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The Gauntlet

What a doll!

Bassi’s dolls bring home the blue
Rick Bassi

Doll collectors are a special breed of people. They speak a special language all their own that seems foreign to the rest of us. You’ll hear them speak of “French and German bisque,” “Googlies and Just Me,” “Sleep Eyes,” and a “Number 1 or Number 3,” referring to vintage Barbie dolls.

Dolls, doll collectors, and doll experts gathered at the United Federation of Doll Clubs’ fifty-third annual convention at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in downtown Denver from July 29 through August 2. There were 1,768 attendees from all over the world. Doll aficionados flew, drove, and bused in from the fifty states, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, England, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Venezuela for the weeklong celebration. Programs, lectures, seminars, and workshops discussed everything about dolls from costuming to preservation, education, and research.

One of the main highlights of the UFDC convention is the Competitive Exhibit. Members enter dolls from their private collections into competition. This year there were 113 classes in the Antique Competition and ninety-six in the Modern Competition. The dolls ranged from antique bisque heads to vinyl and hard plastic. Dolls are judged on originality, authenticity, age and condition.

Linda Bassi attended the convention and entered sixteen dolls. She won seven blue ribbons, four reds, two whites, and two greens.

Bass, an Albuquerque native, has been collecting dolls since 1972. She deals in dolls in Bernalillo and loves helping collectors find that “special” doll.

UFDC is a nonprofit organization with the goal of becoming foremost in doll research, education, conservation, collecting, and appreciation. But most of all, doll collecting is simply fun.

 

Triangle Bar: 39 years and counting

Ty Belknap

Things are growing and changing fast in Bernalillo, but one place that has remained the same through the years is the Triangle Bar, established by Mike Gurule, now seventy -three, in 1963.

For the first couple of years, the bar was located near the present-day site of McDonald’s, but when the road was widened to a four-lane, Mike was given a thirty-day eviction notice. He decided to move the Triangle about a mile down the road to his family’s land just west of town.

The corrugated-metal landmark was built by an Albuquerque company that specialized in low-cost garages. Two one-car garages are joined by a special U-frame that supports the roof and separates the front and back of the bar, which consists of two coolers with room enough for four bar stools. Eight vinyl armchairs are arranged along the walls lined with beer cases. Mike said, “I thought they were going to make the roof an A-frame, but when I saw what they did I decided it was okay like that. We moved in and have been in business ever since.”

The Triangle is a friendly place, frequented by old-timers and longtime regulars who come in for the mostly bilingual conversation.

Mike claims that there has never been a fight, even though “we argue about things sometimes, but if somebody gets too rowdy or drinks too much, a friend just takes him home.”

Two-dollar beers are served in the bottle or can. On the rare occasion that a customer asks for a mixed drink, he is handed a can of soda and a miniature. Most of the carryout business dried up when the state closed drive-up windows in a futile gesture to curb DWIs.

In 1977, when the Small Business Association was offering low-interest loans to minorities, an architect friend of Mike’s provided plans for an ambitious expansion of the Triangle which would have brought in a bigger lounge and a restaurant.

Mike said, “A lady from the SBA laughed in my face and said that there would never be a demand for that kind of place around here. After that I just kept the place the same.”

Today the Triangle Bar, on one of the busiest stretches of highway in the state, is flanked by a host of new neighbors: restaurants, banks, golf course, casino, and gas stations.

“I know I could sell the place whenever I want, but I like to keep it going.” Mike says.

Thanks to the low overhead, Social Security, and a pension from Bernalillo Public Schools, the Triangle withstands the dusty winds of change, waiting for the next generation of Gurules to take over.


Owners of Something Else in Bernalillo, Chris DiGregory and Jean DiGregory, and Bernalillo Chamber of Commerce President Fawn Dolan enjoy marketing minute during the August Bernalillo Chamber of Commerce Mix and Mingle at Something Else. During this activity, each participant has the floor for sixty seconds to tell others about her or his business. About 25 persons attended.

 

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