My turn: Walks to school make good stories

Helena Rodriguez

There was always that one house on the way to school you’d avoid as a kid. For us, it was the home of A-Ri-Ti-Ti-Ti-Di, perhaps a Spanish form of Rin Tin Tin, a scary looking, elderly man who set dogs loose on us. Maybe we deserved it. I don’t know how he got the nickname. Was it earned or unfairly given?

Growing up in the 1970s, I have some good walking-to-school-in-the-snow stories to share with my grandson, Giovanni. It wasn’t miles in the snow like my grandparents, but sometimes that two blocks to W.E. Lindsey in north Portales was rough.

One school year, my cousin Mark and sister Becky and I bragged because we walked to school every day, even in snow. One day, however, Becky and Mark ran to school, leaving me behind in a trail of tears. I shouted, “Mom and Dad said to WALK to school not RUN!” Didn’t slow ’em down.

Back then, many people walked. In third grade, my friend Stella moved without saying goodbye. I saw her aunt walking passed our playground during recess and so I shouted, “Donde esta la Stella?” Translation: “Where is Stella?” Some smart alecks heard. Poor woman. She walked passed our school every day during recess and they would shout, “Donde esta la Stella?” She never answered.

Helena Rodriguez is a free-lance writer. Contact her at: