Seeing somebody from my childhood, Monday, at a local restaurant, piqued my memory about growing up in the Railroad Avenue barrio.
I saw Johnny Sandoval, who’s visiting from California. He’s the oldest of a family, mainly males, which includes sister Vickie and brothers Narciso, Chris and Lawrence. With them at El Rialto were their mother, Bertha Sandoval, and Lawrence’s wife Antonia.
We were gassing up at the Allsup’s on Mills and Hot Springs when a woman who would normally have ignored me suddenly made me feel important.
It’s the kind of importance one feels when sought out by a child who thinks of you only as a person who’ll order magazine subscriptions or “buy a raffle.” A raffle, by the way, is the money-making procedure, including a drawing. A ticket or coupon is not a raffle.
A former student recently told me about a job he’s held for several years. It involves writing news and speaking in public — two things I used to teach.
I was about to compliment him when he said something that made me wince: “I owe it all to you.”
In what would eventually have been a mismatch, I once got provisionally accepted into Officers Candidate School, while attached to the National Guard unit in Gallup. Completing the training would have turned me into a second lieutenant.
Looking back, I can’t fathom having made such a decision. Was it the example set by my brother, who worked full time with the Guard for 45 years? Was it the encouragement of a district judge who was our battalion commander?