Monday, July 13, 2009

A Pleasant Memory of My Beloved Home

In 1961, Labor Day was on September 4, and I lived with my wife, my daughter Adrienne, who was two, and my daughter Donna (who had not yet finished her first month out in the open air of our world), in an apartment in Santa Fe, New Mexico, my spiritual home.

On this Monday, July 13, 2009, with a predicted high of 102°F, I think of the day before Labor Day in 1961.

I worked for a firm which had been inherited from John Gaw Meem, with a couple of raucous Okies, a Yankee from New York, a Texan with whom I'd had classes at UT, and a New Mexican who had met the Okies while in school at OU, and coerced them into coming to Santa Fe.

Our firm was a partnership. We had a laid back boss, and a skittish boss, who worked well enough as partners, but sometimes were both a source of amusement as well as consternation for those of us who worked under them.

It came to pass, sometime about mid-summer, that the skittish boss wanted to build a new house. He put his old house on the market before he got started on the plans, thinking it would take months to a year to sell it, but it sold within the first month. Not too good for a skittish fellow, who must get high behind and get his project under way.

He, his wife, and their son moved into an apartment, but the apartment was certainly not adequate to house their vast collection of house plants, so they were arranged on the portal of the office building, virtually filling the fairly large space.

On Sunday, September 3, I was thrilled to awake to a moderate snowfall which was still under way, and I quickly roused our neighbors upstairs, who were from New Jersey. The lady of the neighbor couple exclaimed, "Snow on September 3, why, that doesn't happen even in Jersey!" (I hate it when Damyankees judge everything to the standards of Yankeeland).

After church at St. Francis Cathedral, we packed the neighbors and our kids into our 1960 VW and drove out to view the white. We drove by the office, which was only a few blocks away, expecting devastation on the portal, but there was not a house plant to be seen!

Arriving at work on Tuesday morning, I noticed that all the plants had been moved indoors.

I asked the boss about it, and he explained that they knew better than to leave house plants out later than Labor Day, and they had come in on Saturday and moved them all inside.

Many years later, on September 3, 1977, we had a beautiful cool, fall-like day (not all that normal for Central Texas), and even the kids, who really knew little of Santa Fe, remarked, "It's just like Santa Fe!"

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