Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Looking Back Tuesday - Santa Rosa, New Mexico

We were just babies really, Mr. Very Young Right and I. Probably about 21. He was in the Air Force back in the days when every young man served in the military unless there was a good solid reason for a deferment. He was stationed at Holloman Air Force base near Alamogordo New Mexico way in the southernmost part of the state, only about 80 miles from El Paso, Texas and Cuidad Juarez, Mexico. I worked for the Civil Service as a secretary at Holloman.
We had flown home because Mr. Very Young Right’s grandmother had passed away. It was two airline tickets we could ill afford and so for the return trip, we arranged to buy back my 65 Volkswagon Beatle and drive it home to New Mexico. This was a car that I bought right out of high school. When I got married, we saw no reason to have two cars so I sold it to my sister who sold it to my dad to give to my brother who was in college at the time. Now it came full circle back to me.
We got a late start when we left that day. Repairs were required to make the car trip-worthy and long, sad good-byes needed to be said. Here we are just before we left, young and confident. We knew that if we drove all night, we’d get home in time for an hour or two of sleep before we went to work the next day.

At about 3:30 or 4 o’clock in the morning, we entered the city limits of Santa Rosa, New Mexico. Don’t ever go there.
When we encountered an oncoming car, Mr. Very Young Right dimmed his lights. The car made a U turn and as he pulled up behind us, his rollers came on and we were pulled over. The local police officer informed us that we only had one dim headlight. As long as our brights were on, we were fine but when we dimmed our lights, there was only one.
Instead of writing us a warning ticket which any legitimate law enforcement officer would do, he told us to follow him to the one open gas station in town – in fact I’m positive it was the one and only open establishment of any kind within 50 miles of where we were. When we arrived, he told us to get the headlight fixed – THERE!
There was an old man working the graveyard shift who the policeman must have felt didn’t have enough to do; and, that was who was going to repair our faulty headlight. So the guy hunkered down in front of the light, took it out, dropped it on the pavement, and smashed it to smithereens. No big deal really right? Wrong.
He installed the new headlight and guess what. It worked fine as long as the brights were on but as soon as we dimmed the lights, there was only one working lamp. Obviously there had been nothing wrong with our light to begin with, but now it was shattered on the pavement of this gas station.
So, the old guy stepped back and said that’ll be $9.95 (or so). Of course that was significantly more money back then than it is now; but that wasn’t the point. The point was that we were forced to go somewhere to get a light fixed that wasn’t broken until the guy broke it and then we had to pay for it. Furthermore, he couldn’t fix whatever was making the light not work properly in the first place.
So Mr. Very Young Right said that we weren’t going to pay for it. The guy said if you don’t I’ll have the police on you before you get down the street. We said please call him right now because our light still isn’t working right. He said I can’t call him right now because he’s off duty. We said well then we’re leaving and he said he’d call the police. Mr. Very Young Right told me to wait outside because he said he wanted to say something to the old codger but I wouldn’t. I’ve always wished I had.
We left town later than we should have, angry, and extremely tired.. And as soon as we got on the highway leading to the barren desert we’d be driving through for the next 2 or 3 hours, we hit a very small bump and the headlamp that the guy had installed changed position so that it was aiming straight up in the sky. Another little jolt and it cast its rays out over the desert on the side of the road. And that’s how we made our way into Alamogordo - with a headlight lighting up everything but the road ahead. But it didn’t matter because we were so tired we could hardly see anyway.
We did make it to work that day but we were both late and yes, we actually admitted we were human and slept a couple of hours before we went in.
After all that though, our advice to you is that whatever you hear or read about Santa Rosa, New Mexico, don't ever go there.


  1. I love/hate this story. I love it because, well, I love hearing stories from that past. I hate it because they were jerks, it was funny because they old guy sounded really dumb! lol I think you and Dad sound so cute. I especially LOVE LOVE LOVE this picture, I could just stare at it all day. You guys were hotties!

  2. I love this story. Young people probably don't realize that $9.95 was a lot of money back then.
    I wonder if we will get sent to exhile island together tomorrow?

  3. That's a great picture. I bet those two young one pups had no idea there'd be so many kids, grand kids and great grand kids in their future. :-)
    I love the car, too. And the story, of course.

  4. I also love hearing about stories from thr past. I can't believe how rude those guys were! and that guy must have been really crazy to expect you guys to pay for a light that didn't need to be fixed and he broke! He sounds like such a bright fellow! Lol I love that picture!! You look so so pretty!! And grandpa looks very hansome!! Love it!

    Btw, I found level 1 of the shred on comcast on demand. I plan to do it for my first time today! Yuck!



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