Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Small World


Tuesday, April 21, 2015


A vintage picture was posted to the “Alamo Senior High Friends” Facebook group by Deb Engel which showed the old “Happy Booker” building on 10th Street, which used to be across the street from what used to be “Yucca Newsstand”.  The old Happy Booker building was torn down to make way for the “Alamogordo Founders Park”.  I only knew within the last decade that the artist of the Founders Park was Ernie-Lee Miller.  Ernie-Lee’s daughter, Tonya (Miller) Williamson, and my Dad used to work out at Ratscat, a division of Dynalectron.  Tonya’s husband, Rick, is the contractor who built the housing subdivision, Alamo Heights, where I currently live.  Rick was only about 25 years old when he and Tonya lived across the street from me, in the first house in our neighborhood.  Our house, the 2nd house in the neighborhood, was just a slab of concrete with the framing laying on it when Rick and Tonya got settled in their new house.  It just happens that the street I live on, McDonnell Drive, is connected to “Holloman Boulevard” to the Northeast and “Martin Boulevard” to the Southwest.

I had the privilege of being friends with Terry Clarke, the late proprietor of the “Happy Booker”, and his girlfriend, Maria Divet.  Maria’s daughter, Maria (Divet) Wagner, was called “Little Maria” by Terry and Maria.  My friend Russ and I used to go to “Gigi’s Pizza” regularly to eat at the buffet with Terry and Maria.  Now, Terry, Maria, and even the proprietor of Gigi’s, Willie Gower, have passed on.  Terry wasn’t a “dirty man” as some might think for owning his adult book/adult video store.  Terry told me that he was in the right place at the right time when a friend was selling his business, and Terry was financially able to buy his friend out, so he did.  Terry was also a news broadcaster for radio station KALG, Alamogordo.  I thought that with those call letters, that station would have been perfect for my dad, Al Goddard, if my dad had been in the radio broadcasting business.  As it was, my dad was an Extra Class Ham Radio Operator who received his license in 1937, during his junior year of High School at North Denver High School.  Terry was also a founding member of the Otero County Crime Stoppers program.  Here’s a link to a letter (dated June 1, 1959) Terry sent to Edward J. Ruppelt (see Ruppelt’s bio on “Wikipedia”)… http://www.nicap.org/docs/571104orogrande_letter.htm regarding a local UFO sighting.

Happy 50th Birthday today (April 21, 2015) to a “Todd McCracken” living in Texas.  I found this Todd McCracken listed as a friend of a Leslie Ewell on Facebook.  Leslie’s wife, Duanna Bryson Ewell, liked a picture of a “MACE missile” posted by Scott Christie, to the “Alamo Senior High Friends” Facebook group.

The name “Todd McCracken” brought back memories of my living at 1812 Crescent Drive in Alamogordo.  My family and I moved to Crescent Drive in the summer of 1976.  The McCracken family lived across the street from us.  Todd was a classmate of mine and the 1979 Chaparral Junior High yearbook page showing Todd is posted separately.  Todd has an older brother Rick. Members of the McCracken family were Pioneers in this area, including Cloudcroft and Timberon. Todd’s grandfather, Manson Wright McCracken, even worked with another local area Pioneer, Buster Lane.  My classmate Todd McCracken is now the president of the NSBA, the “National Small Business Association”.  Here’s a link to a page showing Todd talking with President Obama… http://smallbizbeat.smc.org/business-calendar/nsba-president-todd-mccracken-carries-small-business-message-white-house/ .  My classmate Todd McCracken is not the Todd McCracken from Texas.  My classmate Todd currently resides in Virginia.

The Norton family lived next door to us at 1814 Crescent.  The Ford family (including Michael and his sister Michelle, if I am remembering their names correctly) lived a few houses down to the South of us (on the same side of the street), as did the Severson family.  Kids in the neighborhood used to ride bicycles in the empty field which is now occupied by houses on Crescent from 15th Street to 18th Street.  A few doors to the North of us on the same side of the street lived the McGeeHee family, including daughter Vivian, whose picture is posted separately from this letter.  Around the bend on Crescent where the street runs to the West, the Sheahan family lived (on the North side of the street), with their son Steve, another classmate of mine.  I sent my condolences to Melissa Zaleski (her Facebook name), on the recent (February 2015) and sudden death of her brother Luther in a pedestrian accident.  I knew it was “Missy” when I found her pic on Facebook, just by seeing her Auburn hair.  Her brother Henry and I used to rock hunt and hike in the area just East of Scenic Drive at 18th Street, which was a big desert.  Another school classmate, Michael Yannacone and his younger brother “Tigger”, used to live on the Northeast corner of 18th Street and Scenic.  The Collins family lived next door to the Yannacones.  John Collins is a little older than me and has a younger brother, Leslie.  Their mother might be the “Mrs. Collins” pictured with a very young Vivian McGeeHee.  On the Northwest corner of 18th Street and Scenic lived my Elementary School girlfriend, Brenda Bazel, “B.B” as I called her, and her family.  Her father was a local contractor named True “Bob” Bazel.  I couldn’t help but notice on an obituary for Bob Bazel I found on the Internet, that Bob and his wife were married on October 20th.  As most people who have been following my Family History, the date “October 20” is significant in three ways… 1) October 20, 1835 (the date my great great grandmother, Mary Ann Pace, was born)… 2) October 20, 1850 (the date when Mary Ann’s family arrived with other families in the area and founded the town which would be named “Payson, Utah”, after her father, James Pace… and 3) the date my next oldest brother, Tom Goddard, was born.  Brenda is now “Brenda Hampel” on Facebook.   I met Brenda one day while I was squatting down in the alley behind Crescent Drive, just a few feet from 18th Street.  I was collecting ants (at an anthill) for my horny toads (horned lizards) and she was bringing out the trash to put it in the dumpster.

Leslie Ewell might even be a distant cousin of mine.  My “Scott” family is descended from Henry Ewell, whose property is supposedly the property on which the “Old Oaken Bucket” well was located.  Henry’s wife, Sarah (Annable) Ewell, was the “Heroine” of the Indian Attack on Scituate, Massachusetts in 1676.  As the story goes, Sarah noticed some Indians approaching her house and left in a hurry, giving alarm to the nearby garrison, where she took shelter.  In her hasty abandonment of her house, she left her grandson, John Northey, lying in his cradle.  The Indians came in to the house and only took her bread out of her oven, then left.  Sarah returned to her house later to find her grandson still sleeping in his cradle, safe and sound.  The Indians returned later that day to burn the house down. See “Wikipedia” for reference to the “Old Oaken Bucket” poem and its author, Samuel Woodworth, whose step-mother, Betty Northey, was a descendant of John Northey.

Next Post… I will mention two “Goddard” family lines, which I have found to be unrelated, and the New Mexico history of my Goddard family.  Also in my next post I will mention “KRWG”, call letters for a Las Cruces, New Mexico-based TV and FM radio station, named for “Ralph Willis Goddard”.

              … My nephew Thomas Goddard’s fondness for the Chevrolet brand of vehicles, and Family History relating to William Durant, Co-Founder of Chevrolet Motors, along with partner, Louis-Joseph Chevrolet.