The smell of the fried potatoes from Whataburger made me hungry. I had parked my car and stuffed my shorts' pockets with phone and camera and keys and was hiking it over the tracks on Menaul to document one of my earliest memories of Albuquerque being torn down.
I had driven my daughter and her friend by the Stronghurst Complex on their way to school because we had seen that the demolition had started the day before. Daughter shot a few pix from the car window. She voiced again her thoughts, "Why do that to such a neat building - look at those murals on the walls!"
I talked about how some buildings have problems that are too expensive to fix. I heard that the new exhibit on the Alvarado at the Albuquerque Museum says the same thing about that wonderful building, too - there were awful structural problems. I had never known that about the Alvarado.
In my APS teaching days in the 80's and 90's Stronghurst was known as the North Area Office. In those years APS was divided into 3 areas (North South and East). And a very effective administrator, Ed Marinsek - an APS veteran himself I guess, did a fine job managing all the North Area schools which in those days included all the Rio Rancho schools, Corrales, and a few West Side schools too. They had a wonderful Materials Center where my cooperating teacher Patty Evans took me as a student teacher to check out multiple copies of books for small group activities known then as "committees" that I loved to design. I would continue throughout my next 8 years to go there. Once I scored the best acquisition from the Discard pile at the front door - Language Arts Texts written by Bill Martin - famed children's author. These I still own and cherish as some of the most meaningful literature in a basal textbook format!!! From the Discard Pile.
But this image here is in my brain from when I was a wee one.
We visited my grandma here each summer from 1958 on thru when she moved away in '73. And when I moved here in '78 to live, I would pass this facade and have this amazing bell rung. Of course other routes rang bells too - from 'pre I-40' days, from 'not much Heights' days, from 'nothing on 528' days. This bit of Territorial Style architecture (note the brick lintel - UNM's Bainbridge Bunting taught it well) always rang that old bell of recognition for me - beautiful building at that well-traveled corner of 2nd and Menaul.
I only had these tiny interactions there. Many have worked there, day in and day out, for years. And school kids and Elementary Teachers and Principals and Coaches and Nurses and Staff Members - many of those must have strong attractions to Stronghurst. I bet APS has some recognition happening.
Some of the most useful, beautiful things get discarded, don't they?
Beautiful Building, good bye.