When we heard about the burning of the main building at Metropolitan Park, many of us were saddened because that park represented some of the happiest times of our youth. We recalled the fun we had there through the years and felt an emptiness caused by the loss of an old friend.
A part of our history went up in smoke and left those of us who care just as desolate as we were when we lost other buildings of our past to fires. Four Points, Third Street School, Tucumcari High School, and more recently the Federal Building. Others also disappeared in much the same way, and not necessarily by accident.
Some of us can remember seeing the CCC boys working so hard to give us a beautiful place in which to swim, to picnic, and just to enjoy. Completed in 1940, the park remained the center of activity for many years until someone decided the pool could no longer be used even though the man who had run it through the years said the repairs could be done at a reasonable price. Yes, Mr. Ray Paulson knew that pool and the rest of the park better than anyone else and would have continued operating it had he been given the opportunity.
For a few years after the park was closed to the public, the Rattler Reunion opening picnic was held on the grounds by the pool. We would enjoy each others’ company as we visited about the times that were. Many of us had taken swimming lessons in that large pool. At least, one of us took them but didn’t learn much as I was too much of a dry-lander. Miss Ardene Mershon tried hard and then wound up pulling me out of the pool after I took a dare and jumped off the high dive. She was not too happy as she explained that she didn’t like to see me with blue lips and a pale face.
Although we have lost another major part of our history, we still have our memories and will enjoy exchanging them as long as we are around. The longer we live, the more we realize just how fortunate we were to grow up in our Quay County and to have been able to collect so many wonderful memories.
As we visited about some of the activities at the park, we recalled the class and family picnics that were held at the east end of the park in the grove of trees in which the CCC boys had built a number of picnic tables. How many of you remember the hay rides we had in the evening to spend a few hours playing in that area, roasting hotdogs and marshmallows and just having fun.