I was a northsider. As a boy I never played on the south side, I never ventured after dark on the south side, I never contemplated walking around on the south side during the night dances. I always felt safe on the north side where the mellow people lived (except the Concha’s drama queens who weren’t many, but were enough to kick your ass if you picked on them.) During the foot races, we northsiders were not many and so we had to run three or four times against the army of southsiders. Sometimes they would re-lap us, but we never gave up. Other times our small contingency of runners would beat them out and we would squeeze our brags bone dry for a couple of days.
The Pueblo day school, built in the 1920’s, was on the south side, so I had to walk down from the north side fields across the bridge and up to the school. During the winter months it was a bit scary for me so I would hurry along to get back to my side.
My side was full of alleyways, cool spots to play and secret hiding places. It was where the plaza was and where the big buildings stood watching over us. Across the bridge was where I felt safe.
I’m sure the southsiders felt the same way when they came across to the north side for a little too long. I tried living on the south side and I failed miserably. It felt weird shoveling snow and looking at my north side snow on my walls and parapets. I felt like a ghost looking out of a body who couldn’t see with his own eyes. So I gave u p and headed back to the north side with my shovel in my hand. Now I look at all the strangeness on the south side. My days of exploration have come to an end, I belong here. Hahaha.
From that alley way out of the village to the north side corrals there was, to my left, Aunt Rose and the Concah clan – my Grandpa’s baby sister who married Joe Paul. Next door to them was Aunty T. who married a Gomez man. Next to them was another Mirabal family member from the Beaded Shirts family and next to them was the cacique Pete Concha, the Lujan’s and the Romero’s.
All those houses are now abandoned and free of family. No more laughs and stories. All of them slowly being sucked into the earth to become what they originally were – earth, dirt, mud, brick, straw and eventually earth again.
Most everyday I walk amongst this old delegation of dilapidating earthen ruins, the fading plight of the Pueblo earthen man fading along with language culture and finally his home. We are all headed into the earthen coffin. The return to strength, fear, innocence and every other step is closer to the end, as well as the beginning our destiny.
My fate was never the south side it was always the north side where I felt the warmth and sensation of safety.
However, when we choose to dance we all dance for the same thing;
white corn to the east;
blue corn to the north;
red corn to the west;
yellow corn to south;
We are all connected. When one ends the other begins…