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Recalling A few bygone days of Roswell

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Parade for Cotton Carnival, Battery A. (Photo courtesy of the Historical Society for Southeastern New Mexico)

Following are some news and notes from publications of bygone days in Roswell. I thought it would be fun to take a look back.

SALVO Magazine was a base publication for the enlisted men at Roswell Army Flying School (Later Walker Air Force Base Sac Wing). This was a somewhat lighthearted little magazine with news and notes, stories and jokes. Following is an article taken from Vol. 1, No. 26, dated Dec. 18, 1942.

G.I. Jim Meets Defeat in PX

American Army chow is the best of any outfit in the world, they tell you, and all you’ve got to do to appreciate it is get stuck on a place like Bataan, with orders to do your duty to your country, on horse meat!

The place where you least appreciate Army chow is in the mess hall after four weeks of K.P. Four weeks is all the longer G.I. Jim was on KP. They didn’t have much use for him after he ran his left hand through the coffee grinder by mistake.

Jim was well in no time, but what he figured would do him the most good right now was some real old-fashioned Texas home-cookin’. ‘Course, he couldn’t have any of that just now, but anything non-G.I. sure would be welcome.

Then one day a sergeant happened to be talkin’ to Jim and the sergeant said to him, “Why private,” he sez, “Why don’t you go over to the PX and eat lunch, private? They tell me they’ve even branched out now and make complicated things like hamburgers.”

Hamburgers! That sure sounded good to Jim. Just like the county fair and before you could say “shoot Hitler” Jim was elbowing his way up to his place at the counter. Jim musta looked like somebody from home, ‘cause right off a girl says, “what’ll you have, sojer?” And Jim says, “Hamburger!” Only nobody heard him, cause two loonies, a corporal and a cadet yelled, “We was here first — I come in 30 minutes ago.”

About 20 minutes later, Jim catches her eye again and says, “Could you fix me a hamburger yet?” And she says, “Oh, was that you who ordered a hamburger? I musta gave it to somebody else, but here’s a nice egg sandwich if you want it.”

“It was me who ordered the egg sandwich!” yells a Pfc. (private first class), who had managed to break through the crowd. Jim knew the Pfc. hadn’t, but please can he have a bottle of sody pop to slake his thirst? He’s beginning to weaken. They don’t sell sody pop on this side, he’s told. But he can go to the far end of the wing on the opposite side of the building and get it.

Well, he dashes over and sees a pretty girl that reminds him of Lucy standing there. “Been waitin’ long?” he asks her. She just nods her head, too weak to talk, maybe. “Hey” Jim yells, “Give this lady a bottle of sody pop.” He gets looked at like he’s committed a crime. “We wait on soldiers first,” he’s told. Gosh, he hadn’t meant any harm. He was just tryin’ to be polite. Mama always told him …

Well, Jim takes his pop and works his way back to the hamburger side. Stops to look at all the pretty jewelry they’ve got for sale, and wonders if maybe he’ll get paid in time to send Lucy a Christmas present. How many weeks is it he’s been in the Army now? If a guy enlists in the fall, he ought to get his first paycheck by Christmas, surely.

Back at the hamburger counter, Jim finds that all the people he left are still waiting and others have come in. He looks around for the gal who took his order and is told she has another job at bigger pay.

He looks at the watch on the wrist of a bombardier who has seen his third hamburger go to the wrong guy and has passed out. Jim makes a calculation. If he hurries he can reach Mess Hall B by the time the line begins to form for evening chow. Good ol’ Army chow! That’s somethin’ to look forward to!

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For many years, Chaves County held a Cotton Carnival complete with a parade, chuckwagons and other attractions. Following is a short article about old timers coming home for the Cotton Carnival.

Pioneers Go Home — Roswell Daily Record, Oct. 11, 1930

Pioneers of the Eastern slope went home today after what they declared to be the greatest reunion they have ever enjoyed. They came to Roswell, the old cow town, yesterday, joined in the parade, ate meat and bread together around the chuckwagons at the city park and today they went home determined to come back next year.

They were unanimous in the opinion that the parade this year and all the features of the cotton and products show was the best in the history of Roswell.

The March 1, 1932, front page of the Roswell Daily Record was all about the new Montgomery Ward store, opening on the northwest corner of Second and Main streets.

Ward Store To Move In New Home Next Saturday

Montgomery-Ward & Company will be open for business in their new location at Main and Second Streets, Saturday morning of this week, J. E. McMath, local manager announced this morning.

The store will be closed on Thursday and Friday of this week in order that everything must be moved and the store may be opened and ready for business Saturday morning, Mr. McMath said.

The building at Second and Main streets, for many years the home of the former Joyce Pruitt Company, has been entirely remodeled. Fixtures and shelving was being set up in the new location today and the big job of moving will be completed by Thursday or Friday of this week.

C.L. Ettleson, of Fort Worth, district manager, will be here this week to inspect the new location and to consult with Mr. McMath on various matters in connection with the removal.

The new location is regarded as one of the most advantageous in the city and the building has been made to conform with Ward’s standards and is most attractive inside and out. There will be three front entrances and two on Second Street, the south side.

The main room is 125-feet deep and 75-feet wide. The windows are very attractive and the display will permit an attractive showing of goods. The remodeling of the building has been completed at a cost of more than $15,000.

Mr. McMath announced this morning that he looked for a decided increase of business in the new location.

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In 1906, a baseball game between the cowboys at the Chisum Ranch and the LFD Ranch made the front page.

Chisum Ranch Boys Won — Roswell Daily Record, July 23, 1906

The ball team of the Chisum Ranch played those of the LFD (Littlefield Freight Drivers) Ranch an exciting game of baseball yesterday, the former winning by a score of 24 to 7. The LFD made scores only in the first and ninth innings. In the ninth, their girlfriends came to the rescue cheering them until they made four runs. The winners now challenge the Jaffa-Prager and Company team of Roswell. H.J. Altman was the official scorekeeper yesterday. The umpire ran away before he could be identified.

Editor’s note: And that umpire is still probably running today.

Janice Dunnahoo is an archive volunteer at the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico Archives. She can be reached at 575-622-1176 or by email at jdhist4@outlook.com.