Archives for category: Hobbs

When we first moved to Hobbs, New Mexico, we were in a little duplex on Sunset Circle. Our neighbor was Allen Williamson’s grandmother, I endlessly kicked a soccer ball against our brick front wall, and I discovered the joy of catching horny toads and getting sprayed with eye blood. Hobbs wasn’t really the worst, although many of us that have left like to proclaim it as such. One sunshiny day I watched as two kids swooshed past my window down the street… BIKES!

I quickly got mine from behind my rock tumbler (YES, I HAD A ROCK TUMBLER – BACK OFF ME) and pedaled to see who they were. It was Prissy Priscilla Lawson-Whitaker and her brother Bill. We quickly became friends, rode our bikes to the Town and Country every afternoon for bubble gum shaped like burgers, atomic fireballs and popsicles. I remember she had a little boom box and she would play George Michael – but like, the kind of dirty songs so we thought we were being bad (and also somehow still thought he was straight. Eighties gaydar was SUPER bad, you guys). My favorite favorite memory of Prissy was being invited for a sleep over at her house. Her mom had long pink nails and longer Virginia Slims. She rented us (on VHS) Dirty Dancing and Top Gun. Little bro Bill kept making gross noises during all the kissing scenes and when we tried to do cool dance moves, her mom show-stopped that party, got on the living room table and showed us how to shake from your toes to your head and go go dance. She was amazing. We had so much fun…it was the summer before sixth grade – the summer before all girls start feeling weirdly self conscious and before we moved and she moved and we wouldn’t see each other again until high school when everyone is battling their own teenage angst. Things like those iconic movies though, bike rides, Prissy had the coolest fashion and knew how to curl hair…how long feather earrings looked better than the kid stuff I was wearing… Prissy changed my life. She made me aware of fun, modern things, she helped me be cool and girly when I did not know how.

All of that is why when we reconnected on here and I saw her gorgeous daughters I realized she did that for them too. She’s a spitfire and I am pretty sure no one should cross her 😉 and I am so lucky to have had her in my youth.

❤ Thank you for being my friend! ‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬
(the family I knew, and beautiful Priscilla and her daughters now)

I am not speaking out of turn when I say that Hobbs, New Mexico in the nineties was filled with some of the most inspiring, loving, mind-blowing teachers that a public school system could have. I’m also not speaking out of turn when I say that if you had Mr. Sam Nichols, he was one of your favorites. Sam taught high school science. I had him for Human Anatomy and Physiology my Junior Year. He looked just like Dr. Green on ER (which also means he looks like Goose!), and was equally as endearing, as tempered, and engaging. I have to speak to the things that gripped my 16 year old brain and never left, of course – like our fruit fly DNA experiment showing how creatures evolve and how scientists can “see” DNA through gel electrophoresis, the live birth video which ensured I did not get pregnant until I was 34 (seriously, thank you Sam hahaha), the MTV experiment where we learned that the human brain retains images even when they are flashed at rapid speed- how rods and cones record and send all that stuff in there – how it can change what you think is real, the idea that deja vu may be triggered by similarity pushing your moment over an already created neuro-pathway, that in all the science and all the systems, there is something deeper. That humans start out as good little lumps of cells, and we have a million ways to be shaped and shape our own lives. Sam taught science as common sense, not as something reserved for an elite group – observe and question, test, fail, test again, hypothesize, prove, question, test….the cycle of learning that keeps us curious and discovering, keeping us the explorers that our ancestry ingrained in us. We all come from people who made it through lots and lots of stuff.

Sam went on to be a biology professor at the local college before retiring. He adopted a guard cat named Migs. He kept the title of explorer and has traveled extensively around the world seeing what makes us all tick. He has amazing stories of places and love and loss, of music (his concert T-shirt collection kicks ALL of your concert T-shirt collection’s ass), how the universe moves us all and why.

I have the very surreal and lucky honor of being Sam’s friend now. Not just former student. Not just “click like” on a photo…we are friends who share experiences and thoughts with one another. Seeing a former teacher as a person with a complete sphere of life around them is one of those cool things about “adulting.” He is a private person (and so you only get a photo of Green for reference hahaha), he is someone who deeply cares about individuals, and treats people with genuine respect and kindness.
Get back to Zermatt, Sam, keep traveling, and know that every one of your former students is a better adapted person to their world because of you.

❤ Thank you for being my friend. ‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬


What is more throw back on this ‪#‎tbt‬ than Homecoming? And what is more fun than the parades, the bands, the giant mums if you’re from the Southwest, the football game and –
the Queen?!
Everybody run. The Homecoming Queen’s Gotta Gun…
Songs have been written about that wonderful phenomenon known as Homecoming Queen. Our’s was Melissa Dooley.

I originally met Melissa when we both started at Highland Jr. High. We had several classes together over the years, and ran in different circles, and even went to NMSU together. She was always undeniably wonderful to me. Specifically she was SO encouraging… She told me I should run for Student Council (and I did, and I won). She told me to try out for cheerleader (and I didn’t …and thank god I spared myself that embarrassment)… In some weird “Tai to her Cher in Clueless” move, she BELIEVED in me -and you guys, I was an awkward mess for a large chunk of 7th-10th. I think Melissa believed in everyone. It’s no wonder she went on to become a teacher – and now the MOST amazing mom to two little cuties. She has this unwavering belief that you can be more than what you are. And she. is. HILARIOUS. Which I did not know fully until she and I traded baby and birth stories behind the scenes. Her tell-it-like-it-is approach helped me through the worst of the worst post C-section. Her sense of humor has to have played a part in her own AMAZING and very difficult pregnancies that she handled with unbelievable grace and spirit. And it for SURE played a part as she may or may not have attended NKOTB concerts as an adult….. (she totally did). She is all about family, fun, giving back, caring about those around her, and keeping it really really real. What more could you want in a Queen?  So from Hobbs Royalty to her beautiful home/husband/kids and beagle, I am so proud to call Melissa my friend.

❤  Thank you for being my friend, daydream believer, and a Homecoming Queen.  ‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬

She may kill me but here is yearbook proof – with super cutie Brandon Harper… 


and then proof that she literally has not aged a day – the Melissa 2.0 upgrade with super cutie Troy Aikman.  😀


Robin Behl​ is too big to fit into this font. She is too big to be explained. She is too big to be “summed up” in my little project. She’s a tea kettle, so much is packed into that tiny frame, heated up and bursting forth into life. I’ll just try to harness a little bit of the whistle.
We met in Hobbs. I have her prom picture she handed to me in 1994 at my graduation, – she a Sophomore who was going to miss me. We had no idea we would become lifelong friends. And then we were friends at New Mexico State. Then I went to her wedding where she was whisked away on a Mesilla Valley Fire Department engine with what became her true marriage when the first dissolved – a family of men she fought fires with, a family of men she grieved with upon losing one of her own, her family of heroes. And she became an EMT. And she saved lives and told me to stop smoking. And then she jumped in a little car named Frankie and drove all over North America. Then she stayed in a little ice hut in Greenland. She became a Physician’s Assistant. And she saved more lives, and she worked in cardiology, and she was just brought on to Columbia Med Cardiology Department in New York City.   Little Robin Behl with the magnanimous giant heart, healing hearts.
She is a nature lover. She is an adventurer. An explorer. Strength beyond her body, world-view beyond her sight.
She is the most expressive mover. She is a dancer. She is an artist. She is a human poem.
I cannot say enough about my friend Robin, because she is too much for this. And there is so much more that will need to be written and added as her fluid movement never stops.
If you are lucky enough to also have her as a friend in your life, you know.  Tiny little Robin is as big as the towering skyscrapers she dances between.  behl

