Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Playground

This is an old postcard of the Green Mountain Lodge in Red River, New Mexico, probably in the 50's. A friend sent the image to my brother, who shared it with me.  My parents bought the lodge in the late 60's, but it had been part of my life before that. My parents ran the lodge for the Carnetts in 1960. Grandma and Grandpa Carnett lived in a tiny house attached to Patrick's next door. I loved visiting them in their tiny house and shopping at Patrick's for western wear - usually a cowboy hat was my pick.  Grandpa had a worm garden out back and would let Craig, my brother, and I dig for worms to use for fishing.  Grandpa sold other fishing gear as well. The Carnett's three grandsons did some babysitting for my brother and me. I don't remember this because I was only two and my brother was three. Mike Taylor tells some good stories from that era.  For you military folk, Mike was West Point Army while his step-brother Terry Grindstaff was Navy (possibly Coast Guard). I was disappointed than neither waited for me to grow up.  Mom says that the brothers had never been around little kids and were horrified when I shucked my clothes and ran naked outside. Mom also tells a story about my brother putting a dead bird (probably from the parking lot) in his pocket for her to find later while doing laundry. My brother and I have lots of memories from this place - It was a wonderful place to live.

My recollections are a bit different than the postcard. The lodge later had a rail around the porch and more chairs on the porch including a long metal glider that I loved. Often I would be gliding one minute and waking up from a nap the next.  The lodge also had logs in the parking lot to keep people from pulling up too far, and if I remember correctly, the sign was moved from pole to the porch roof.  Keep in mind that any and all logs or railings were part of our play equipment. The window to the right was my mom's beauty shop. It had been two guest rooms, but Dad converted them to the beauty shop, which he had bought from Eunice Chambles (sp?).  The other side of the downstairs was a large lobby with a rock fireplace and lots of couches and chairs, which was great for snuggling in or playing hide-and-seek. Behind the lobby was a one bedroom apt with a living area and kitchen. All the cabinets were homemade and the walls were pine. I learned to cook eggs on the old gas stove.  It was here in the living area that we watched men walk on the moon in July of 1969. Upstairs there were eight rooms with bathrooms between them - it was a sharing experience. We learned to make a bed military tight here. The stairs were another playground. When cleaning the guestrooms, we would often throw the dirty bed clothes and towels down the stairs, which made a wonderful slide. When it was cold in the winter, my brothers and I would set at the top of the stairs where the warm air rose.  The upstairs window on the right was room #2 where my brothers and I slept - most of the time. And yes, we did occasionally climb out on the porch roof.

To the other side of the lodge (just outside the photo) was the laundry. Here is my brother's description: this was my parents' lodge, some years before we owned it. To the left (outside the frame) was a small building on the property with around 20 coin operated washing machines and 6 or 8 coin-operated dryers and a few commercial sized machines for doing laundry for businesses. We added a room to the front of the laundry with my 4 pinball machines, a counter for Lou and I to make change and sell nicknacks, and my shoe-shine stand. Behind the laundry was a storehouse we called the Fox Pit, and it was later converted to a room without water that we rented to Ray (Wylie) Hubbard and Rick Fowler, who sang for tips and food at the cafĂ© across the street. I would shine their boots several times a week. The Fox Pit was later converted to 2 public shower rooms for campers. 

His version works well. I would add that the laundry became the place to hang for our friends.  Can you just imagine, "Bye Mom, I'm headed down to the laundromat."

Behind the lodge was several outbuildings. One was what was referred to as The Patio. It was actually enclosed on three sides with screens windows across the south side of the building. Inside was chaos - a catch-all for old furniture. It was crowded with old tables and chairs and other stuff.  If you ever wonder where the Outpost got most of its furniture, it would be The Patio. In the middle of the Patio was a two-sided brick fireplace/grill. I can remember cooking smores with some guests at the lodge.  There was also a full working kitchen in The Patio. With all of that junk, it was another great place to play. In later years, I remember sunbathing on top of many of the out-buildings along with my "summer sisters" - the college girls who roomed at the lodge and worked in Red River for the summer.

Behind The Patio was the horse stables and beside the laundry was Bitter Creek. Yep, those were great play places too. In fact, all of Red River was my playground. That was the way it was back in the day. 

8 comments:

Buck said...

Your reminisces are excellent... I LOVE 'em.

Barbara said...

Thanks for the walk down memory lane! When we vacationed in RR during that time period, of course we stayed with Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Oggie at the Lodge. As I read your story, I could see Mother and Nanny in the kitchen, Aunt Bonnie in the shop and Uncle Oggie folding the sheets. Sheets were hung on the line and folded with precision so they would be perfect for the paying guests. Daddy had his fishing gear stolen off the porch one night - everyone was horrified! Nothing was ever stolen in RR! The summer of '68 maybe '69 was the last time I stayed at the lodge. Good times! Thanks, Lou

Bag Blog said...

Thanks, Buck.

Bag Blog said...

This postcard took me back down memory lane too - lots of visions of everyone working around the lodge. I could go on and on. Maybe we will sit on your porch this summer and reminisce.

Stefan said...

Great memories, and reported with spirit! The picture reminds me of the 52 Studebaker we had. I think we bought it in 1957, and by then we were a family of seven. So of course we had the 4-door model. The four door had suicide doors in the rear. I still remember my mom speaking in German not to touch the door handle. She normally spoke in French, but when she shifted to a Gestapo command mode, it was always in German - Verboten !

My dad had different memories of the car. He said he once parked it on a hill in Portland (which has a lot of hills), and everyone was trapped. None of the doors would open! The frame would bend just enough that the doors would jam. This didn't please my mother, who had many nightmares of American bombing missions on her town, and fearing getting trapped in the basement of the bomb shelter. So this was quickly followed by a Chevy station wagon.

Barbara said...

Porch sitting in RR is what I do best! You and your family are always welcome.

Bag Blog said...

I like the idea of your mom speaking in a Gestapo command mode. I call that voice my teacher voice. Although, my kids now laugh when I use it.

Jo Castillo said...

I go along with the porch sitting! Nice memories. RR summers sound like Magdalena as kids. Lots of adventures.