I REMEMBER/GROWING UP IN ALBUQUERQUE
Crusin Albuquerque by Sally Bryant
I was stopped in the gallery by the painting.
There it was, Downtown Albuquerque.
The city of my childhood.
We were all a part of that city.
Hispanics, Italians, and Germans.
Here was America without walls.
The theaters are there in the painting.
The one my grandmother took us to
To see the latest Disney movie.
Sunshine, it said. It was.
Afterward Woolworth’s for ice cream
Or grilled sandwiches or bags of warm cashews,
The same place another grandmother bought
My first crochet hook and thread.
Oh, there’s the store where we bought Easter dresses and hats.
Paris Shoe Store. Why did Italians name it that?
Spring was all the thrill of new clothes for Mass
and after a feast where families gathered.
Families return here or never leave.
Families are generations and immigrant roots.
That painting with its colors, the colors of the way it was.
Yes, it was all in that painting,
The sidewalks where my father held my hand as we walked,
Where he was greeted by everyone we passed.
A hand reaching out, a “Good to see you, Jim”.
As I smiled with pride in my Dad,
In this city, his city.
It is gone now,
The city of our childhood wonder.
Replaced by anonymous buildings.
That rise high and have no soul.
Beneath the new city
There are all the best memories,
The lifeblood of Albuquerque
That remains vital.
They destroyed buildings but
We hold its essence in our hearts still.