Comments from the canyons: Historical photos make for mental exercise

Many of us are interested in our area history and are eager to learn more when we can. Linda Moore, who keeps the doors open at Tucumcari Historical Museum, keeps some of us searching for answers to questions she dreams up as she goes about her work there. Of late, she has been trying to identify people and buildings in old pictures she finnds.

When she calls me, I know she has something for me to think about. Her cheerful voice alerts me to the need to do some kind of research. Sometimes, I can help her and sometimes, I can't, but I have fun trying. Identifying people is far more difficult for me than is identifying some of the buildings. Even if some of the pictures of people were taken during my lifetime, I have trouble going back seventy or more years to recall both names and faces. We have changed too much in appearance during the ensuing years. Unless the people are some with whom we have been associated throughout the years, the task of identifying is almost impossible.

When Linda hands me a picture of people taken in the early 1900's, about all I can do is to gasp. Sometimes, I can recognize one out of twenty or so, and that helps a little because Linda can then look at yearbooks and newspapers of the era to find names of a few more. Even trying to think of other people in our area who might know the identities is no easy task. All too many of our main sources of information are no longer with us, and we are left to try to fill in the blanks.

We have helped each other identify several of the buildings of early Tucumcari and have even taken our own private field trips to do some looking. Linda is a very good detective and can see the original outline of the old buildings in some of those that have been changed quite a bit. In some instances, I can remember having seen the buildings before they were torn down and can go to their location. On such occasions, I feel like the student again while rediscovering something from our past.

I want to thank Linda for trying to help me to keep my mind active and for forcing me to do a little thinking on occasion. Her interest in these identifications is contagious and just naturally makes me want to help her find the answers. More importantly, her interest in our history makes me want to help her so she will be able to pass that history on to future generations. Even when we have lived a lot of our history, we need to try to preserve as much as we can before our memories become too foggy. Let's just keep learning and sharing.

Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 575-461-1952.

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