After the Fact: The way we were


This is Stampede weekend in Monte Vista, and an optimum time for schools in the nearby area to hold class reunions. Other than the usual get-together for breakfast, and a dinner on one night, this weekend has the added benefit of offering a dozen or more fun things to do for the kids and grandkids (or maybe even great-grandkids) of the reunion attendees.

My former college roommate and LONG-time friend, Shari Montgomery Steiner, will be coming from San Francisco to attend reunions of the Monte and Sargent high schools (she attended both) and she’ll make some time in between to visit with me. I’m anxious to know who else will be back in the Valley for reunions, and sad to hear, I’m sure, of some who have gone on to greener pastures.

Old timers (also known as alumni) will remember when all freshmen girls at ASC (now ASU) lived either at home or in Casa Bonita, the Spanish Colonial style dormitory that also housed the cafeteria. There were two wings to either side of the entryway, and the young residents were assigned to two rooms: one held twin beds (with the lumpiest mattresses ever suffered) and the other had two desks, two dressers, a bathroom-style basin and one closet to be shared with a roommate. The best feature of the larger room was the window: it doubled as a refrigerator/freezer in winter. There were showers (three or four, I can’t remember which) at the end of the hall so walking back to your room in only a towel could be very invigorating, depending on time of day or time of year.

Shari and I lived on the second floor, east wing of Casa Bonita. It was about typical of the other “wings” with two girls from NM, one from NJ, one from CA, and four from suburbs of Chicago (the only African-American female students in our class). Nada Fahnestock and Joy Wills from Creede; Jan Hamilton, Monte, and Anne Akers, Sargent, added to our “melting pot.”  We got along a lot better than do representatives to the U.S. Congress or Senate.

Casa Bonita was approximately where part of the McDaniel building is now located and undoubtedly not much of a loss insofar as contemporary housing needs, but those of us who lived there at one time or another still miss it. I haven’t walked on campus in a few years, but I think the music building is still there. That, the “airplane hangar” shaped dome that was once part of the Student Union, Rex Gymnasium and Richardson Hall are reminders of those early days. 

When I enrolled, there were 1,000 students. Total. Now, there are over 3,000 full time, part-time and on-line.

Thinking about all the changes at Adams State, I’m reminded that, since the last time some of these reunion attendees have been back in the Valley, there is an “all new” Monte Vista High school, and an “all new” Sargent High School as well. I hope they’ll be pleasantly surprised, if a bit nostalgic for the way things were. At least they haven’t changed the names of the teams: Sargent is still home to the Farmers and Monte students are Pirates. You can still wear your “letterman’s jacket,” if it fits, to any of the reunion events or even to the Stampede parade (you’ll want to take it off before the starting cannon goes off at 10 a.m.) but, if you were an ASC Indian, hang it up. Political correctness has overcome good sense. Even Nazarro’s pizza and beer have been replaced by Chili’s sliders and Starbucks coffee.

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