Tuesday, April 14, 2015



They were the kind of hometown moments anyone who’s lived in the same place from childhood to senior citizenship can appreciate.
My Las Cruces BFF was reminiscing about her high school prom date and their adventures at the old Las Cruces Country Club. I went to another high school, but she’s a great storyteller, and it almost seemed like I was there, especially when I realized another amigo — who also happens to be my doctor — is the brother of her prom date.
Another friend, Charlotte, who moved here from New York, surprised me with her knowledge of anecdotes about my childhood, many decades before we met. I shouldn’t have been surprised. One of her best Las Cruces friends, Linda, was my next door neighbor during my K-12 years.
What’s amazing is that that was in Muskegon, Michigan, and Linda and I had been out of touch for many decades, until we were astonished to discover we were neighbors once again, just a block apart in Las Cruces’ Las Alturas neighborhood.
It was comforting to know that, 1,600 miles from our old hometown, I’m just a few minutes away from someone who knew and loved my mom, dad, sister and brother — and even my Brittany Spaniel, Duffy. In fact, Linda used to pet sit for my grandparents’ dog, Duffy’s dad, when they went south each winter.
A few days ago, when the health club I frequent was almost deserted, it seemed former Muskegonites were everywhere. Susan and I shared snow war stories in the locker room. In the pool, I chatted with Mark, who, we’d discovered, actually worked at Continental Motors at the same time as my aircraft-engineer dad.
After more than two decades here in Las Cruces, I know so much about the families and friends of my best friends here, and have so many friends who have lived in places I’ve lived and known and loved people I know and love, that it’s sometimes hard to believe we haven’t all grown up together from the beginning.
If I start absent-mindedly humming “On the Banks of the Red Cedar,” I’m never surprised when several people chime in. Our symphony director, Lonnie Klein, went to Michigan State, and so did one of my doctors and assorted other people I run into on various beats, from artists to government officials.
Speaking of which, at a Las Cruces’ friend’s New Year’s party, I met a local government official and his wife, and realized we’d once shared some dinners and great conversations at the same isolated resort in Port Antonio, Jamaica, where I was an artist-in-residence.
Funerals of parents, friends and spouses. Shared triumphs and ordeals of kids and grandkids. There are all those family and friends moments that develop when you live somewhere you love for more than two decades.
The love is infectious and many of my favorite friends and relatives have come to visit for memorable vacations, and later decided to move here themselves.
Grandson Alexander the Great shook his first maracas in Mesilla at the tender, rockin’ age of 10 months. His family moved here and I got to enjoy many memorable abuela moments during those prime grandparenting years when he was ages 3 through 10. My most vivid Christmas memories are of Alex in his little footie pajamas, opening presents with his mom and dad and beaucoup cousins, in Las Cruces living rooms or presenting holiday pageants with his Hillrise classmates. My friends and colleagues here often bring up memories of our shared adventures at art openings and museums, dancing on Main Street, or close encounters with the lad himself. (Who, by age four, was introducing himself: “You may know me from such Las Cruces Style columns as...”)
Though Alex was born in Spokane, Washington, lived in Oregon, moved on from here to California and now lives in Idaho, I was touched when I checked out his Facebook page and discovered he still lists Las Cruces as his hometown.
It’s our querencia, our soul’s preferred place. Our new, true hometown.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at dmoore@lcsun-news.com, @DerricksonMoore on Twitter and Tout, or call 575-541-5450.

No comments: