Monthly Archives: December 2007

Were Railroad Ave. gangs tough?

This end-of-the-year column provides an opportunity to catch up on correspondence, compliments, digs, suggestions and much more.Several people provided feedback on a recent column on growing up in Las Vegas in the ‘50s and being harassed by neighborhood toughs who thought of me as a rich boy.

Richard Lindeborg, who reminded me that Seventh Street Extension, which was scarcely a part of the incorporated city in those days, had its own gangs.

But according to Lindeborg, Commerce Street had tougher gang members than Railroad. I never thought of making such a comparison. My Optic route included the 6- through 13-hundred blocks of Pecos and Commerce, just east of Railroad, where I grew up.

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What’s wrong with being young?

Around the time that film cameras were still being bought, slightly before the digital camera revolution took hold, my brother Severino and I competed regarding the number of millimeters we owned.

If my brother showed up with a camera whose zoom lens went from 75mm to 200mm, I would have to try to top that with a lens as wide as 74 and as long as 201mm. Well, cameras just don’t work that way. You can’t buy a lens of a specific size the way you would a skein of yarn or a bolt of cloth.

With the ubiquity of digital cameras, people now seem content to brag about the number of megapixels their camera has, the way people tout horsepower, interest rates, gigabytes and implants.

As long as humans have been around, there’s always been a need to make comparisons. We have to be stronger, richer, smarter, wiser. One way is to attack youth, as if it were something to be avoided rather than a necessary step to maturity.

In fact, the very concept of maturity is in itself puzzling.

Let me explain: Continue reading

In ‘50s, privacy factor was zilch

Almost two years ago, I wrote a doleful tale of the transfer of ownership of my childhood home. Unintentionally, I may have hurt the buyer’s feelings by referring to him as an outsider.

A sudden job transfer means the owner needs to sell the house, and wouldn’t it be fitting if we Trujillos were to re-acquire the house on Railroad Avenue, the epicenter of many activities of the ‘40s, ‘50s and even later?

A tour of the house, in which the current owner stressed the same features of the house, the same way my family did two years ago, understandably reminded me of the neighborhood in which many of us grew up.

The privacy factor for us children, members of the Railroad barrio, was zilch. Almost never could one of us leave the house without meeting neighbors. We had the Maestases to our left, the Bacas to our right, and the Peñas, Kemms, Greenways, Bustoses, Gallegoses, Anayas, Herreras, Sisneros and the Vigiles a few feet away. Continue reading

An 82-cent misunderstanding

Somewhere in this area lives a slightly built, 30-ish woman who was the subject of an 82-cent misunderstanding Friday.

If she contacts me, I’ll issue an apology-explanation, whichever comes first, or, depending on how offended she was, she might get an explalogy or, as my English teacher may say, an apolognation.

Let me explaogize:

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