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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lost in the crowd

I first moved to Cibola County, NM in 1976 because my then husband could not find a job in California. His parents lived in Old Laguna and helped us purchase a mobile home that we placed on their large lot. My first question as we entered New Mexico was, “Where is the grass?”

To that point in my life I had lived in Alaska, four towns in Washington State and two in California. Grass had always been a part of my life that I guess I took for granted. Green was the color I grew up with. Brown was a color found in hot chocolate or wrapped in foil and nibbled on.

Living on an Indian reservation was an interesting experience. For one thing there were no stores to speak of. I was pretty much isolated in all directions from everything that had previously been part of my everyday life and I didn’t like it one bit. Our oldest son began his sophomore year at Grants High School, thirty miles away, and our youngest was enrolled in St. Joseph Catholic School in San Fidel where he finished elementary school.

My husband was part of a large family consisting of parents and many aunts, uncles and cousins. I always felt like an outsider who was simply tolerated due to marriage. Every time they congregated all they did was talk about their childhood experiences. Not once did anyone ever ask me about my experiences.

This situation continued until 1980 when our New Mexico born daughter was a year old. We moved our family, complete with our mobile home to the Mt. Taylor addition, slightly east of the Grants city limits line. We weren’t exactly in a town, but close enough. There were stores and things to do. One of the first things we did to cover up some of the dirt on our ½ acre of land was add grass to the front and back yard.

I began participating in craft shows and volunteering, first at schools then for various organizations. Before I knew it I was no longer just Don’s wife or Mary & Wally’s daughter-in-law. By 1999 my children had all left home and my husband and I divorced. By this time people actually knew who I was, standing by myself.

Today I enjoy going anywhere in town and having people call me by name. After all these years of moving around I feel like I have a real hometown and do not desire to live anywhere else. I am not sure this feeling of family could have happened in a big city where I might have remained lost in a crowd.

One of my very favorite spots is the Riverwalk right in the middle of town. Where I have taken many beautiful photographs and have had interesting conversations with people I know and some I don’t know. I love it because it not only has green grass; it has water, trees, rocks, ducks, geese and little animals running around.

Riverwalk, Grants, NM

2 comments:

  1. I loved this post, Barbara. I didn't realise that I didn't really feel at home where I lived before, despite staying in the same apartment for 18 years. When I returned to my home town (not my birth town which is London) I began to feel truly "at home" for the first time. The barren lands where you were seem symptomatic of feeling isolated and perhaps you felt spiritually "parched" too. Where you are now seems to suit you so well and your writing and photography reflects how content you are and how strongly spirit speaks to you. I love the fact that you have conversations with people you know and people you don't. Strangers are just friends we haven't yet met, someone told me (it may have been you!)

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    1. Jan, I think I just had to remove all the negative energy from my life to make room for positive energy. Two things cannot occupy the same space. My current life is not perfect, but at least it is now on the right path.

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