked equally well.

I’ve never seen them worn outside of New Mexico, however.  So when I took them with us to Texas, they were not the “in style” to wear.  I still have them, but can’t seem to find the right place to wear them now – even if I could fit in them anymore!

But they were just right for New Mexico.

Blue skirt

red skirt

                    

                    

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