❤ Thank you for being my friend.  #TheFacebookProject

Douglas Webb Doug and I met playing trumpet together as Hobbs Eagles. He became one of my closest friends – we all spent a lot of nights at the North 40, or the track, or Sonic, or the movie theater…summers in the parks on swing sets trying to smoke Swisher Sweets. We’d play Trivial Pursuit at my house, watch MST3K at Shannon’s, pick up Alma and Thera and Oscar and cruise out to look at that glowing tombstone in Monument. He drove a little sports car that I will never forget the look of but cannot think of the name! We called him Dougie, Doogie, Dougie Fresh…he was so bright and focused.
We all moved along into “adult life” and I went away to NMSU. Doug worked at the Correctional Facility in Hobbs where he met the love of his life – thankfully it was his now wife and not an inmate. 😀
I lost touch with him for a while…learned that he joined the Army, and by the time I found him on Facebook he was deep in Afghanistan with Thelma holding home base at the frozen tundra of Fort Drum. Thankfully, Doug is back home, retired from a life of defending all of us, and a true Southern Gentleman as he always has been. He came back with a solid head on his shoulders because he was born with a solid head on his shoulders, he is surrounded by strong men and women and is what anyone would want in a son (I know your family is so proud of you!). He’s the guy that kisses his mamma and takes his beautiful lady country dancing.
And even with all the guns you own, I still love you enough to put up this picture of us, on our incredibly fun road trip to the Horde Festival in 1996 – at a roadside stop in Cloudcroft. Always the one in the white hat 😉

And I’m serious…about any zombie attacks or world order shit…I’m coming back to NM- and I’ll call on you for defense initiatives while I rewrite our nation’s documents by memory.

❤ Thank you for being my friend (and making it back in one piece) #TheFacebookProject

Have you found that person yet – you know the one – from grade school that just vanished one year?  And everyone asked what ever happened to so and so?  And then you see them miraculously appear on Facebook and you say Holy Hotness Batman because they grew up to be a cowboy straight out of a Sandy Bullock/Reese Witherspoon RomCom?     NO?   Well then you didn’t go to elementary school with Stacy Shepherd, did you?!  Look at this!  stacy

Amiright ladies?

Well it turns out Ol Stacy got himself a nice little slice a heaven in the desert of Arizona (I do not know why I went full Western narration so I’ll stop).    Here is the deal.  I met Stacy in Mrs. Stewart’s 5th grade class.  We went on to spend 6th grade in Mr. Buck Walker’s class (The OG…the man the myth the legend that inspired Stacy to be the kind of guy that tips his hat and opens doors)   – this is Stacy with Mr. Walker, as he sat in my memory for the good part of 25 years –


Isn’t he a cutie?  That tie…the smile…  and…Stacy wasn’t too bad either.  😉  Every single girl had a crush on him.  He was funny, warm, inviting, and for me personally he was memorable and kind.   My hair and I had a pretty rough go of it for 6th and 7th grade.  I mean…really I was beyond awkward.  Tall, a perm that should not have happened, the fashion sense of …well no one sensible, it was the Wonder Years for me.  The Paul Wonder Years.   I still do not allow pictures from that time to be released from the vault.  Stacy carried my books for me one particularly rough day in 6th grade, because he obviously has a momma who taught him how to be decent.  He sat next to me in Mrs. Cearly’s 7th grade Life Skills class and we would joke about things, he’d fill me in on Horror films I didn’t watch, he would do his Woody Woodpecker impersonation.  He never once made me feel as dorked out as I looked (haha).  He never once treated me like I was different.  That made a big impression on me – and it was a sad sad day when we arrived after the summer to an 8th grade with no Shepherd.

Time marches on, and here we are – Stacy now a business owner for over a decade and I met him just in time for quite a life change leap.  He is a Team Roper (that means he is one of the guys on a big Quarter with cow sense fah dayyysss and he lassos and/or ties a steer), and has decided to go Pro and start a ministry along with it (I think you should call it HOLY COW but… your idea is probably better).  stacy2

He is centered, focused, traditional.  I asked him to tell me a little about his past and he said “I’ve been in love” which was like AWWWWEEE because it takes a special person to note that as a marker in their life.  Stacy is special.  I think back to him making my time on the blue marble easier, and I can see that he has honed those gifts and makes a lot of people feel that same way today.

