My father became close buddies with a man from Santa Fe while in the Navy, and they decided to go into business together upon discharge from the service. They were both airplane enthusiasts, so they chose to open a small, fixed-base airport.
Our family lived in Montana, but New Mexico seemed a more likely location, so we packed up and relocated to Santa Fe in 1945. Well, “the City Different” was way too different for me! I was nine years old at the time, and thought we had come to a very odd place. We rented a really strange house on a dirt road off Canyon Road and had to meander through narrow, curvy streets (more like alleys) to get to it. It had thick mud walls, tiny windows with bright blue trim, huge, heavy doors with no doorknobs, just big iron latches, and the floors—my goodness—they were uneven and made of some sort of hard clay. My brother, who was five, thought it was a really neat house, but I was actually embarrassed to live in this funky old place! It didn’t take long for the atmosphere to grow on us, and the uniqueness of New Mexico became home. My brother and I have such fond memories of growing up in Santa Fe in the fifties. It has a way of getting into one’s heart.
I now live in Farmington. When the August issue of New Mexico Magazine arrived (always eagerly awaited!), it included the article “Institutional Memories,” about the new Drury Hotel [mynm.us/drurysantafe]. The building was formerly St. Vincent Hospital, where three of our four children were born. In “Homes of the Art Colonists” [mynm.us/ casaspintores], I found a very familiar address on an old adobe house (now known as the Frank Applegate estate) that has been restored and is on the market. Guess what? It is the same funky old house we lived in all those many years ago. It has changed some, but I can proudly say that it was “my adobe hacienda” at one time.
In 1971, the woman I loved was sent to Pecos by her father in hopes of keeping us apart. After 11 months, I decided to drive there and bring her home. The 21-hour drive was worth it. We’ve been married for 42 years. We did not return to New Mexico until 2008, when I suggested that our group of friends go to Santa Fe. While there, one of my friends and I purchased a time-share in Ruidoso. We come out every year, and use it as a base to visit a different area.
ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE
My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Taos eight years ago, and we were immediately smitten. In the years that followed, we would come back to visit and consider the radical notion of moving here from our home in Massachusetts. After weighing the pragmatic pros and cons—which canceled each other out—we realized that some form of divine guidance was needed. Soon after, while meditating in the Santuario de Chimayó, we asked the Spirits for a sign.
We left the church and took the High Road to Taos. Coming to Peñasco, we stopped at the local restaurant for dinner. While waiting for our meal, I noticed that there was a theater located adjacent to the eatery. Curious, I walked over to the entrance and opened the main door. As I did so, out strolled a former neighbor of mine from Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.
Astounded, I asked, “What are you doing in Peñasco?”
“I moved to Pilar, right down the road,” she answered. “I love it. You should move here, too.” Obviously, this was the sign we were looking for. My wife and I did everything we could to ignore it, but we could do so for only so long. A year later, we moved permanently to Arroyo Seco.
Daniel A. Brown
During my junior-year college exchange in Boulder, Colorado, in 1989, I was invited by new friends on a road trip to Albuquerque for Balloon Fiesta in October. We ate at Tomasita’s in Santa Fe, bought Indian blankets, shopped on the plaza in Albuquerque, and saw 500 balloons go up at dawn. It was a fast trip, and it whetted my appetite for more. A few years passed, and I was invited again to travel down to Albuquerque for another Balloon Fiesta with different friends.
I graduated from college and moved to Greeley for graduate school, and started inviting East Coast friends out for road trips with me. We’d always begin in Colorado and wind up in New Mexico. The first trip took us to stay at the New Buffalo Bed & Breakfast in Arroyo Hondo, formerly a commune in the sixties and seventies. During a visit to Eske’s in Taos for green chile turkey stew, my friend ran into a friend of his from college in Ohio. She graciously showed us some wonderful Earthships that were a work in progress.
After I finished my graduate degree, I decided I’d move to Albuquerque, job or not. Another friend came out to travel down there with me for some job interviews. I was halfway packed and ready to move before I left. We drove directly to Albuquerque for the interviews. Back in Greeley, I got a phone call offering me a job—if I could be in Albuquerque in two weeks! I said yes, moved down here in July 1997, and have never left.
Here I am, 17 years later. Still in Albuquerque, still loving it, and still taking trips across the state. The latest one was to Youngsville, a small town just west of Abiquiú. I’ve been north, south, east, and west across the state. I love to travel to the smaller towns, and I love coming back home to Albuquerque.