Clines Corners is a travel center on I- 40 east of Moriarty, New Mexico.
It opened in 1934 at the intersection of what was then Route 66 and highway 85 going north to Santa Fe or highway 85 south to Roswell.
1934 was long ago, at the end of the Great American Depression, written up in history books, documented in stark black and white photos of dust whipped people with belongings piled into pickup trucks heading for California’s Garden of Eden. Some say those days are coming again, with great billowing clouds of mid west dust and stockbrokers jumping off big city balconies.
As you draw closer to the Corners, their billboards promote cheap coffee, clean restrooms, authentic Indian moccasins, salt water taffy, cheaper gas. Inside the center are trinkets, enough to buy five Manhattan’s. The postcards are catchy, the candy tempting, the restrooms clean. I don’t buy anything but linger at a rack of postcards that reminds me of Scotttreks, my digital postcard rack.
1934 is an eternity ago in a century of exponential change.
How do young feel when confronted with a generation of elders who grew up with black and white tv, rotary phones, Phillip Morris cigarettes, Schlitz beer, the Little Rascals and Post Toasties cereal? How will the young be looked upon by their children who will ride in cars that are driver less, have their moves documented by security cameras and do school on computers with a virtual teacher who never gets mad, always is prepared, and doesn’t have to deal with bad behavior or inappropriate clothes?
Even though we look amused at the past, we too are going to be in someone else’s rear view mirror.