All of life’s blessings to you, Stacy!  The universe is about to release the gate…

❤ Thank you for being my friend   #TheFacebookProject

Todd J Davis and I met the way people do when on summer break from college in the southwest –

At the Hobbs Walmart!

(said with full twang)
He was standing behind me in line, I think it was the summer of 95 or 96 and I recognized his uncanny glow of ginger-fabuloso immediately. I’d seen him walking the NMSU campus – what on Earth was he doing at the Hobbs Walmart? Well, I asked him, he answered (he was from Lovington, and Lovington people, when in need of doing something, go to the Hobbs Walmart…or the Hobbs movie theater.)
We became fast friends. Todd is an instantly likable and sweet soul. He is dashing, SUPAH BUFF (he works out, like hard you guys), and I do not think he has been sans beard or some play on facial hair since I met him (remember your jet black hair?! You were so cool, Todd!!! You are so cool Todd!)

Todd went on to work for Disney (if I remember you first went to cruise ships and then settled in Orlando!) which is perfect because if there is a magical kingdom it is the hilarity and mind of Mr. Davis. He documented a trip home to Lea County once and I cry-laughed at his church selfies – his dinosaur cowboy museum breakdown… I also cry laughed at his on point facial photo-shopping into every horror movie ever for the month of October.

Todd and I haven’t seen each other since the 90’s, and I stalk him on Facebook when I need a lift to my day.
He has a little boxer girl furbaby, a brightly painted killa home, his hair stands tall, red and proud, and his eyes smile even when his mouth doesn’t. I’m super happy to know you, I’m super happy we met at that there Walmart, and I’m super happy to see you so happy in your life. SO MANY HAPPYS, I’m out!
Love hugs and all the goods!

❤ Thank you for being my friend! ‪#‎TheFacebookProject‬


I moved from the tough streets of Brockton, MA to the lunar surface of the moon in the summer of 1985.  By surface of the moon, I mean our family moved to Hobbs, New Mexico.  Hobbs is a little oil town on the West Texas/NM border, and they are so torn as to state loyalty that they simply call themselves Hobbs, ‘Merica.    Really.

My 10 years had taught me a lot about bike riding, holidays, Barbies, and roller skates, but very little in the way of how to deal with crippling outsider loneliness. Mrs. Walthall, my fourth grade teacher, with deep red lipstick that bled into the wrinkles just a touch, and a love for the Carpenters (she played their records every Friday for us) still had us bow our heads in prayer at the beginning of class.   I came from a giant brick school built in the 1800s (before New Mexico was even a state), to a single story sprawling/built for tornadoes/recess on a lawn full of goatheads instead of concrete elementary school with people who spoke in full Texan.   I couldn’t understand anyone, literally, and when boys sent me little check yes or no love notes, well-meaning Walthall stood in front of the entire class and said “BOYS, do not ask Laura to be your girlfriend, you are embarrassing her!” and my god if that woman’s words didn’t stick with me through high school.

My social life was over.  It was a sham.  There was nothing that would save me.  So I sat during recess every day (it felt like months…I will guess possibly a week) on an adobe planter and cried my little eyes out.  And then it happened.  One day, like a bad Brady Bunch, a soccer ball came whizzing directly at me.  I caught it – threw it back – and my soon to be new friend Denise Ramirez said “HEY!  Why don’t you come play with us.”

I had just been picked.  To play.   ALL the reindeer games.  And so began my initiation into full badassery.  I became a soccer player.

It began slowly enough – getting to stand in the goalie box with Matt Matthews or Chad Evans, who coached me like no other… no one that came to play was “just a girl”…we were fierce competitors…we were a team… we were the Walthall Wolverines, that field was Sparta, you were going down.  For real.

