May 28, 2004
Dear Subscriber:

We just returned from Hobbs, where we attended my niece's high
school graduation ceremony. I told Amanda it seemed like last
week when I used to watch her hunt Easter eggs as a toddler. I
think she's getting a little tired of Uncle Don saying that.

They held the ceremony in the Hobbs High School Football

Hobbs may take it on chin for being a hot and dusty oil town,
but have you seen Hobbs lately? Nicely appointed avenues with
lots of greenery and an ample number of shops and restaurants
and that football stadium...putting some college stadiums to
shame. I don't know how many it seats, but I can imagine the
fear it must strike in the hearts of an opposing football team
coming in there. It reminds me of what former Texas Tech
football coach Spyke Dykes once said when he took his Red
Raiders to Columbus, Ohio and watched as 110 thousand fans
exploded when the Buckeyes took the field;

"We're gonna need more men."

The other impressive thing about the Hobbs High School
graduation ceremony was the P.A. system. The loudest I ever
heard. Mammoth speaker columns arranged every ten yards and
aimed into the stands like so many Howitzers. If your hair
wasn't combed back when you got there, it was when you left.

We threw decorum to the winds and stuffed tissue paper in our

Amanda's graduating class has about 400 students. The
Graduation March slammed into us from that monster P.A. about
50 times as the grads marched into the stadium. My brother
tapped me on the shoulder after Graduation March #25 and said
"I'll betcha I can guess what the next song will be." I
laughed. Not only because that was funny...but also because of
my brother's face. It looked all smashed like people look when
they undergo several G-forces and he also had those two sticks
of tissue coming out of his ears.

Finally the graduates were seated. The choir sang a couple of
numbers. The Valedictorian delivered his address. (More a
stand-up comedy routine. That's alright. It's hard to come up
with new material for a graduation speech. You can say, "We're
moving forward" and "Life holds its promise" only so many times
before it becomes a cliché). I think the Valedictorian was going
to attend Notre Dame next fall. Good. He wouldn't do too well
at The Improv.

Then came the handing out of the diplomas. Each of the 400
would have their names called out individually and
alphabetically. We cared relatively little about 399 of them.
We mainly wanted to see Amanda get her diploma.

For one last time as a high school student, Amanda and her
family would have to endure The Curse of the Alphabet. Being
a Vanlandingham, she would be among the last to be honored. The
principle called out the names. No one was going to accuse him
of not speaking loud enough. Every name shot from those nuclear
powered speakers with a force you could feel. I looked at my
watch and timed him. One name every 5 seconds. 12 names a
minute. This punishment was going to last around 35 minutes,
but what can you do? Every one of those 400 guys and gals
worked hard to get where they are. They deserved to be publicly

Yet I couldn't help thinking as my ears throbbed (and we were
were only up to the J's) that if this were happening in Iraq it
would probably be a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Friends
and family who had already seen their loved one cross the stage
were leaving. Rude? Maybe, but it was becoming a matter of
survival. I turned to my brother and said, "Sometimes I wish
our name was Anderson." He laughed. I don't know if he was
laughing at my joke or the Kleenex in my ears.

Finally Amanda's name was called. Seeing that beautiful young
lady move gracefully across the stage to receive her diploma
made it all worth it. As a graduation gift, we invited Amanda
and a couple of her friends to spend a few days in one of our
vacation cabins in Cloudcroft.

They're really enjoying it, but Amanda said to me this morning
"I can't get over how quiet it is up here."

"No kidding," I said.

Don Vanlandingham

Another week of lots of cloudiness but no rain.

The high was 78 this past Thursday afternoon. The low was 45
Friday morning (5-21).

For a complete and up-to-the-minute look at Cloudcroft weather,
go to Cloudcroft.com, scroll down and click on Cloudcroft, NM
Weather in the left margin. The read-out is updated every ten

Thursday Note: We have almost an inch of rain so far today.
Dear Newsletter:

Camp Mary White! I was delighted to see your announcement a
week ago . . . because I worked there two seasons and was
privileged to know both Mary White and "Daddy" White.

So, what was a guy doing at a girl scout camp? In each summer
of 1945 and 1946 I spent two months there, along with two or
three other males my age (although I was the only one to stay
the full camping session each year), chopping wood, firing the
great house kitchen stove and shower water heaters, digging
trash pits, painting anything that didn't move, starting the
Briggs & Stratton water pump at the spring to fill the tank up
on top of the hill, and driving the truck to Artesia for milk
and supplies. Sure, I was only 14 the first year, but I did
have my Texas commercial driving license!

