Conversation with former classmate about life in Quay County

Although I attended Tucumcari Public Schools during most of my public education, I was privileged to attend the fifth and sixth grades at the House Public Schools. Those were two good years during which I made friends with students and teachers.

Last week, Hervie Payne, one of my classmates, called one evening to say he would be in town for a few days, and we decided we should meet for coffee in order to catch up on much that had happened since we first met in 1944.

As we sat at Kix, drank our coffee, and visited, we were both overwhelmed as we talked about the past and the great times we had at House. Actually, we spent more time talking about our good fortune of having grown up in Quay County than we did about talking about our later years.

We talked about the good teachers we had and how they had helped us to grow up with some knowledge of what the world was all about even though we didn’t have all the current electronic equipment. We had plenty of pencils, some fountain pens, and all the paper we needed on which to do our assignments. We had current textbooks, a small library, a good auditorium, and a great gym at House.

We laughed about the games we played during recess and said we doubted that some of today’s youth could have kept up with us in such rough-and-tumble activities. We remembered having to go outside for recess or lunch despite the cold weather and how we would line up next to the gym, stand shoulder to shoulder, and try to stay warm. Our coats might not have been quite as heavy as those we have today, but we managed to stay warm on those blustery days when the cold wind was making some of our usual activities impossible to play.

We also talked about some of the mischief we enjoyed in the classroom. Most of us had active imaginations and could think of tricks to play on each other or on the teachers, rarely worrying about the consequences. We managed to do the required work, and we also managed to create enough mischief to keep each other entertained.

As Hervie and I drank our coffee and visited about the good times we had 70 years ago when we first met, I was most definitely seeing us in those classrooms in the old school.

Sometimes we moved our desks away from the windows so we would be safe in the event they were to blow out and to be away from as much of the falling dust as possible. Yes, we knew about dust storms then and just accepted them as part of our lives. We even went into the auditorium on occasion to be completely away from the windows. We just went on with our learning and our mischief, taking each day as it came and building our friendships as we began to shape our lives.

Some of my fondest memories are of those two years at House, not only because of the wonderful friendships we formed but also because my family was living in those canyons at Ima. Life in our Quay County remains as good for some of us today as it did in those years of our growing into adulthood. We have the opportunity to meet friends, such as Hervie, and renew our memories while being very comfortable visiting with each other today.


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

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