By Don McAlvy: CNJ columnist
“And what a happy Diane I am after receiving your wonderful e-mail! I was so surprised and very, very pleased. Thank you for writing. (I had written her in May of 2004 and she had written me right back).
“Well, here I sit with egg on my face after reading your story about the painting you did and receiving a $100 award at the show in Hotel Clovis.
It’s good to know that Joe Fahnert, owner of City Printing, had the painting for safe keeping. Joe, and the whole Fahnert family, was a special part of my life there in Clovis.
“The Fitzhugh’s and the Fahnert’s were close friends for all those years.
We spent every 4th of July that I can remember together. His late wife, Pearl, was very instrumental in my being adopted by mother and daddy back in 1949. In fact, the night I was born Joe and Pearl took me by car through a huge snowstorm to the hospital in Lubbock where I stayed for two weeks while waiting for Mother and Daddy to return from a trip to Cuba.
“Anyway I’m happy to know that your painting was delivered back to you by Leona, and how sweet of Joe to make that request to return it to you.
“I can’t tell you, Don, how much I enjoy your articles. It means so much to know that the old Clovis is still important enough to write about and keep alive to the newer generations. That’s how we keep Daddy alive to my eight grandchildren . . . by telling them stories of their Papa Fitz and their great-granny and using what we call ‘Papa-isms,’ funny sayings that Daddy was known for. I hear Daddy coming out of their mouths from time to time and it thrills me to know that my folks are staying with us in a special way because of our passing down stories, etc. to them.
“We both agree that Clovis was such a wonderful and different place with the Gordon Fitzhughs and the Roy Walkers and Ken McCulloughs and Red Forbes and all those wonderful old fellas.
“Well, Don, I applaud you in all your efforts to keep bringing the Clovis past to be a part of the Clovis present! I live in Northern Indiana but when I get home to Clovis I always take an afternoon and drive to all the old places where I have such wonderful memories.
“I still have all the original pictures that I think you saw and have copies of . . . Daddy’s original house that you wrote about recently. Did you know that on the cement block that’s still in front of that house, under that coating of cement that’s on the front, is the engraved name “Fitzhugh” on it. Thanks Don for writing to me. Take care. My continued support and best wishes to you on the great column you write. It’s a wonderful weekly step back in time.”
Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org