That's not all; I learned bridge, cigarettes, and an occasional
beer in the Director's house at the head of the "left" canyon.
Fayetine Zumwalt, as I recall, ran the place for at least one
of those years. We boys lived in a screened open-front cabin a
hundred yards up the road from her place. I saw the flash of
the very first atomic bomb early one misty morning when I was
near the pump house . . . 70 miles as the crow flies from
Trinity Site.

The stable was run by Drayton Mills, a cowboy who had come to
New Mexico from who-knows-where in 1911. He taught the girls,
and me, horse-speak. Learned to hitch and drive a four-horse-
team wagon, necessary for hay and supplies when rains washed
out the only road for several days in '46.

Had dinner at the White's big house a few times, but danged if
I can remember who cooked; I know it wasn't Mary White, but
could have been an aunt.

The Bear Canyon General Store was open in those winsome days
and a trip to Mayhill was cause for anticipation.

Cloudcroft is my favorite place in the world, ever since my
father (Dr. Byron England, Assistant Superintendent at the El
Paso Public Schools) stopped with me at The Lodge in December
1943. No, I don't know where he got the rationed gasoline for
the trip up from El Paso. But I do spend a week up there every
three or four years, and my wife Julie and I will be there
this October.

John England
Rockledge, Florida
Austin High School, El Paso, class of '47
Texas A&M, Class of '51 
Sacramento Forest Service has moved the Forest conditions to
VERY HIGH, but no use restrictions have been placed on the use
of Forest lands. Those conditions are subject to change at any
time, but a Forest Service spokesman did not think there would
be any changes through the Memorial Day weekend.
We at Emerald Forest Real Estate constantly strive to live up
to our motto in listing and selling real estate of all types
and sizes. Our customers feel we are SUCCESSFUL. Bill O´Brien
the Qualifying Broker specializes in the listing and selling of
ranches, having ranched all his life. We at Emerald Forest Real
Estate want to be of service to you in any way we can, not only
taking care of your real estate needs, but also in helping you
enjoy time spent in Cloudcroft, New Mexico.

For more information, see the link to our web site on the
Cloudcroft.com Real Estate page.


In Alto.


Q - Are there mountain bikes available for rent in Cloudcroft?

A - We have been told the bike shop in Cloudcroft does not rent
bikes. The closest bike rental store is in Alamogordo.
May 29 -- Flea market and garage sale. 9am - 5pm. Cloudcroft
Elementary School parking lot. $15 booth rental. Booth rental
will benefit Cloudcroft Schools. Contact D'dre Brock, 687-3263.

May 29, 30 -- Mayfest. Cloudcroft.

May 29-30 -- Cloudcroft Art Society Show and Sale. Old Red Brick
Schoolhouse, 10am-4pm.

June 2 -- High Noon Book Club. 12pm. In the library. Bring your
lunch and join us in discussing O PIONEERS! by Willa Cather.

June 4 -- Artist reception for Brad Price. Cloudcroft Gallery &
Gifts. 5pm.

June 10 -- Cloudcroft Art Society. 5:30pm. Old Red Brick
Schoolhouse. Demonstration by local pastel artist, Linda Green,
who specializes in portraits.

June 12 -- Miss New Mexico "Show Me Your Shoe" Parade. Golf
Tournament at the Lodge Golf Course. Proceeds go to the
Scholarship Account for the Miss NM Contestants.

June 18, 19, 20 -- Western Roundup. Cloudcroft.

June 19-20 -- High Rolls Cherry Festival. 9am - 5pm each day.
Food, drink, cherry and cherry products, activities for kids,
arts/crafts vendors. (505) 682-1151

June 25-27 -- Chimney Spring Bluegrass Festival. For more
information call 505-687-3520.

July 10, 11 -- July Jamboree. Cloudcroft.

July 23-25 -- Singing in the Clouds. Gospel singing, solo's,
trio's, quartet's, and a lot of group singing by all.
(325) 691-9123.

September 19 -- Gary Johnson’s Cloudcroft Run. World’s highest
certified 10k run. For more information call 505-687-2133.

October 2, 3 -- Oktoberfest. Cloudcroft.

Cloudcroft Art Society meets the second Thursday of each month,
5:30-7pm, in the Old Red Brick School House.

Cox Canyon Volunteer Fire and Rescue is organizing an
auxiliary unit. If you would like to help support this group
of dedicated men and women, call 682-3084, 682-4664, 682-3719
or 682-3234.

Would you like to help deliver meals to the homebound around
Cloudcroft? Monday through Friday deliveries. Call the
Cloudcroft Senior Center at (505)-682-3022. For information on
other Senior Center services, see their web site, listed on the
Cloudcroft.com Links button.


