Virden, New Mexico

Virden, New Mexico is a magical place, with a raw beauty, precious family, and so many memories. My grandpa owned a farm there, so many of the memories revolve around the cotton and other crops he grew there, and that his son and grandsons continue to grow.

I wrote this poem when I was in the 8th grade for a poetry unit. My teacher submitted it to the district contest and I won for my grade level. But more important than that is what this town means to me, as both a kid (when I wrote this) and an adult.

As a kid, it was a fun place to visit and get together with my mom’s family. We had cookouts and tractor rides and scared ourselves by going into the old deserted elementary school. It was an adventure for a kid raised in the city.

As an adult, I came to realize that farm life is hard work and that the parties we had when my family came to visit were special occasions. I place a higher value now on the heritage that I mentioned in the poem, although I understood a lot about it when I was in 8th grade. The house has long since been sold out of the family. My grandfather will soon join my grandmother and their baby girl in the cemetery. The great grandsons of the original owner of the farm (my grandfather’s father) are now farming the land. Family ties remain strong to both the land and the heritage left by the founders of Virden.

Virden, New Mexico

A small town full of family,

Full of dust and rusty pick-ups.

Full of ancient houses built by a pioneer’s hand

And full of priceless memories.

 

Memories of my grandfather’s house

Where the boards in the dark hall go c-r-reak,

c-r-reak.

With the white picket fence around the play area

And the swings that have swung for many a year.

 

Memories of roaming the open desert hills

And finding “forts” owned only by us.

Going to the cemetery where lay Baby Elizabeth

and Grandma Jones.

Going to the old school to explore

And most of all talking forever to the

unquenchable

Mrs. Stamper.

 

Yes, Virden is a small town full of family,

Full of dust and rusty pickups,

Full of ugly old sheds.

It is my heritage.

copyright Lori Lyn Price

Photo of 4 of my 5 sisters in front of the old Virden school (closed when my mom was in elementary school, but a favorite place to visit because it is forbidden)

sisters and virden school

Farm photos courtesy of Rustin and Annie Jones

6 thoughts on “Virden, New Mexico

  1. This was an interesting way showcase your poem. It is a very good poem for an 8th grader, and makes the reader feel that they are right there in Virden with you. But to have the poem by an 8th grader with the perspective of an adult allows us to see both perspectives.

  2. I enjoyed your award-winning poem, particularly the “dust and rusty pickup trucks.” Have you written about “the unquenchable Mrs. Stamper”? I’d be interested in learning more about her!

    1. I think I was using some artistic flair for that phrase about Mrs. Stamper. What I remember is that she had some dogs that scared us to death, and could be a bit crusty sometimes. But she also had a nice side to her. She was one of the characters in town that was not related to us but was an important part of our Virden experience. The town itself was only about 4 or 5 blocks square, and we would always spend a lot of time walking around the town when we visited.

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