Native Writes: Alamosa has changed but memories live on

On Facebook, there’s a site called, “You know you grew up in Alamosa when you remember…”

Sometimes, the memories flood in on a sea of tears, other times, they bob in on a boat of laughter.

Driving south on State Avenue every morning, I think of what was and marvel at what is. People were sitting on the sidewalk in front of La Puente Wednesday morning and I will probably see some of them on street corners outside City Market panhandling for money.

Several places have signs declaring that they are hiring.

Eighth Street was once an unofficial main drag but its image has slowly changed. I would go to Mose Martinez’ grocery to buy ingredients for Mexican meals and Jones Market for meat.

Both businesses are gone.

There was a great shoe repair shop and a gas station with every kind of penny candy imaginable.

Donnie Martinez still repairs shoes and I marvel at that. Many people seem to wear Nikes or Adidas, yet there are some who walk around in boots, wingtips or high heels.

There were several outlets for penny candy, which once sold for that price, something any enterprising kid could afford after selling pop bottles, doing household chores or, like myself and one or two other kids, hanging out in the card game room at the pool hall until someone got nervous. Pennies were often paid to get us out of there and the wooden tokens they used to play with in lieu of money bought real candy bars at the front counter.

The grandkids don’t know what penny candy is.

They don’t know what gin rummy is.

Someone posted a photo of the old high school online and I felt a tug on my heartstrings. Those were fun times and it’s still enjoyable to run into someone who wants to talk about them.

I’m sure the grandkids will someday talk with friends about school days, but what will they say? They have shirts with many declarations of Maroon pride and I think they feel it.

As I write this, I’m wearing a t-shirt that declares me a “Mean Grandma,” with a moose silhouette behind the words.

I no longer drive around town aimlessly as I did when I was younger. Maybe that’s why the changes affect me so strongly. I can’t say I didn’t know about them, I just didn’t think they were as graphic as they are now to my aging eyes.

“Cruisin’” is sort of expensive today.

Old timers like myself will remember when a “dollar’s worth” would buy an entire Friday or Saturday night “dragging Main.” Not all night. Curfews were enforced. My dad, who wore a badge part-time supervising jail inmates who worked on the streets, believed violating the curfew was a criminal offense.

My grandson recently asked me, “where’s Main?” after I had been reminiscing with a friend about the good, old days.

We could drive east, turn around at La Due and drive west to the A&W, then go back east again. With the one-way streets, that’s long gone. So is the root beer stand.

One can’t bring back the past or resurrect things that are gone, but memories are always available.