Last week, while writing about the older houses in our town, I began remembering my early years here when I was privileged to walk to school and had the opportunity to visit with many of the people who lived in those homes. Although you may not recognize some of the names, you can substitute those from your past and enjoy your own memories.
For instance, I started to school at Central and usually walked east on High to Adams. On the morning walk, most of the women were busy with their indoor chores, but during the spring and fall, I would stop to chat with Mrs. Frick, who spent much time working in her garden. She would pause for a few minutes to explain what she was planting, picking, or getting ready to weed or water. At noon, none of us had time to visit because we were all eager to eat lunch. As a result. I raced home and back without doing more than waving if anyone happened to be outside.
Because those years were the gracious times during which women sat on their porches in the afternoon, I managed to do quite a bit of visiting on my way home. Sometimes, the Jacksons would be in their chairs on sitting on the swing, and they would take the time to talk to a child. Mrs. Montgomery was often on her porch and would ask about my day at school or think of some other subject of interest to a child. Mrs. Swain was an invalid and owned the florist shop. The Wolfs, who later owned the shop, took care of her and often placed her bed near the large front window. We would wave back and forth, and sometimes, I would go inside the shop to talk to her and to talk to the beautiful parrot also. My last stop would be next door to visit with Mrs. Hurley. She often had a little glass of cold juice or cola waiting for me and would invite me to sit on the porch beside her.
Because most of those people were my grandmother's age, I felt very comfortable visiting with them. After all, as I have explained before, my first friends were my parents and grandparents. I liked to ask the new friends about their day and talk about what I had learned at school. They were all very kind to the child from lma and taught me almost as much during those brief visits as I learned at school.
As I walked to the other schools in town, I had similar experiences and made new friends along those routes. Although I walked farther during high school, I did less visiting because by then fewer people were on their porches, and I was usually in a bit of a rush to get to school or to return home. Also, several of my friends and classmates would meet along the way to visit as we were going in either direction.
As I look back, I realize what a privilege it was to have the opportunity to walk to school and to have so many pleasant experiences to turn into pleasant memories.
We were fortunate to have such a safe place in which to attend school and to be able to live a relaxed life. Just recall the good times you had and hope that some of the children today are having as much fun.
Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 575-461-1952.