On a quick weekend trip to New Mexico, we decided to visit Los Alamos and found the Los Alamos History Museum. It had a lot of exhibits related to the obvious topics – the development of the atomic bomb and the Cold war – but the parts that most interested me were the exhibits detailing what life was like living in Los Alamos during World War II and after. Talk about living in a company town, where everything was tightly controlled and no one could ever mention anything that’d happened at work that day.
Anyway, part of the museum includes the Hans Bethe House (Hans Bethe was a German-American nuclear physicist who made important contributions to astrophysics, quantum electrodynamics and solid-state physics, and won the 1967 Nobel Prize in Physics), parts of which have been refurbished to replicate a mid-century dwelling. (Mr. Bethe’s Nobel prize is also on view.)
This kitchen, though. Right away I saw four things that were exactly like things in my mom’s kitchen – the mixer, the coffee pot on the stove, the glass coffee carafe on the counter, and the set of metal canisters. And then, later, I noticed that there was a knob missing from the stove. As much as I can recall, our stove had all its knobs, but I know for certain that the oven door on our stove didn’t stay closed and we had to wedge a chair under the handle to keep it shut. Reader(s) with a good memory may recall that my dad was a civil engineer, and may be surprised at his “solution.” He was sort of that way, though – a brilliant engineer who would complete cheap out on home repairs.
Los Alamos History Museum
Los Alamos, New Mexico
WARNING: if you see this place late one night, and decide to return the next day for a photo, DO NOT believe the directions Google maps gives you. Google maps sends you to a vacant lot on a completely different street. What’s up with that, Google maps?
But, as you can see here, I used my sense of direction* and my memory of place to find it anyway. Take that, Google maps.
near Española, New Mexico
*Really. It’s my superpower.**
**So, why was I using Google maps in the first place? Because in spite of that strong sense of direction, Española is one of those towns where I can nearly always get myself turned around. My dad was the same way, both with having that sense of direction AND with getting lost in Española. It’s genetic, I guess?
I didn’t realize what I had for those few years I lived in New Mexico; mostly the Patient Spouse and I were ready to move somewhere else – anywhere else! – from the minute we arrived. I was, clearly, an idiot for thinking the state had “nothing to offer” and “nothing to see” and “nothing to do.” Seriously, this was here all along.
Admittedly, that pile of old clothes there by the fence isn’t all that gorgeous but it does add a certain depth to the image, with the way it echos the shape of the cloud. And anyway, embrace those imperfections, right?
near Española, New Mexico
What’s happening? Yesterday my post had a half of a person in it, and today there are two whole people. Wow. Believe me, I am as surprised by this as you are.
I sat in this spot for a while, watching a steady stream of people perch on that stone ledge to have their photo taken. Most of them were in poses similar to the one here, which made me start to wonder how they all know that’s The One Right Way To Sit – is there a guidebook or something?
But these two had an added value, of a sort, with the photo-taker also striking a pose.