In response to my query for blog topics, I received some wonderful suggestions and promised to acknowledge those responsible.
Since five people nominated “New Mexico” as a topic, I thought I’d begin there. Mary Anne Frett asked what prompted me to move here, well all righty!
I was born and raised in Illinois and after graduating from nursing school virtually flipped a coin on where to practice, New Mexico or Wisconsin. I selected those two because New Mexico was vast and had one area code.
Wisconsin on the other hand, was my childhood vacationland. Many summers were spent on the wonderful lakes in Wisconsin. In my memory, those were idyllic times. So that was my first choice. Bought a small lake cottage, fixed it up, and worked in the local hospital. My brother came to visit and stayed. He married and raised a family so everything was fine.
A good friend and medical colleague moved to New Mexico and invited me to visit. When I got off the plane in Albuquerque and saw the horizon and the mountains, I knew I would retire here.
I visited them regularly, 2 to 3 times a year for four years. On each visit, I learned more and more about this hidden gem. My friend showed me the highlights and I rented a car to see other areas of the state. The rugged beauty of the vast areas that were uninhabited fascinated me. It was easy to imagine life and the west 100 years ago.
There was also the strong history of three cultures working and living together. Native American pueblos are prevalent along the Rio Grande and in the four corners area northwest of Albuquerque. (New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado—the only place in the United States were four states meet). Although archaeologists have evidence dating back to 9200 BC, history was only recorded after the conquistadores arrived in the 16th century.
Lieutenant Zebulon Pike, exploring for rivers in 1806, stumbled into Santa Fe and was arrested and taken to Chihuahua, Mexico. As you may or may not know, there were bunches of Pueblo uprisings, Mexican revolutions, and all manner of conflict. You know, everybody wants to own a piece of something, especially if it belongs to someone else; even more so if that someone else has a different color skin, or uniform, or weapons, or animals, etc. etc..
Eventually the United States Congress established the New Mexico Territory on September 9, 1850. So here come the settlers. So, you have three groups of people staking a claim and fussing with each other. The soldiers and the missionaries were left to sort it out.
Enough history. I believe it was the winter of 1998 when my part of Wisconsin had three months without sun.Ninety friggin’ grey days! That was it. Much thought, planning, decision-making and I resigned from the allergy clinic that I was running, put my house on the market, put everything I owned in a small truck headed for New Mexico and packed my car. I said goodbye to my family and friends loaded my faithful Labrador, Murphy (RIP my pal, 2004), in the car and drove west.
(Oh by the way, two weeks prior to that, I had major abdominal surgery and what with all the packing boxes and moving furniture, I ended up with a hernia. There was no time to repair it because everything was on its way to New Mexico. So, shortly after I arrived I was in the hospital for hernia repair.)
I stayed with my friends for several months until I could find a place to live and a job. And that was 14 years ago.
Yes, I do miss the grass, the trees, and most of all the lakes, but in Mexico is where I want to be. 350 days of sunshine, a temperate climate with warm summer days, and enough snow to have four seasons. Best of all, no mosquitoes, no leaves to rake, no gutters to clean, no grass to cut and no trees to obstruct the view. Mountains on two sides. Endless blue skies. Fresh clean air. Endless quiet. And peace.