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1953 Roswell house, photographed in summer 1992 – 04

1953 Roswell house, photographed in summer 1992 – 04
Short Fiction

(more details about the house itself, in the days to come)

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This is the house in Roswell, NM — on South Pennsylvania Avenue — where I lived with my parents and two of my five sisters in 1953-4. The photo was taken nearly 40 years after we first moved into the house, as part of some research that I was doing for a novel called Do-Overs, the beginning of which can be found here on my website

www.yourdon.com/personal/fiction/doovers/index.html

and the relevant chapter (concerning Roswell) can be found here:

www.yourdon.com/personal/fiction/doovers/chapters/ch7.html

Before I get into the details, let me make a strong request — if you’re looking at these photos, and if you are getting any enjoyment at all of this brief look at some mundane Americana from 60+ years ago: find a similar episode in your own life, and write it down. Gather the pictures, clean them up, and upload them somewhere on the Internet where they can be found. Trust me: there will come a day when the only person on the planet who actually experienced those events is you. Your own memories may be fuzzy and incomplete; but they will be invaluable to your friends and family members, and to many generations of your descendants.

So, what do I remember about the year that I spent in Roswell? Not much at the moment, though I’m sure more details will occur to me in the days to come — and I’ll add them to these notes, along with additional photos that I’m tweaking and editing now (including some of the drive from Roswell to Riverside, CA where our family moved next), as well as some “real” contemporaneous photos I’ve found in family scrapbooks.

For now, here is a random list of things I remember:

1. I discovered roller skates while I lived here — perhaps aided by the presence of nice, smooth, wide sidewalks throughout this whole area of town. Sometimes my mother sent me on a small shopping expedition to the local grocery store, about two blocks away, to buy a quart of milk or a couple of other minor things. The shorts that I wore had no pockets (I have no idea why), so I put the coins that my mother gave me into my mouth, for safekeeping. That way, I had both hands free in case I tripped and fell … but if I had done so, I probably would have swallowed the coins.

2. For Christmas that year (i.e., Christmas of 1953), I was given a .22-caliber rifle. Even today, it would cause only a shrug in many rural parts of the U.S.; and it was certainly unremarkable in the 1950s. My dad felt that every boy should have a rifle, and should learn how to shoot it, clean it, and take care of it in a responsible fashion. I think his intention was to take me out into the open area outside of Roswell, to shoot at rabbits or gophers; but we ended up shooting at cans and bottles in the local dump.

3. In 1953, Roswell had not acquired any fame or attention for its proximity to the alleged alien landing in 1947. Trust me: if there had been even a hint of a rumor, the young kids in that town would have heard about it. Whatever may (or may not) have happened there . If you have no idea what this is all about, take a look at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roswell_UFO_incident

4. For young boys, it was great sport to shoot at moving creatures. Dogs and cats were considered off-limits; and as implied above, we were not allowed to wander the streets with a .22 rifle. But we all had slingshots, and there were an infinite number of lizards in the area. Unfortunately, lizard were far too quick to hit with a relatively inaccurate slingshot (especially if shot with an unevenly-shaped rock; and it was only a year later, in California, that I began shooting marbles). Our greatest success was actually with slower creatures: horned toads, usually referred to as “horny toads,” or just “horns.” Indeed, they were slow enough that you could capture them with bare hands. You probably have no idea what I’m talking about, so take a look at this National Geographic article: animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/horned-toad/

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