West of San Mateo Boulevard, as Central Avenue neared the University of New Mexico campus, many businesses on and near the avenue had a smarter and more prosperous look. Fancier restaurants appeared, as did the businesses─head, clothing, record, video, and copying shops; a sprawling twenty-four-hour eatery; three small art movie houses; two independent bookstores─that catered to the needs, wants, and trivialities of college youth flush with allowances. The campus along Central included an informal athletic field and grassy commons from which grew stately fir and deciduous trees that filled with a remarkable quantity of crows at dusk, and handsome and imposing buildings, including beautifully maintained pueblo-revival structures. Here on the sidewalks of Central, amid the hurrying students─men and women of all races and ethnicities burdened with textbooks, radiant with youth and idealism─there often shuffled, staggered, or squatted a mentally ill, alcoholic, or homeless person: the wretched and needy of Albuquerque knew where the tolerant, tender-hearted, and generous could be found.
Published by Philip Davis
Raised in New Jersey, Philip Jay Davis has spent 40 years in the West, 25 of them in the Southwest. He has degrees in English from Hobart College and the University of New Mexico. Now retired, he has been a factory worker, carpenter’s helper, miner, community service organizer, day-care worker, bookkeeper, cab driver, computer operator and programmer, college instructor, environmentalist, nurse aide, and licensed practical nurse. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his wife and two dogs. This is his first experience with a blog. View all posts by Philip Davis