Mountain Garden Club meets every third Monday of each month.
Call (505) 682-2910 for more information.

Senior Van from Timberon to Alamogordo leaves the Timberon
Lodge promptly at 8:30 every Tuesday morning.

Free Vitals Clinic. Cloudcroft Senior Citizens Center, every
Wednesday. High Rolls Senior Citizens Center, first Thursday
of each month.

For an online calendar of area events, click the Events Calendar
link in the left column of our home page:


Dear Newsletter:

The Capitan Mtns. are about 25 miles from my house, as the
crow flies. I drove to a point just across the road from the
Spencer Theater - or about ten miles from my house to where
this photo was taken.


The fire began on this side of the mountain facing the camera.
It was declared "contained" several days ago, but high winds
the past two days changed that status overnight Sat. night.
Size now exceeds 10,000 acres but luckily the other side of the
mountain is very sparsely populated. There are some second
homes likely to be destroyed.

Jack Schuller

Dear Newsletter:

On tonight's news, they tell of a ten-day-old fire on the
Lincoln that is now 23,000 acres, but, as you know, national
news media outlets are notorious for not being very specific.

In the past, you all have been great about reporting large
fires on the Lincoln. We have learned to go to your site often,
particularly Friday or Saturday, in order to read your latest

Plus, we have enjoyed going to some of the links.

Jack Carroll

Dear Newsletter:

Thanks for all the hard work on the new weather site. It's
beautiful. Would it be possible to also get a forecast for
several days in advance so we can know what to expect? 

Cloudcroft, NM

[The system does not output a forecast that we can post on the

Dear Newsletter:

The article about "Hate" was wonderful. Thank you for your
thoughtful interpretation of HOW the word should be used. 

Can hardly wait to get to Cloudcroft; shooting for the end
of May, and then all of July and August. What a great place!

Marion Fossler
Spur Landing #5

Dear Newsletter:

Excellent article on hate, if hate were to be eliminated,
what a beautiful world this would be,

Tom Allen
Hanover, Mass

Dear Newsletter:

Why don't you send your ideas on "Hate" to all the news
organizations. They may not use it, but they sure as hell need
to read it at least. Enjoy your newsletter.
Jim O'Shields
Green Valley, Az.

Dear Newsletter:

Ditto. Webster defines hate as an intense hostility usually
deriving from fear. You sure have a way with words. I hope you
are writing a book.

Austin, TX

Dear Newsletter:

I have been receiving your newsletter for a few months. I
vacationed in Cloudcroft as a child, and enjoy being taken
back there through your letters. 
Thank you for your comments about hate. Especially when it
comes to the leaders of our country and men and women in
uniform. I can't say that our leaders represent everything I
stand for, but God has placed them in positions of authority
and we need to support their decisions. Whether they are right
or wrong we should pray for them! Pray for the next election!
Pray for our soldiers! Complaining about it and "hating" them
will only make a person bitter. But prayer just might change
the situation and most of all can change the way a person sees
the rest of the world.
J. Woods
Odessa, TX

Dear Newsletter:

Thank you so much for this week’s letter talking about hate.

I recently got in an argument with someone I love dearly. He
sent me an opinion column talking about how Muslims were to
blame for this war because they were trying to force their
religion on others.

I told him that I was not impressed at all, and that Muslims
were not to blame for this war. Terrorists are to blame. He
said that was what the writer had been trying to say. (I
disagree.) I explained that regardless of intent, writing such
as that column only breeds hate and racism because it encourages
us make sweeping judgments on entire groups of people.

We cannot wholesale judge a people based on their religion or
country of origin. We can only judge individuals based on their
personal actions. What the terrorists do is wrong. They should
be stopped. But we cannot judge or hate or persecute an entire
faith or nation based on the actions of a few deranged
individuals. Both WWII and the Civil Rights movement have taught
us this.

In WWII, we thought that persecuting entire races of people was
so bad that we fought and died to stop it. I see no place for
writings that encourage us to hate now.

I hope that when my loved one reads your letter today, he will
see what I was trying to say. Thank you for saying what I could

Stephanie Hancock
Dallas, TX

Dear Newsletter:

Thanks for a great newsletter. I must confess I haven't read
all the ones I've gotten because I didn't think I had time.
From now on, reading it will be a priority.

By the way, does Cloudcroft have snow in January? We only have
a few days for a family get together - Cloudcroft is closer
than most NM locations - but everyone wants snow!

Thanks again.
Karen Chadwick,
Kilgore, TX 

[January is normally our second biggest month for snow. Our
biggest (at least in recent years) has been December. Because
Cloudcroft is so far South our snow levels are different year
after year, unlike other mountain snow play areas where ample
amounts of snow is pretty much a given every season. -- Don]

Dear Newsletter:

I recently saw an article on TV about health issues.

