Donna Stephens sent me this note along with the images displayed here. You can see more of those images by going here.
On my way home this spring morning, I stopped for a minute to admire the restoration of the Gas Station on Grant & Elm. Then driving up Piedras memories came in to vision. As I slowed down a warm and peaceful feeling of nostalgia took me back to our neighborhood as it once was.
The round house on Idalia and Louisiana
I kept driving and passed up my house remembering the round house on Idalia that at one time was a water tank, an artist bought many years ago and made it his home studio. The Esparza grocery has been in that location for many years and back when we could drink whole milk I used to go there to buy Lane's milk. I noticed they still had the sign up, the sign that was so prominent was the sign above the front door: " We appreciate your business". No wonder they are still there.
The building at Elm and Porter I do remember as a TB hospital. The sad one for me is the Sanitary Plumbing building. It was the place every one called when you needed a plumber they did build many of the houses in this area as well.
The dance studio next to Carter's was once Sheldon's grocery store; and, of course, Manhattan Shoe Repair. Who hasn't taken a pair of shoes there? Hill Top Barber shop is an over looked spot in our area it has been there for as long as I can remember. San Vicente is where Gunning Casteel drug store was.
The Big "A" overlooking the village as the Church tower and blue lit cross of Our Lady keeps watch over this special little barrio de "chivas town" holds a extra special place in my heart.
I continued my 5 mph drive home seeing all the buildings still standing and thinking of all the people that came before us that lived and did business in these places. Standing and waiting to be lit again is the Natural Gas Company weather flame that was a reference point along with the star on the mountain.
Just wanted to share.
Thanks, Donna. I remember getting Popsicles at Mr. Sheldon's. Gunning Casteel was a daily stop for a 5¢ or 10¢ candy bar on the walk home from Crockett School. Mr. Lane and his family were fellow members at our church - St. Alban's. I do remember that "when the flame is red, warm weather is ahead".
When I'm walking that way, I always stop at the shrine at Esparza's Grocery. It was erected in honor of artist and muralist, Charlie Zavala, a classmate of mine from 1st grade through high school graduation. He lived just a block down from us on Frankfort.
Our Lady has been watching over us for a very, very long time.