Well, I am back. Where was I? Oh yeah, Leroy Pacheco. Leroy Pacheco lived next door to us and we both lived next to the Country Club Market at 10th and Coal. The owner of the store (I only remember his first name as Ronnie) I think was also our landlord but I am not certain. I wasn't the one paying the rent so I don't know for certain that Ronnie was our landlord.

Anyway, Leroy. Leroy Pacheco was such a nice kid. He was very well mannered and never used profanity. Not even when we were alone somewhere playing baseball and we would get into heated discussions about the game we were playing. Leroy, his brother Burt and there was a sister I think were all great kids. They were obviously a product of wonderful parents. Leroy's dad is the person that got me into the Army National Guard. I was visiting one day when I was 17 and Mr. Pacheco asked what I was going to do about my military obligation. I responded “wait to get drafted I guess.” He suggested I should consider the National Guard. He said that in the Guard I would serve six months of activity duty before I returned home. I would then have monthly weekend meetings and an annual two week summer training camp in the desert north of El Paso. I would serve a total of six years in the National Guard. If I decided that I liked the idea of activity duty, I could turn around and volunteer for the Army and serve two years in the Army to satisfy my military obligation. I ended up joining and satisfied my obligation that way. I think all citizens should serve in the military in some capacity. It would probably change people’s attitudes about the military.

Leroy went to a catholic school until high school. I don’t think that the catholic schools went beyond junior high school and that was why he had to change to public school for high school. We moved away from those apartments and I lost touch with Leroy. I heard many years later that he joined the Albuquerque Sheriff's Department. A while later I heard that he had been shot in a shootout with some do-bad. He survived that altercation. I later heard that he passed away in 2000. I wish that I had maintained contact with Leroy. I had much respect for him and I would have liked for my kids to have met him.

Back to the owner of the Country Club Food Mart. Ronnie was an incredibly nice man. When we were close with him, we (the kids that I used to hang with) were in junior high school. We attended Washington Junior High School. It was located in the area of 11th and Park street. I mentioned previouosly that we used to cut school regularly although I had been talking about my attendance at Albuquerque High School. In Junior High, we were much more active in our cutting of school. When we cut school we were always looking for something to do during the day. Initially we started hanging out at the Country Club Food Mart. We woud hang around the magazine rack, drink cokes, eat candy and read comic books off the rack. Ronnie (we never called him by his first name, we called him Mr. ________ but I don't remember his last name) was very tolerant. At one point he suggested that we would be better served if we ate a lunchmeat sandwich rather than the candy and cokes we were eating. So he offered to make us a lunchmeat sandwich for our lunch, each day,if we would skip the candy. He was trying to help us with our diet. Ronnie owned the store and worked in the meat counter area of the store. He could make us a sandwch pretty easy with various lunch meats at hand. I appreciated his niceness and always behaved myself in his store. Dale Ray on the other hand decided to steal from him. (not that I never stole anything, I never stole anything from Ronnie, heck I lived next door!). Ronnie suspected him but couldn't catch him at it. Dale was stealing comic books. One day, Dale was on his way out of the store when Ronnie approached him and said hi. He made a game of wrestling with Dale and picked Dale up and jostled him up and down. You could have heard a pin drop when a load of comic books fell out of Dale's pants. He had tucked the comics in his pants in front of his belly button and the jostling shook them loose and they fell out of his pants. Ronnie told Dale to leave and never enter his store again. I felt real bad because I knew Dale was stealing from Ronnie and I said nothing.

I was looking around the Duke City Fix web site yeserday and someone had posted a picture of the Kimo Theatre. That brings back memories. I remember going to the Kimo when I was a kid. I don't remember what it cost to go to the movie but you got two full features and a cartoon for your money. You could spend a good portion of the afternoon at the movies back then. Today, we somtimes will get a cartoon whenever they show that silly squirrel that is always chasing that acorn usually in an icey frozen place. They are funny. When I was a kid living in Albuquerque I used to raise pigeons. To get pigeons for my pigeon cage I would trap wild pigeons. We would also catch them at night. Apparently pigeons don't see well at night. So, at night you can sneak up on pigeons in the dark. Well, we would sneak up onto the roof of the Kimo Theatre and catch pigeons at night. We did a lot of stuff that would have given our parents a heart attack if they had found out. Before the advent of cable and satellite TV, big time sports events were televised to a viewing place on closed circuit TV. I have always been an Indy type race fan. The Indianapolis 500 used to be televised on closed circuit TV. I used to go watch the race at the Kimo Theatre. This was when I was little older, not when I was in junior high. Once I went to a closed circuit TV viewing to wath the UNM Lobos in the NIT. They were doing well in the tournament and UNM set up a bunch of TV's in a gym on campus and invited the community to come and support the lobos. I went to the game but unfortunately the Lobos lost. Some years later I was a huge Muhammed Ali (Cassius Clay) fan and went to several of his fights that were shown on closed circuit TV. I went to the fight when Ali first beat Sonny Liston for the Heavyweight Title. We were just getting settled in when the fight started and the venue had trouble with the transmission of the TV signal. It took about two minutes to correct the problem but by then the fight was over. I don't remember instant replay so I don't think that we ever got to see the fight. And not only did we not get to see the fight, we didn't get our money back.

I need to get back to shoveling dirt again. I will return.

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Comment by Lady Noodle on March 29, 2008 at 10:54pm
I, too, have known a wonderful man by the name of Leroy Pacheco! ... only this one I knew in California, don't think it's the same one, but truly a good human being. Thanks for the stories.

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