JULY 2017 • 23 Spacious Live/Work Studio and Gallery in Silver City Retail space, ideal for art gallery, with large high-ceilinged studio and living area in back, 2,500 sq. ft. Historic brick building in heart of Arts District, recently renovated. $800/mo., lease. 650-302-2593
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Featuring the best independent, foreign and documentary films in the southwest!
Visit Old Mesilla, NM Were American vacations ever really as depicted in this 1960s Ford promotional photo for the Country Squire LTD? (Courtesy Photo)
PUBLISHER’S NOTEBOOK • RICHARD COLTHARP
What killed the American summer vacation?
s a reflection, it may be more myth than reality, but it goes like this. Picture a faded-tint Kodachrome print. Mom, dad, son and daughter are loading up the 1968 Ford Country Squire, full of everything needed for the big trip halfway across America to Yellowstone National Park, Disneyland or the World’s Fair. The traditional getaway family bonding experience created countless memories and filled thousands of slide photo carousels. It also created countless arguments and dope slaps (“Don’t make me come back there!”). There are still lots of families taking something vaguely resembling that classic portrait vacation, but not like back in the day. I could write a full essay on each of the following topics and the role they played in killing the traditional American summer vacation: • The interstate highway system • McDonald’s • The rise of the working mother • The death of the station wagon • Air conditioning • Video games • The Sony Walkman • The death of AM Top 40 radio • The growth of air travel • The advent of the 401K • Cruise ships • Divorce • The cell phone • Year-round youth sports • Cable television • Business travel • The fading of the World’s Fair (not one in the U.S. since 1984, New Orleans) • Crime
There are probably dozens more. I think the biggest factor, though, is simply work. We’ve all seen the studies that show how much Americans work, especially compared to folks in other countries. This old classic vacation is often remembered as two full weeks. There were even some companies who closed shop for two weeks while employees hit the road. If you’re still a working stiff like me, you might not be able to comprehend the concept of being off work for two consecutive weeks. Even if you miraculously found a way to take the time off, you’d have to coordinate with your spouse’s schedule and your children’s schedules. If you were able to pull off those additional multiple miracles, you’d still likely be taking 50 phone calls, texts and emails about work every day you were supposedly “off.” The cell phone that gives us “freedom” is just a chain that holds us back like an abused dog. Since the merger mania of the 1980s and 90s, and the Great Recession of the late 2000s, every company and every employee is supposedly “doing more with less.” The computers that were supposed to make our work “so much easier,” have just meant we all have more work to do. Junk work mail multiplied with the advent of the business fax machine, and skyrocketed with email. No matter how much we work to filter and weed our email, it continues to multiply, and too frequently clouds over the important ones. Who among us have not had critical
emails filtered, deleted or simply missed? We can’t live without our phones. How many modern vacations have included variations on these comments: “My phone is dying!” or “Oh no! I left my charger in the hotel room!” The irony is, now that we’re buried in more work than ever, we need vacations more than ever. The old weeklong and two-weeklong true getaways have been insufficiently replaced by long weekends or one-hour visits to the massage therapist. Have you noticed how many massage and spa treatment facilities have popped up the past dozen years or so? We’ve also equipped our homes with so many creature comforts it’s easy to just “staycation.” The classic American family vacation has been dying for years. Probably the last great one took place a generation ago, in 1983, when Clark Griswold took his crew in the Wagon Queen Family Truckster for the trek to Walley World in the movie “National Lampoon’s Vacation.” And we all know how that ended. Still, we need to get away somehow, some way. It’s summer. You’re in New Mexico. Make it happen. Richard Coltharp is publisher of Desert Exposure and the Las Cruces Bulletin. He can be reached at richard@ lascrucesbulletin.com, yes, even when he’s on vacation.
June 30–July 6: Their Finest In English & Hungarian w/ subtitles July 7–13: Cézanne and I In French w/ subtitles July 14–20: Paris Can Wait July 21–27: Graduation In Romanian w/ subtitles
• Antiques • Banks **NOTE: & ATMs • Books • Candy, Coffee & Snacks Thursday, July 27 1:30 matinee; no evening show July 28–Aug 3: The Hero • Clothing & Apparel • Galleries & Fine Art • Gifts, Curios **NOTE: Saturday July 29 No matinee Crafts • Furniture & Decor • Health & Personal Care 2469 Calle de Guadalupe, • Jewelry • Museums • Mesilla Pottery••www.mesillavalleyfilm.org Real Estate • Wineries • (575) 524-8287
Visit Old Mesilla, NM Mesilla Book Center • Books about the West, Mexico, horses, cowboys, Native Americans & More • Children’s books & Toys • Gifts & more
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• Antiques • Banks & ATMs • Books • Candy, Coffee & Snacks ‘Some of the best books never make the bestseller lists’ • Clothing & Apparel • Galleries & Fine2411 Art • Gifts, Curios Calle de San Albino OnCrafts the Plaza • (575) 526-6220 • Furniture & Decor • Health & Personal Care (575) 525-3100 Tue-Sat• Museums 11 am-5:30 pm • Real Estate • Wineries • Jewelry • Pottery Sun 1 pm-5 pm, Closed Mon www.therusticolivedemesilla.com
Mesilla Book Center • Books about the West, Mexico, horses, cowboys, Native Americans & More • Children’s books & Toys • Gifts & more
‘Some of the best books never make the bestseller lists’
Olive Oils Vinegars Gourmet Foods
2470 Calle de San 2411Albino Calle de San Albino On the Plaza • (575) 526-6220 (575) 524-3524 (575) 525-3100 Tue-Sat 11 am-5:30 pm Mon-Thur & Sun www.therusticolivedemesilla.com Sun 1 pm-5 pm, Closed Mon 11 am -9 pm Fri & Sat 11 am -9:30 pm
Want your business to be seen here? Call Claire at 575.680.1844 • email@example.com 2470 Calle de San Albino (575) 524-3524 Mon-Thur & Sun 11 am -9 pm Fri & Sat 11 am -9:30 pm
Want your business to be seen here? Call Claire at 575.680.1844 • firstname.lastname@example.org