The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Residents rally to keep aging Placitas Heights entry sign

Residents rally to keep aging Placitas Heights entry sign

The Placitas Heights sign

—Janet Shaw

Howard Sanderson was a gentle old man who used to live in Placitas Heights. He lived on Camino al Pie de la Loma before that road had a name, and he fashioned wind vanes from wood and wire and lined them along his split-rail fence. He liked making roadrunners, and there were ten or twelve of them forever running against the wind. Sometimes I’d stop and watch them whirl and Howard would put aside his old-fashioned scythe and we’d talk across the fence and the neatly trimmed lilac bushes as neighbors do.

Howard also made the Placitas Heights sign and put it at the entrance of Placitas Heights. The sign was there sometime before 1979, but nobody seems to be quite sure of the date it went in.

Howard has been dead for many years, but the Placitas Heights sign is still there. And in the way of things, as time passed, the sign sank closer to the earth. Sometimes one of my neighbors gave it a fresh lick of paint or propped it into a more attentive position.

The sign never particularly bothered me, but sometimes one or another of my more efficient friends asked me, “Why don’t you do something about that sign?”

Well, last week I did. The sign finally yielded to gravity about two weeks ago and now it reclines garlanded on a bed of leafy buffalo gourds. I was having some things taken to the dump and I thought, Maybe it’s time for the sign to go! I thought I’d check with my neighbors first, and as we were having a neighborhood meeting I seized the opportunity to ask them.

“Does anyone mind if I get that old Placitas Heights sign taken to the dump?”

They stared at me with open mouths. I thought that no one had heard.

“Does anyone mind . . .”

    “Shame on you!”

    “Why do you want to do that?”


    “I can’t believe you’d ask such a thing!”

    “I like that sign.”

    “My daughter painted that sign.”

    “We could prop it up again!”

    “We could use more barbed wire to hold it up.”

    “Or maybe an old axle.”

    “We could make a memorial to Howard.”

    “I’m putting a security cam on it. Don’t you dare touch it.”

So, it seems that the sign is here to stay, and every time I drive past and see it lying in the buffalo gourds I’ll think of Howard Sanderson, my gentle neighbor who liked to carve things out of wood.




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