Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘New Mexico’

90th Birthday Words of Wisdom “Family first and always”

Luella's favorite photo of herself

Luella’s favorite photo of herself

How does it feel to be 90 years old? “I love it!” exclaimed Luella Polcyn of Coshocton, Ohio as she celebrated her 90th birthday with family and friends.  Now ninety candles on a cake could cause quite a flame, so they wisely scheduled the party at Three Rivers Fire House – just in case!

When she blew out the candles at her 80th birthday party, someone asked her what she had wished for. She quickly replied, “I wished everyone of you would be at my 90th birthday celebration.” Now she wants a repeat performance at age 100.

Luella began school at the age of four, walking with her brother Charles along the narrows of Wills Creek to school at Tyner in Guernsey County, Ohio. They walked about a mile each way in all kinds of weather to get their education at this one room school.

The family moved to Colorado when she was ten. Seven people fit in that 1928 Olds – their first car with glass windows – with the trip taking seven days. She graduated from high school at the age of sixteen in Colorado Springs before going to Blair Business College. That was quite the education for a young lady at that time.

Some of Luella's grandchildren look over her 90th birthday cake.

Some of Luella’s grandchildren look over her 90th birthday cake. She still likes sweets!

Her first job at sixteen was a waitress at a restaurant. They were allowed to eat one free meal a day including dessert. Luella has always had a sweet tooth and dessert is sometimes her entire meal these days, but then she just couldn’t resist having ice cream on her pie…two desserts. That time her sweet tooth got her fired, even though it seemed to her that they had plenty of each.

At a carnival in Colorado Springs, she met the man who was to be her husband, Louie Polcyn, and was married in 1942.  Two years later, Louie was off to WWII and stationed in Burma where he was a mule skinner. While he was at war, Luella worked at the Nabisco Cracker Company for 46 cents an hour. Somehow with the $30 Louie sent home from his military pay each month, and her working at Nabisco, Luella saved $1,000, which was used for down payment on a house. They also bought a Model A Ford about that time, and she remembers that the gas prices were 10-12 cents a gallon.

Luella's family made this quilt especially for her birthday.

Luella’s family made this quilt especially for her 90th birthday.

At the age of 50, Luella found a job that would change her life. Her children were raised and she began working at Frontier Airlines. Now she was traveling to places she had previously only dreamed of – Rome, Russia, Mexico, Portugal, Alaska, and many more. She was footloose and fancy free.

Now Luella enjoys relaxing at home so a beautiful autumn leaf quilt was made by members of the family – one square at a time. Luella has made many quilts over the years and all the family has enjoyed a gift quilt for some special occassion – birthday, graduation, wedding, new baby and the list could continue. So today they thought it fitting to reward her wtih a quilt they made especially for her. Each person who assisted wrote their name on one of the leaves. Before the party was finished, everyone in attendance had written their name and good wishes on the back of the quilt. Now on a cold winter’s day, Luella will be surrounded with the love of her family and friends.

This 90 year old lady has seen many changes over her lifetime. Some would automatically expect that all the new technology would be the biggest change, but Luella says that is not so. To her the biggest difference in today’s world is how people treat each other and have lack of consideration for another person’s life. She never thought she would see the crime we have today.

Luella surrounded by her children: Gladys, Randy, Greg, and John.

Luella surrounded by her children: Gladys, Randy, Greg, and John.

Her greatest accomplishlment in life, however, is her loving family. Their love of children shines through with every addition to the family, and there have been plenty of those. Besides her four children, who came to the celebration from Colorado, Hilliard, Ohio, and Coshocton, Luella has 13 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, and 7 great-great-grandchildren.  She tells everyone, “One thing you should never forget – family first and always.”

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Deming Luna Mimbres Museum Sundry Southwest Collections

Deming Luna Mimbres Museum

Deming Luna Mimbres Museum

Variety is the spice of life…and of museums. No matter what your interests, chances are you can find something to arouse your curiosity at the Deming Luna Mimbres Museum in Deming, New Mexico. Everything there is from the private collection of local residents, or former locals.

Housed in an old National Guard Armory, their unusual exhibits range from Mimbres pottery to Geodes and Gems to a Military Room. There is something that everyone can enjoy. Visiting the Deming Luna Mimbres Museum is a great chance to explore the history of Deming as well as the Mimbres heritage.

Since there is such a large variety of rooms to explore, only a few favorites will be visited here. This is one of those places where you could go back again and again to absorb the history that pours from its treasures.

Doll Room Teddy Bear Collection

Doll Room Teddy Bear Collection

The Doll Room happens to be just inside the front door so is a natural place to begin your visit.  This impressive collection contains about 1000 dolls, the oldest of which are those with China heads. Being a bear enthusiast, the teddy bear exhibit caught my eye. There is even a doll brought back by a sailor from  the rubble at Hiroshima after the Atom Bomb exploded. But there is much more in this room than just dolls.  Here you will find wonderful old books – the oldest I spotted was one by Louisa Mae Alcott, Jo’s Boys, dated 1866. Beautiful doll houses, antique toys and bears are scattered throughout the room.

Mimbres Pottery

Mimbres Pottery

Another spot of high interest is one of the best collections of Mimbres Pottery in existence. The Mimbres Indians lived in this area in approximately 1000 A.D. Bits and pieces of pottery found in the area are displayed here with the black and white pieces being a favorite of Mimbres followers. Pictures of their burial method proved interesting as the deceased were placed in the ground, usually under their houses, in an upright sitting position. Then one of their beautiful bowls was placed on their head with a hole in the top so their spirit could go to another world.

