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American History
E-Mail Letter

Re: The meeting a few of the alumni and interested folks had on the visit to Chilocco, January 9, 2005

Good Morning Sis, It's come to my better sense that I not go, even though my heart is saying yes. Maybe there will another time if you can get this to be an annual thing as you mentioned earlier.

As You and I both know the heartbreaking conditions the buildings are in, will be devastating for others as they tour for the first time in many years. It's good you have posted pictures on the your internet site, at least they'll have an idea what to expect. It's one thing to see and another to be there in person seeing the grounds wasting away.

The time Rachel, Mother and I had gone through, we stopped at our old apt building, Rachel and I went inside. It was an overwhelming feeling to see absolutly not a thing had changed. Not the color on the walls, not the screens on the windows, not the flooring tiles.

As I showed Rachel around, explaining how the furniture was situated, where My Dad, my new husband and I stood in the back yard on our wedding day, as someone took a picture of us, where Aunt Tillie lived across the hall. Where Grandpa Hernandez worked in the dining room when at the height of enrollment 2000 students were fed three times a day. Where Aunt Tillie worked at the power plant where her first office was, then moving into the main office.

The student union where mother kept "the store" on campus making sure all the essentials and then some, that were needed were available. When old enough, I went to work with her and became part of the "canteen" crew. Campus students were employed giving them their first chance to see how commerce worked outside the campus without leaving the safety of the grounds.

My life flashed before my eyes.

We always try to remember the good and forget the bad and thats what I gave to my oldest daughter. The good times I had growing up on the grounds. It was very very healing to go back and visit my old room, my closet, my home as I knew it in childhood from the 5th grade untill graduation from Newkirk High School. "Our tour" embraced me. It reminded me where I came from, grounded my soul and reminded me of who I really am. Often times we need to get in touch with that part of our lives in order to move ahead in life. So many happy times and chosing not to remember the other. It made everything in the present here and now ok.

As we drove what seemed to be the longest mile back to the highway, once the first tear fell, a flood came after and there was no way I could stop them. Somehow my daughter knew what I was feeling as she stopped the car, wrapped her arms around me and I buried my face into her shoulder. For once I let myself be nurtured, something adults often don't have the chance or are afraid to let go.

I fell apart.

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