Bulldozing old haunts

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It is cool this morning at 66°, light breezes gently sway through the tree, and the humidity is moderately high. Today is rehab day, and the departure time looms ominously as I sit down to compose a morning missive.

I took an interesting bunny trail yesterday. Someone asked if my childhood home was still standing. Indeed it was. At least the home I had through high-school. It was half a block away from the roundhouse, where little steam engines that ran between Alamosa and Durango were housed, and the car shops that maintained the rolling stock.

Many was the night that I was lulled into sleep by the whine of the steam turbines of the engines, the chuffing of the air compressors, the rumble of the idling diesels awaiting the morning train to Denver.

But now, the roundhouse, car shops, coaling stations and all the trackage have been removed and graded flat. The team tracks in front of the house is now used by a local builder for storage, and my old home is unrecognizable after extensive remodeling.

The artesian well next door that watered a huge cottonwood and my dad’s rhubarb row has dried up, and the honeysuckle thicket in that vacant yard has been removed. We had caves and forts in that thicket, and it wasn’t a place adults could go into without difficulty.

It was a spooky thicket at night, though. Frogs ribbited, feral cats rustled, and other mysterious noises cautioned. Many was the dark evening when I would be walking home by that thicket, and a sudden noise would cause me to break out into a hard run to get by it.

The corner was lit by a single bulb streetlight that almost put out enough light to see the intersection, but didn’t spill down the street much. The lamp swayed with the breezes, casting menacing shadows across the honeysuckle. But a mad dash up the sidewalk got me home.

The front of the house had a glassed in porch that lit the yard with welcoming light, and where I set up my surplus two way radios that I used in the Civil Air Patrol. One was a low band unit that allowed me to converse with other CAP installations across Colorado, and one that I could use to communicate with local aircraft and occasionally military aircraft that needed to use our remote airfield.

But all that is gone now, along with the memories. A non-descript house with a detached garage, a plumbers workshop next door, a couple of low rent apartment houses, and a huge swath of cinders graded to a uniform flatness.

I mourn the loss. But then the early denizens probably mourned the loss of vast seas of timothy grass, the cotton woods along the Rio Grande river from which the town received its name, Alamosa.

And life goes on.

Good morning!



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