Square Grand Piano

Square Grand Piano

A square grand piano caught my eye in the solarium of the Art Gallery. Made of Brazilian rosewood with two strings per key, this 1867 treasure was created by Hallet, David & Co in Boston. Grand pianos were often the centerpiece in Victorian parlors.  Perhaps you might enjoy listening to a Brahms Waltz played on a Square Baby Grand.

An historic replica of the famous Silver Stake was on display in the Transportation Room. Back in 1881, Deming was the meeting place of the second transcontinental railroad in the United States where Southern Pacific and Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroads joined together with the Silver Stake ceremony. Situated ten miles east of its present location, Deming at that time was a town of tents and shacks. Author James McKenna stated, “The great event in town was either the arrival of the stagecoach or the train.”

Admission to the museum is free but donations are accepted…after you have seen the exhibits. You can’t get much friendlier than that!

Veterans ParkOutside a well-tended Veterans’ Park remembers wars, conflicts and attacks all around the world. The sign reads:

Do spread the word

Tell the passerby

That in this little world

Men knew how to die.

Deming Luna Mimbres Museum and Veterans Park can be found near downtown Deming, New Mexico just off I-10.  From the east take Exit 82B and from the west take Exit 82A. This should exit left on Pine Street, which leads right downtown. Turn left again on South Silver Street, which leads to the courthouse. The museum and park are on the left side after two blocks.

Lonesome Town Near Mexican Border

Just by accident, travelers might find the little town of Hachita, New Mexico.  As you travel through the Southern part of the state, Hachita is a small town not far from the Mexican border and located in the Little Hatchet Mountains.

This is one of the few towns I have visited where all of the streets are still unpaved. During my first visit to Hachita, the town consisted of a bar, store, and post office along with about a hundred people in residence. The post office is located in the center of town and you can see the dirt road to its front door step, but the American flag is always flying. Another interesting event in years past was the Chicken Roping.  This town was filled with cowboys and Cattle Roping was a year long event there.  One year, the owner of the local bar thought that chicken roping would be an added attraction.  This was a real event and was depicted on the side of the bar by a traveling artist.

This was once a mining area so at one time was a booming and prosperous community. But that was Old Hachita, which is located down the road just a couple of miles and set back off today’s main road.  You have to have a local guide that knows the area to lead you to the remains of the Old Hachita town.

The local guide also took us back in the desert region very close to the Mexican border. We actually had a picnic of ham sandwiches and potato salad with refreshing cold drinks under a giant sycamore tree located near a rare spring.

As we headed back towards Hachita, we came across a sign posted by the Border Patrol which said: Attention!  You are in danger of dying if you do not summon help.This was one of those unusual signs that you come across off the beaten path.

Even attended a town meeting while visiting in the area.  They were discussing their new grant for water for the small town.  Currently, there is an old water tower but water is not really safe to drink.  The new project will have a safe water supply and a better water volume available.  After the meeting, nearly everyone in the town brought a covered dish and had delicious food as well as friendly town talk.

Border patrol frequent the town driving through both day and night as well as covering the surrounding area.  Most of the locals don’t even lock their doors at night as they feel well protected.  This is the place to really get away from it all.

Desolate New Mexico Highway

Appearances can be deceptive as Route 9 across the bottom of New Mexico seems to be a desolate stretch of nearly one hundred miles.  But upon closer observation, the beautiful desert scenery holds many interesting experiences especially since it is just three miles to the Mexican border.  This road is not as lonely as it first appears.

As we leave Columbus, NM and Pancho Villa State Park, the desert is filled with low growing plants and the roadway is lined with the burnt orange blossoms of the Indian Paint Brush. You might even notice a Mexican here or there hiding behind one of the mesquite bushes.

One industrious rancher added an artistic touch to this desert road. They have piled up rocks in various formations and painted them in brilliant colors to add a little interest to the lonely road. A bright yellow cross catches your eye.

Listen! Overhead you hear a Border Patrol helicopter watching for illegals crossing the border. It sounds like it is getting closer. Hope they aren’t after us! This is a new and interesting landing as they are right behind us and landing in the road. Let’s keep on going but watch behind as the Border Patrol gets out and heads to the desert on foot. Something or someone close must have been spotted from above.

Cows roam across the road as we travel on since this is Open Range territory. You will notice the absence of fences replaced by cattle guards.

Ahead a man is standing in the road beside his truck and trailer and waving his arms. Let’s slow down and see what he needs. We can see that he is dressed casually with sandals, shorts and tee shirt and he has a long white beard and ponytail. A flat tire seems to be his problem. Since there is no cell phone service in this area, he asks if we will call 911 in the next town about forty miles away and have asssistance sent.

“How about a ride?” we ask.

“No way,” he replies. “My motorcycle is in the trailer behind and I can’t leave it here unguarded.”

Just then the Border Patrol appears in their SUV and as usual give needed assistance. While the illegals try to hide from them, the Border Patrol is a real safety net for those traveling the area. As we pull away, notice the lettering on the back of his trailer: All Who Wander Are Not Lost. That has always been one of my favorite sayings!

Up ahead you see a small town called Hachita located between the Big Hatchet and Little Hatchet Mountain ranges. There is a gas pump here and a small store for essentials. If you want to get away from it all or hide away, this would be the perfect place!

Many think this is a lonely road, but as you can see it is never boring.

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