A trip down memory lane and learning about the past

SANTA FE, NM – Anyone writing a book on the living history of Santa Fe should have been among the 165 folks at Hotel Santa Fe last Friday night for the annual benefit for St. Michael’s High School. There were several folks from the days of the Model T to tell about the old days in Santa Fe, when St. Mike’s was downtown.

This venerable institution, founded by the Lasallian Christian brothers back in 1860, has arguably produced more civic leaders than any other school in New Mexico and dozens of them were in attendance. Alumni from every decade going back 74 years exuberantly supported their alma mater in the evening’s auction and “sponsoring” call. Here, the adorable British auctioneer invited members of the audience to underwrite specific programs and necessities at the school: One could buy the fabulous new curriculum for the science department; several fellows jumped up to be first to support purchasing the new baseball cages; and so many hands shot up for the theatre department’s new play that the production is almost covered!

Sam Adelo, Santa Fe’s gentleman scholar/translator was there, at almost 92 years old and going strong, representing the class of 1940. Mr. Adelo told me that, back in the 1930s, his father intended for him to go to the New Mexico Military Academy in Roswell, but his mother said N-O.

“He has to go to St. Mike’s” she told him, and so he did.

Class of 1959 alum, Buzzy Padilla, who just retired as magistrate judge, also attended the school at its old location downtown on College Street, and Peter Komis, Class of ’79, came to the party on crutches cheerfully recovering from his shocking gunshot wounds. (His assailants are still on the loose.)

Recent graduates from this century and current students sang the praises of the excellent education they have received, the friends they’ve made, the caring teachers and the worthwhile values they absorbed in this atmosphere. St. Michael’s School is truly a jewel in Santa Fe’s crown.

Friends of Archaeology

Are you looking for a new lease on life? Exploring exciting interests with smart and interesting people? Look no further than “Friends of Archaeology.”

Here is a group of scintillating people devoted to “the study of the past” (archaeology) with a viewpoint of interpreting the information and applying the findings to life today. Membership is free when you join the Museum of New Mexico … just check the little box. Discover the past; shape the future!

Their Sunday afternoon benefit auction attracted 150 people who bid on such unusual offerings as an antique iron smelting ladle, a carved antique silver Tibetan bowl, handmade arrows and rare books. This discriminating group had very eclectic and rare things to buy. I bought a number of interesting items to give as creative Christmas presents.

I would bet anyone there that none of this group could quote you the Pantone color of the year (Radiant Orchid, 2014) or discuss the newest line of Laboutin shoes. But, if you are up to date on those things or blissfully unaware, and want to contemplate the origins of man, these are your new friends. These folks talk about the human experience: what became of the Anasazi people (they speculate that they just picked up and moved when their land gave out, and they evolved into the Pueblo people of today); 30,000- to 40,000-year-old beads, and the significance of broken shards, sharpened stones and ancient bones. The collection of ancient artifacts on display, and Chuck Hannaford of the Office of Archaeological Studies there to explain them, was absolutely fascinating!

One fun exhibit at the party eloquently demonstrated the phenomenon of strata on the planet. Bowls of earth, ashes and twigs were available for guests to sprinkle in layers in a glass-sided aquarium, then mist over with a spray water bottle. “The rain” settled the newest layers and covered up the previous ones. Somebody built a little fire pit in his dirt; the next person’s dirt, ashes and water buried it … and so on. Just so is the practice of archaeology – digging down layer under layer to discover mankind’s interests, lifestyles and accomplishments throughout time.

Human habitation in New Mexico can be proven back to 12,000 B.C. (the Clovis Culture, older than the Anasazi) and the contents of layer upon stratified layer of the civilization of man are preserved due to our dry climate conditions, where wood, bone and feathers do not decay. Hence, we in Santa Fe and throughout New Mexico live in a virtual gold mine of archaeological sites. There are currently 175,000 designated sites of archaeological interest here and speculations are that there are really more toward 1 million all told. Bored? Lonely? Somewhat unfulfilled? Sign up for a dig!

The $6,000 they expected to raise will be used to enrich the outreach program, Project Archaeology, which goes out to schools in all 33 counties of New Mexico every year.

You’ll only have to wait for December to find out the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year

… with bated breath!

Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email apm@ashleymargetson.com.

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