The testers had tested objects in people's bathrooms, and found
that people who flushed with the lid up had e-coli on their
toothbrushes. It seems that the spray of water spreads germs
all over the room. So now I put the lid down, and then flush.
It's like washing your hands, it gets to be a habit.

Eleanor Martin
El Paso

Dear Newsletter:

Here's it is Sat and I said "whoa, where is the Thurs
Newsletter?" I searched by mail box but alas and alack not
there. So I went to back issue section. Also want to say "many
thanks" for the weather site and giving the Village Council

G. Johnson 

[If you don't get an issue just re-subscribe. You cannot be in
our database more than once. We automatically delete all email
addresses to which newsletters bounce.]
Dear Newsletter:

I have read your Internet "Newsletter" for a couple years and
enjoy your stories. I especially about Gerald Thomas; he is one
of the finest persons I have ever met. Mrs Thomas also is a
most gracious lady.

The New Weather Page is Excellent I have bookmarked the page
and check it daily.

I plan to be at our cabin in Cloudcroft later this week and
knowing the weather helps.

Las Cruces, NM.

Dear Newsletter:

I just wanted to thank you for running the article on Camp
Mary White and her revitalization weekend. I am so excited to
reunite with old friends, as well as meet some new ones and
together, hopefully ensure that Camp Mary White is there to
help girls grow strong for many decades to come. I cannot tell
you how this camp and the surrounding communities have
influenced my life, as I am sure it has for many. Although I
lived in Hobbs, the Sacramento Mountains were my "home". Each
summer Mother Nature became my foster mother and Father time
was there to guide me as well. The history and the magic of the
Mountains holds a special place in my heart and always will. 

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those
citizens of Cloudcroft who put up with us every summer. I can't
imagine how I would react to a group of singing, smelly girls
entering my eating establishment, covered wagon in tow. But we
were always welcomed and the locals were always happy to listen
to our stories and tell us a few of their own. Thank you very

I hope that many of your readers will take time to make the
drive up on June 5th and enjoy the beautiful land that is Camp
Mary White and see for yourself just where those smelly girls
came from.

Lola Kelly

Dear Newsletter:

Thanks for printing the article about Camp Mary White. 

I came from Florida to be a counselor there, and had such a 
satisfying experience that I returned for a second year. 

I guess that experience of the West got into my blood, because
now I'm a Californian, 

Elizabeth Kunkee 
Manhattan Beach, California 

Dear Newsletter:

I was delighted to see you deliver the information about the
Camp Mary White Revitalization Kickoff to your subscribers
this past week.

As a returning alumni, I am very interested in turning up as
many of my former campers and staffers as possible, but am
also interested in seeing the local folks who have meant so
much to this camp for years. I hope to see many of your
readers there. They may recall seeing CMW’s covered wagon
pulled by horses with a string of hikers behind it mustering
their way up the hill, or watching us pile into the pickup
truck for a run down to Alamogordo for a movie (those were
the days). 
My family owned a cabin in Chippeway Park since the 1970’s,
which we only recently sold. Cloudcroft and the nearby area
has long had a special place in my heart, and I have
appreciated your newsletter from afar.

Thank you for your online presence – I will keep an eye on
you and Cloudcroft!
Anna (Kipgen) Sturdivant 

Dear Newsletter:

I just wanted to thank you for your article about the Grand
Revitalization Kickoff being held at Camp Mary White on June

I was raised in Alamogordo and I spent many days hiking and
camping around Cloudcroft during my early years and nothing can
match my three summers spend as a counselor at Camp Mary
White (1980-1982).

I still enjoy visiting Cloudcroft and am now looking forward to
being able to come and help re-establish CMW for future
generations. There is nothing like gazing up at the stars,
sleeping under the pines and singing camp songs for weeks at a

I have met some of the most wonderful people through CMW and am
proud to have called them my friends for all these years. I
think I have never been happier than I was when I crossed
through "her" gates took a deep cleansing breath and began
those wonderful summers free from the stresses of life.

I can hardly wait until she is ready again for a whole new crop
of girls to experience a time that will forever enrich and
enlighten their lives. I also want to thank the Cloudcroft
community for supporting Girl Scouting and Camp Mary White in
a time when we so desperately need a safe haven for all of our
young girls today to grow, thrive and become the confident,
self-reliant women of America's future.

I thank you.

Mary Frances Flores 
(former CMW counselor and member of Friends of Camp Mary White)

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Copyright © 2004 Cloudcroft Online
The Travel and Visitor's Guide to Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
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