Sunday, March 6, 2011

The 11th Ward - The Past Comes Alive

Ward Campout, August 1981 (near Cuba, NM)
Joe Regulator and the Little Factories, August 1981
Doing the "Time Warp"
Ken Mantlo singing "Planet Claire"; Tracy Carroll on bass
Me playing guitar with Morris Carrillo, Patty McGraw on the right
Danielle Aleman singing "Wedding Bell Blues," April 1983
Out with the girls, ca. 1982
Dancing with Tommy Gallegos
Man, I love the Internet!  Mark Alford, a fellow I knew in the old Albuquerque 11th [singles] Ward, started a Facebook group for 11th Ward alumni.  Quite a few of the "members" are people I didn't know -- or at least not well -- inasmuch as the ward started several years before I got there and lasted several more years after I left. However, once people started scanning and uploading old photos they had from 11th Ward activities in the early 1980s, miracles happened.  Events that I thought were lost to the tides of time -- see my posts from a couple of years ago about the 11th Ward -- washed back ashore through photos that I didn't know existed.  The Facebook group formed for purposes of a reunion dinner, to take place at the Quarters restaurant (on Wyoming Blvd.) here in town this Saturday.  I won't be around to attend the reunion, but the pictures I've posted above are a gift that I couldn't have anticipated.

The top photo is from the ward campout in August 1981, which was at a campground in the forest east of Cuba, NM.  (I'm standing right of center in the overalls and the blue-white-and-red sweater.)  The second, third, and fourth photos are from the ward "gong" show that same summer and document the one-and-only public performance of Joe Regulator and the Little Factories, the "punk" group that my buddies and I formed.  (I'm in white, playing my old Gibson SG; Ken Mantlo is in the tux and is playing my old National Telecaster copy; Tracy Carroll is playing bass and wearing the red "pig" mask [and his dad's "throw-up" sport coat]; Greg Acton is playing drums; Dickerson Watkins and Chuck Stewart are singing in a couple of the shots; and Morris Carrillo played piano/guitar.)  It's seems odd that, at the time, the Boyd K. Packer reference was pretty obscure -- if perfectly suited to our purposes! -- and no one seemed to think much of it; however, whenever I mention it to someone now, they usually act like I'm guilty of blasphemy.  (Personally, I think the comparison of a pubescent boy's private parts to a "little factory" -- one that must be guarded against "overproduction" -- is one of the worst metaphors in the history of the English language and thus merits ridicule.)

The fifth photo shows Morris Carrillo and me playing guitars at an activity -- probably not the ward campout -- in the summer of 1981.  The sixth photo shows Danielle Aleman (and backup singers Doug Porter, Joyce Hodshire, and Pam Aguilar) performing "Wedding Bell Blues" at the Haines Street chapel for her long-time boyfriend Jeff Jolley.  (Lee Ann Morrell played piano -- and I the guitar -- off camera to the right.)  The sixth photo shows the group of us guys who dressed in drag, probably in the summer of 1982, for a "nerd" dance at the Institute building near the UNM campus.  (Left to right: me, Ron Wiser [now the president of the Roswell, NM stake!], Bob Lenberg, Dickerson Watkins, and Tracy Carroll.)  I remember that we all rode down to the dance in the same car; I kept thinking, "Man, I hope we don't get pulled over!"  The last photo, obviously from the same event, shows me dancing with Tommy Gallegos, one-time BYU yell leader; judging from my expression -- which, by the way, was affected for the camera -- I was having fun!

Looking back from the perspective of going on thirty years, I marvel at what good times those were.  If only I hadn't been such a self-absorbed jerk....

[Update 3/17/11: I've found the experience of posting messages on Facebook to other 11th Ward alumni to be interesting and somewhat dismaying.  I think it came down to this: one, when it comes to writing, I'm significantly more prolific -- loquacious, even -- than almost everyone I know; and, two, despite the fact that I didn't start the FB group or seek out people to add to it, I felt a greater draw to the group, and to our common past as members of the singles ward, than did almost everyone else.  I think more than a few people interpreted my comments and attempts to spark discussions on FB as (a) self-centered efforts to draw attention to myself, and (b) being indicative of an unseemly tendency on my part to live in the past (which in turn might suggest dissatisfaction with the present).  In addition, I'm apparently not much less irreverent than I was thirty years ago, whereas some of my erstwhile friends obviously regard themselves as changed, totally ignoring the fact that they were once even more irreverent than I.  Well, I can't deny that I'm more self-focused than is healthy, or that I have a few regrets about both my past and how my life has turned out, or that my sense of humor is still pretty crude; however, the truth remains that most 11th Warders were, and are, pretty guarded and superficial about their feelings -- not to mention the fact that some also lack self-awareness and have become unbearable scolds -- despite their professed affinity for each other.  As has generally always been the case concerning other church members and me, I have noticeably more affinity for them than they do for me. Maybe it was always thus; in any case, I now face the world a little wiser.]

[Update 7/26/11: Mark Alford posted the group shot of 11th Ward members that I've inserted below, which is difficult to date precisely, although there are a few clues.  One, Sue A______ appears in the photo; I'm pretty sure she didn't return from her church mission until the early part of summer 1982, so the photo couldn't have been taken before then.  Two, Phill Auth (who left on a church mission in January 1983) and Jacque Gallion (who married Jeff Rasmussen, and thus left the ward, also in January 1983) likewise are in the photo; therefore, it couldn't have been taken later than December 1982.  Three, the overcoats, dead grass, and what appears to be snow in the mountains in the background fix the time of year as most likely being from November to March.  Putting all this together suggests that the photo was taken sometime in November-December 1982, although I naturally wonder where Tracy Carroll, Ken Mantlo, and I were, not to be included in this group.  At any rate, it's a great picture and includes many of the people whom I regarded as the "core" of the ward (from left to right, more or less): Pam Aguilar, Jeff Jolley, Jeanelle Carlisle, Sue A_____, Bill Carr, Joyce Hodshire, Craig Mortensen, Kathy Katzenberger, Owen Laurion, Erick Brown, Ron Wiser, Carol Jones, Dan Raney, Dickerson Watkins, Phill Auth, Bart Norton, Jacque Gallion, Bob Lenberg, Kathleen Raney, Doug Wallace, Bob Henson, Charlene Alderson, Tommy Gallegos, Cheri Owens, Cathie Thomas, and Jamie Thomas (Cathie's adopted son).]
Albuquerque 11th Ward members, ca. late 1982
[Update 11/25/11: Here are two photos, taken by me on 4/1/11, of the old 11th Ward meetinghouse, which started life as the LDS seminary building for the Albuquerque Indian School (AIS).  I'm not sure when AIS ceased operations, but the seminary building apparently stopped functioning, as such, some years before the school itself closed.  Obviously the church then made other use of it for some years -- it was well-suited to the singles ward (apart from the rather "ghetto" location) -- before selling it.  It currently has no occupant and looks pretty run-down.]
Old 11th Ward Meetinghouse, Apr. 2011
9th St. and Cutler Ave. NW
Shawna M, ca. 1984
Sue A, ca. 1980