By Susan Reyes: Guest columnist
Cruising down the boulevard brings to mind good old memories of small-town life — cruising in classic cars on hot summer nights and nights when there was little else to do.
The boulevard promised adventure and mischief at times, but fun all the time.
The boulevard holds memories of long ago when as kids we couldn’t wait to grow older so that we could live out our dreams and move from “this small town” and on to bigger and better things.
Moving from the larger cities of Amarillo and Los Angeles to this small New Mexico town is quite an adjustment. Every morning my husband and I cruise the boulevard, but only to get to and from work, which takes all of three minutes.
However, there is plenty to see along the way. The boulevard is part of the famous Route 66.
There are motels from the 1950s decorated with neon lights; the “Blue Swallow Motel” has a mural of the ’50s with James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. During the day tourists are seen taking photographs of the murals all along the boulevard and at dusk the neon lights give the boulevard such a romantic glow that even the air recalls memories of days gone by.
However, beyond the boulevard, north or south, the homes in the town have been abandoned, forgotten, and seriously neglected.
I wonder what has happened to the people who lived in those homes. I question if anyone cares about the town?
Maybe the youth of the town kept their vows to leave this town once they grew up?
My husband and I look around. Mire las casas viejas. (Look at the old houses.) And we are saddened.
It is rumored this town was once booming; today it looks more like a bust. Yet, for all it’s worth, these abandoned homes have purpose; they serve to preserve historical accuracy. They are monuments, a testament of simpler times, small-town life in America.
As we get back onto the boulevard, I imagine the sights and sounds of the booming town, cruising the boulevard, romantic nights, young love, and hope for a better future.
The people in their cars wave as we pass by. Small-town hospitality. We wave back. What a swell town this is. We think we’ll stay.