These are a little late in coming, but this is the first chance I’ve had to post more photos from our recent trip to Tucumcari.
Every time we travel Route 66, we find something we hadn’t noticed before. This time around, without the famous “RATTLESNAKES — EXIT NOW” sign to guide me, I lost my bearings near Lela and told Ron to cross I-40 and get on the north frontage road earlier than I should have.
That mistake took us past a little sign pointing the way to a historical marker just north of the service road. While we’ve seen some cool historical markers, we’ve also seen more than our fair share of the “on-this-site-in-1805-Meriwether-Lewis-stopped-to-pee” variety, and I was sort of expecting something along those lines when we pulled onto the little side street just past the sign — so you can imagine my utter delight when we encountered this:
The former Lela High School (which at one time served elementary and junior-high students as well) was resting quietly in the weeds, providing a home for a flock of barn swallows and waiting patiently for someone to come and play on its aging but still serviceable playground equipment:
I think my favorite part was the cafeteria, which we could see through the windows. The layout and general appearance were nearly identical to that of the original cafeteria at the grade school I attended as a child, although Lela’s lunchroom was much smaller. I couldn’t get any photos (it’s hard to get a decent shot through a window, especially in dicey lighting), but the sight of that room brought back vivid memories of lunchtime at West Side School, where I once sat and listened for the better end of an hour as a classmate explained — in great detail — who all the characters were on his Dukes of Hazzard lunchbox.
We were not allowed to watch The Dukes of Hazzard at our house, as Mom was afraid the show might give me the idea that it was cool to drive like a bat out of hell and/or prance around in public dressed in trashy cutoffs and halter tops all summer … so, as you might imagine, my 6-year-old self found my classmate’s descriptions of the Duke boys’ exploits much more interesting than the peanut-butter-and-cinnamon-sugar sandwich, miniature Tupperware container of gorp, and flip-‘n’-sip Thermos of milk stashed inside my Disney’s Magic Kingdom lunchbox.
(In spite of Mom’s best efforts, I have been known, on occasion, to do things like driving like a bat out of hell while dressed like a Snap-On calendar girl. I assume no responsibility for this behavior, which is obviously entirely the fault of Scott Nicks and his badass lunchbox.)
If ever run across one of those lunchboxes in a thrift store, you know I am SO going to buy it. I’ll use it to store all those packets of cinnamon-flavored peanut butter and tiny containers of trail mix I keep in my desk for quick lunches at school.