A friend made a habit of collecting and saving Sunday bulletins for Our Lady of Sorrows Sunday church services.
Considering the number of years represented in these bulletins, it’s safe to say she was a faithful church member. Most of the bulletins that she passed on to me date back to the 1960s, and all contain a historical photo on the cover and list a slew of activities: wedding banns, a bingo prize of $230, baptisms and special events. The pastor at that time was the Rev. James T. Burke.
Particularly interesting is the number and kind of businesses whose 1×2-inch ads fill the last page. The issues I’m looking at list the following advertisers:
Gonzales Funeral Home, Louie’s Auto Service, Saibe’s Confectionery, Plaza Jewelers, El Alto Supper Club, Tony’s Dry Goods, Highway Shopping Center, Ludi’s Bakery and Grocery, Model Cleaners, Joe G. Maloof, Priscilla’s Coiffure Salon, Road Runner Distributing Co., Plaza Supper Club, California Store, Northern Hardware, Sal’s Barber Shop, Peterson Insurance Agency, Olivas 7-11, Popular Dry Goods, Art’s Food Market, Plaza Shoe & Dry Goods Store, Guerin’s Food Market and Korte’s Furniture.
Clearly, many of these stores have closed, changed names and locations or morphed into another kind of business. Cars generally don’t require the constant maintenance of yesteryear, so there aren’t as many auto repair shops today.
And a number of business may have chosen not to buy an ad and therefore don’t appear in the bulletins.
It took a thorough reading of the series of bulletins to orient myself, to recall exactly where these businesses operated.
As some of the ads of around a half-century ago lacked addresses, it’s sometimes difficult to pinpoint their location. I hope some astute reader with a good memory will come up with more information.
Just as enjoyable is the content of the photos on the bulletins’ covers. One such photo actually goes back an additional 35 years and shows a flat-bed truck carrying hundreds of sacks of flour to Ilfeld’s store on the Plaza. Its driver is Joe I. Flores, and riding on top are Camilo Montoya, Matias Montoya and Napoleon Tafoya.
Another photo shows five men, presumably joined by their spouses or significant others, dressed in finery and sitting atop burros. By the way the riders are dressed, they obviously are tourists. The Montezuma Hotel (now the United World College) is in the background.
An 1899 photo shows a D.A. Sulier operating the first Cadillac to arrive in Las Vegas. The vehicle’s wheels appear to be solid wood. Sulier’s co-driver? The mechanic who helped him drive the car from Trinidad, through primitive roads. The bulletin’s 1966 caption states that “some of Sulier’s descendants still make their home in Las Vegas.
A big event in the Meadow City happened in 1912, featuring the world heavyweight championship bout between Jack Johnson and Jim Flynn. This particular bulletin was printed in 1965 but it harks back several decades. An estimated 5,000 fans paid up to $25 to watch the fight, won by Johnson.
A related church bulletin shows a crowd huddled around both fighters as they arrived in town. The bulletin says that a special arena, capable of holding 17,000, had been erected for the fight, but a much smaller crowd showed up.
The reason: Rumors circulated that the then-governor, William C. McDonald, would not allow the fight to go on.
My father, J.D. Trujillo, born in 1903, said he’d seen the fight with his father, Don Severino Trujillo. Dad told me that in the first round, “Johnson made a mess of Jim Flynn’s face.” My father was 9 at the time of the bout.
Charles O’Malley, who operated an electrical-repair shop close to what is now Community 1st Bank, sponsored the prizefight.
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Oh, to have such longevity! The last known survivor of the 19th century, Emma Morano, just recently died at the age of 117.
A caretaker notified authorities that Morano had passed away while sitting in an armchair at her home in the Italian city of Verbania. What a feat it must have been to live in three centuries!
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Readers may recall the elation my family felt a year and a half ago when we met the plane that brought our foreign exchange students, Phaedra Wouters and Ana Granados to Albuquerque.
During this year’s spring break, Phaedra, from Belgium, flew to Spain to visit Ana during their recent spring break.
While in Madrid, our “daughters” phoned us via Skype, which that day provided an extremely clear connection. Bonnie naturally gave the girls a cellphone tour of our yard, and I held up Hera, our dog, and the Magnificent Meow Machine to give the girls a close-up look at our pets.
During the girls’ stay in Las Vegas, to attend West Las Vegas High School, Phaedra drew us into Old Town in a way we had never seen it. When I think of the Plaza and Bridge Street when I was a child, I see that the foot traffic was sparse on the west side, but now abounds.
Dozens of new and improved businesses now line Bridge Street and the Plaza, whereas in the olden days, bars seemed more common.
Both of our foreign exchange students enrolled at West, Phaedra as a senior, Ana a sophomore. They quickly became part of the West crowd, performing well in their classes and joining various clubs and sports. Saying good-bye last June was at once a relief in that we knew how homesick they’d become, and an occasion for tears, when we gave them good-bye hugs.
Though it may seem like it, this column wasn’t intended to be solely about the miracle of Skype. Yet, as one who grew up in an era when the operator’s voice saying, “Deposit five cents, please” was considered high-tech, I marvel at many things that once existed only in Dick Tracy comic strips.
We’ve decided to try to repeat history, as we’ve notified the sponsoring agency that we’d like to host two more girls next time.