Thursday, March 30, 2006

Red Sky

Yesterday, we woke up to red sky at morning. Which reminded me of one of my favorite books, "Red Sky at Morning" by Richard Bradford. There was a movie made from the book in the 70’s, but it was not nearly as wonderful as the book. In fact, my first real date took me to that movie. I was so nervous throughout the movie, I do not remember much about it. I do remember that it did not catch the essence of NM. But the book was so perfect in describing life in Northern NM. It is a must read. There is a great line in the book when Josh starts his first day at the high school. He meets a girl who explains some of typical ways of thinking in Northern NM. She says something like this: There are only two sets of people here – the Spanish and the Anglo. See that black guy over there? He is an Anglo.

Having gone to school in Questa, NM back in the late 60’s, I would say that statement was very true. It is also interesting that George Orwell would use NM in his book "1984" as a reservation – a place that does not become modern – a place to take vacations – get back to the past. Through the years, I think people bought into that idea. For a time, maybe it was a place of the past – a simpler life. Things change, and Northern NM is no exception. People moved in buying up desert, building huge homes, changing the lifestyle, and pushing their ways onto the locals.

One day when I was teaching at Questa High School, I had had a really bad day. I felt tired of the whole "Spanish way of life". Toby took me to Taos after work to have dinner at the Taos Inn. As we sat there sipping our margaritas watching all the artsy hippies come and go, I was embarrassed by their oddities and rudeness. I was embarrassed by the nasty paintings on the wall. Suddenly I understood how the Hispanic people felt (lots of resentment) with so many Anglos moving into their little town changing everything. I was embarrassed to be an Anglo. So Toby took me back to Questa with a renewed spirit. I may have been the gringa teacher, but I had a better understanding of my students and loved them. Life in Questa was good, but it is not the simple life it once was. We moved on.

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