Saturday, March 27, 2010

Changing Corner

Remembering how the corner of 4th and Lewis was when I was a youngster running across the street for a day of schooling. Lewis street where our house sat was still a gravel road,the land that now houses a gym for the school was a small hotel and grocery store with frozen meat lockers to rent. The owners of the little store would hire high school boys to help dress out deer and elk taken during hunting season. I recall one day when I was helping to prepare some of the game when a pick up pulled up and the carcass in side had shoes on the hoof, some poor farmer lost a mule to a hunter who mistook it for a deer.
Long before my family ever arrived in Colorado there was building on Lewis street across from the gym that once served as the local jail. This was one of my favorite places to play cowboys and Indians. This building was still standing
when I made a trip there in 2000 for a high school reunion. The vacant lot across the street from our house soon became home to the Post Office, which made it real nice for us to get our mail.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Pattys Day

Just looked over a blog titled "All things Pagosa" and was surprised to see that the little town has grown large enough to have a St. Patty's day celebration. The restorations of the buildings downtown leaves very little resemblance to my memory bank. The parade route seems to travel the same way the "Red Ryder Roundup Parade" has for many years. It was refreshing to see so many folks get into the spirit of the day and everyone decked out in green.
Soon the snow will give way to new spring flowers, high school's will be looking for the day of graduation. I hope many of the new grads find a way to continue their education, its their generation that we must put our trust in to make this world a better place for everyone, long after us old timers have gone to greener pastures.
I sure don't ever want to see this country go back to having to rely on such things and tokens and stamps to get by.

These are samples of the way things were when all Americans had to give up simple things like sugar and gas, my Mother made sure such things were kept as a reminder of the price of freedom.

I see also from posting of Pagosa that music is still alive in the mountains with bluegrass bands performing along with other types of festivals. We never had such things to entertain us, we did manage to have a shin dig now and then. There was an old one room school house long abandoned that served as a dance hall and when there weren't local musicians a stack of vinyl records did the trick. The only advertisement that a dance would be going on at Bales School was by word of mouth, but it always got filled up. The grown ups would pack up their spirits of choke cherry wine, all kinds of goodies to eat. Those we cared for more spirited drinks would make many trips to their supply in the trunk of the cars. If there was not dance at the Bales then the next best thing would be at "The Pine Grove Inn" but getting in could be tricky if you weren't of drinking age. I always seemed to find me a chaperon to promise to keep me out of trouble if they let me in, I always hung out next to the band stand enjoying that good old country music.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Liberty Theater Stories

After the old theater was sold to Albert Petry, things began to change for Pagosa's rowdy teenagers. The Saturday afternoon double feature matinees that used to be so much fun and could become an adventure of pure bravery. Just when all attention would be focused on the screen action or smelling the perfume on the girl sitting next to you,you just might feel a tap on the shoulder or on a shin if your feet rested on the seat in front. Mr Petry took on the job as the town moral Marshall and anyone attending had better tow the line or feel his walking cane. He didn't mind pulling an ear lobe either if he thought boys were getting fresh with the girls.
Buying a soda was nothing like today's concession stands. Ten cents bought a bottle of soda which was then poured into a paper cup to make sure the bottles never entered the seating area.
Janitorial duties after shows were done by those lucky enough to hold a job as collecting tickets or working the concession stand. Sometimes the loose change found under seats was more than an hourly wage, but then you might find other treasures, like half consumed wine bottles,coats,wallets,diapers etc.
Being the only source of entertainment, no matter what picture was showing there was always a gathering for the weekend shows. I'm sure many high school romances blossomed before intermission of the double feature. The little stage in front of the screen served as a treasure trove of gifts during Saturday raffles promoted by local merchants. I came real close to winning a bicycle but came in second to Johnny Madrid.
I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Petry and his family, he never failed to greet me with a smile as he stood leaning on his cane in front the Liberty. He was always willing to give a young boy a job and teach the value of honest days labor. As a young man returning home on military leave Mr. Petry was always the first to greet me as I stepped off the the Trailways bus in front of the Theatre.
I would only hope that one day the city will find it worthwhile to honor these old buildings with some sort of historical marker of importance.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

If Walls Could Talk

In comparing views of photos taken of downtown Pagosa Springs in a span of fifty plus years the thought occurred of marvelous stories these buildings could tell. Lets look at the Metropolitan hotel est. in 1919 with it newly decorated face to attract fun loving tourist.
The Liberty Theater, previously known as the Mesa was a beacon of hope to the Willett family when they moved there in 1944. This little theater served as a place of employment for every member of that family from time to time. Herman with his background in motion picture operations became the projectionist and passed on his trade to the eldest son. Every member of this family worked every facet of this operation from tickets to janitorial duties.
The Hotel itself has seen so many changes over the years, if only those walls could talk. The Lobby has served as a post office, a Trailways Bus Station, a restaurant, a ice cream parlor, and once housed a local physician.
When the post office moved out an ice cream parlor opened and a serving window was cut into the wall adjoining the theater so patrons could be served at either concession area. The restaurant was once proudly operated by a fellow every knew a "fuzzy Guzzy."
the prices for the time period must have been reasonable, this was my first recollection eating in a restaurant.
Dr. Anderson had a room on the 2nd floor that served as his quarters and office. I recall an episode as a young boy developing hemorrhoids from lifting bales of hay too heavy for my size. My father took me see Doc Anderson, he took one look at problem and told my dad to go get a couple men down it pool hall. It took all them to hold me down he gave me in injection and sent me home with a pillow to sit on. I don't know what his remedy was but the problem never reoccurred!
As one would approach the hotel entrance from the street and looked to the left a metal railing and staircase led to local billiards hall,a place mother called the devils den. Along with all the games played on pool tables there was also a table tennis section where tournaments in the art of ping pong were held. One room was for card games and games of rummy could last until wee hours of the morning. Every young high school er had dreams of becoming a great billiard player like Minnesota Fats. The proprietor "Curly O'neal" was willing to teach but only if parents gave permission, other wise a person had to be eighteen years of age.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Seems like every thing in time becomes obsolete even these old vessels that house our souls. I have a difficult time dealing with this modern technology that changes more often than the weather.
My favorite thing to pass the time of day is trying to be creative with photos and scrap booking. I recently decided to upgrade and get a new computer with more memory and one of those slim monitors that is comparable to a flat screen TV. Little did I know that by doing this some of my programs would not be compatible with the windows 7 operating system. My favorite program was Microsoft Picture It Publishing, It seems that Microsoft does not deem it necessary to upgrade this one the new operating system. Oh, sure lots of extra goodies are added to Windows 7 but I have yet to find a photo publishing program as good as what I was used to. All the extra goodies added to Windows 7 are on a trial basis so you like them be ready to whip out that old credit card.