I would go home every night and kick my soccer ball against the front of our brick house…thwack, thud…thwack, thud… over and over until I found just the right spot on my foot.  I remember one winter, it snowed – the field was fresh, the ball sluggish in the air.  One of the really good guys from the other team (Ms. Isabelle’s class – formidable, hungry) was tearing towards me, the ball in tight, controlled, swift movements.  He thought he’d fake me out.  I dove – butt to the ground, sliding right through his legs, soccer ball in my possession and up into a full run down, pass – score.  I felt like a god that day.   Soccer – sports, athleticism, competition – made me feel alive.  It gave me a closeness to my teammates, my now friends.  All those years ago, those little kids on the playground followed the rule by which we really all should live.  It didn’t matter if I was new, a girl, a Yankee (gasp), it was “can you play?”  …. and if not…”let us see where you fit, let us show you.”    Those kids are beloved pastors today, rodeo-ers, trainers, sales and marketing staff, rock stars, government employees, government protesters.  Those kids changed my self image in a very positive way and I owe them thanks for that.  The Walthall Wolverines had an end of the year bash at Mrs. Walthall’s home.  We watched Neverending Story and ate orange creamsicle pops and hot dogs.  I held Matt Matthew’s hand (my first ever boy hand hold you guys!  BIG deal.  😉  )  Walthall didn’t even tell him to stop.  😀

Those days on the elementary moonscape soccer field are why today I feel that sports for women gives you a very specific equality and edge in a world essentially run by men.  Ladies – get in there, play, dive in the mud and hold your own.  You’ll find you have so much more inside and you’ll seek and find that in others.

And sometimes you just need to kick a few balls around to get your mojo back.

Go USA this weekend in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015!

❤  Thank you ALL for being my very first New Mexican friends, and picking me for your team.  #TheFacebookProject

pics to come.  I promise.

Today is Mrs. Wieser’s birthday.  As such I have decided to “facebook project” her.  She is one of two English teachers that insisted I write write write!  Publish a book!  Write your stories!   Well, I’ve tried and my stories are …. meh… so I’m writing all of YOUR stories.  😀

Mrs. Wieser was our English Advanced Placement teacher at Hobbs High School.  We were the pilot program of the class that would be allowed to take an AP test at the end that could count as college credit and opt you out of intro courses when you went on to a university.  She called us her “AP Babies” and we all just adored her.  Little ducklings following her dutifully down the Mississippi in Huckleberry Finn.  Having the best AND worst of times reading Tale of Two Cities.  That class- there were about 8 of us – was one of the finest learning experiences of my young career as a student.  I was seated next to the cream of the crop at our school.  Our future Valedictorian, the driven type A’s…  I was a driven type B if there can be such a thing, and Mrs. Wieser understood and embraced that.  She knew I didn’t have Harvard in my sights, but she knew I had talent, and she enjoyed reading my work.  OHHH I JUST Love love love that she would mark little red pen comments on EVERY page.  She read every page, every sentence.  There was never just a check mark without explanation.  She dove into your brain and sat in the back seat to see where you would drive her.  She used to say “All studies are gymnastics for the mind.”   She was teaching us how to learn.  She taught us how to read something and dig into why an author would FEEL that way.  Why an author would write that sentence in a time he or she was living.

She had a way of speaking to us, each word had meaning and place.  She was SO. Elegant.  So very southern and precise, but there was such a mischief in there.  One of my favorite things about social media, is the sudden expansion of your social knowledge of someone from the role they played in your life.  Mrs. Wieser was our teacher.  I, at the age of 16, didn’t think of her as a wife, a mother, someone with a past and a future – and to see her now, on Facebook, with her kids posting these gems of photos from her days as a young woman, kissing her husband, mugging for the camera, making funny faces…what joy.  What joy Mrs. Wieser brings to her family, and that translated so well into her work.  Her former students cannot help but reflect and return to her and let her know it was she who gave them that spark to write, or read, or care.   She who made us just that much better in the world.

❤ Thank you, Mrs. Wieser, my AP Momma, my elegant inspiration, my friend.


(this photo is captioned as her last day of student teaching at Heizer, a few fashion choices before I met her in the fall of 1992)