I grew up in a beautiful (in the eyes of the beholder, you see) Rio Grande farming valley near the geographical center of New Mexico. The substantial mountains to the west camouflage its elevation of slightly under a mile. The fertile river valley is shrouded in large cottonwood trees and salt cedars.
Socorro (Spanish for "help") had a population of under 8,000 when I was a kid. It was large enough to have a couple of grocery stores and two drugstores, two new car dealers and a small (but renowned) college -- New Mexico Tech. People came there from around the world to study the sciences -- particularly metallurgy.
One of our claims to fame was that Socorro was the boyhood home of the late hotelier, Conrad Hilton. Every year the Hilton Open Golf Tournament took place over a weekend and I have heard that the likes of Lee Trevino came there to play long before he made it big in the PGA.
We were also proud when, during my boyhood, the Wonderful World of Disney aired a serial about Elfego Baca, the Socorro "sheriff with 9 lives." Elfego was survived by relatives in Socorro and my dad knew some of the older ones who had known Elfego when they were young.
Someone once joked to me that Socorro was a one horse town. Until the horse left. In retrospect, I realize that I grew up thinking of my home town as a place you left. Most of my peers had no intention of staying there and, unlike the middle-sized city where I now live, the vast majority graduated from high school and moved away permanently.
Still, though, Socorro holds a bushel of memories for me -- most of them good. I will reflect one one or two this week.
As we begin a new week together, could you give us a thumbnail view of the town -- or city -- where you grew up?