Growing up in north Portales, the barrio of my childhood, has created rich memories of a multicultural upbringing which has taken me to both sides of the tracks and back.
Every city has its barrio. In Albuquerque, it’s the infamous Barelas, now home to the impressive Hispanic Cultural Arts Center.
Like any barrio, there was poverty, but also pride in one’s Mexican and American cultures. People spoke, and still do, in a Spanglish, mixing the best of both worlds.
North Portales was also home to the historic W.E. Lindsey Elementary School, the site of the landmark Serna vs. Portales Board of Education case, which prompted the beginning of bilingual education. Of course, the school was rebuilt and is now called Lindsey-Steiner.
When I went to Lindsey, from first to fifth grades, the school was about 95 percent Hispanic, until Portales Schools were desegregated in 1978, for the better, I must add. Nevertheless, I miss the Lindsey fiestas we would have.
Over the years, I would see stray cars, looking lost, driving through north Portales, usually looking for the old La Hacienda restaurant.
I loved north Portales. For my sisters and I, when we moved across town to South Globe in junior high, we cried for our barrio. My parents have been back in north Portales since 1985.