Comments from the canyons: Photos of old homes help record past

Some time ago, several of us began to talk about a few of the earliest homes built in Tucumcari and decided we might try to preserve their pictures in a small album so future generations could admire them as they trace their family histories.

In the event you see me driving around in your neighborhood with my camera aimed at your home, don't be alarmed because all I am doing is trying to make a record of some of our local history. We have already lost many of the early homes to fire, to parking lots, and to business buildings, but we still have some wonderful examples left. Most of those are located north of Route 66, but a few can still be found in other areas.

While driving around in the residential areas, I have had much fun recalling people who were the first to live in those homes and some of the experiences I had in those places. Because Mother was born here, she knew most of the early day settlers and wanted me to know them or know about them when we moved in from lma in 1939. Sunday afternoons were still reserved for calling on friends and neighbors, and Mother saw that I had the opportunity to experience that activity. Of course, she had to capture me in order to get me ready to make those calls.

People dressed up on Sundays then, and that meant hat, gloves, purses, good shoes, and stockings for women and little girls. We always walked then and often visited in Mother's childhood neighborhood on east Aber near the old Episcopal Church. You can just imagine how comfortable I was in such attire, but I really did enjoy those visits because the women usually served tea and cookies or cakes. Also, I was always comfortable around older people because my first friends were my parents and grandparents. Most of the friends Mother visited were those of her Mother's who had moved here in the early 1900's. I was meeting and getting to know many of our earliest citizens even though I had no idea what a treat Mother was giving me. I was also learning more about manners than I really wanted to know, but I am glad Mother took the time to teach me a little about formality and gave me a chance to practice.

As I drive through those neighborhoods, I recall many of those visits, and can still see the beauty in those living rooms. They were rather formally furnished and were used mostly for those Sunday afternoon visits or for other social gatherings. They were a bit of a contrast to what I had known in that half-dugout in the canyons, and I had to learn how to sit properly on sofas and chairs, the like of which I had rarely seen.

While taking the pictures, I will be remembering many of those wonderful days and will be able to look through the album on occasion to recall even more. Preserving our history is great fun and helps to keep us in touch with both past and present. Let's just enjoy each day in our town and remember a little about her past as we move into her future.

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

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