Palabras Pintorescas: Saluting Rogers’ book

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By Editha Bartley

The nearest forest fires so near to our watersheds were of great concern to those of us who live in these mountains. The smoke alone caused us to spend a lot of time watching for flying embers that could ignite a fire anywhere there is dry grass. There is lots of that everywhere now. May the rains come now.
My last column, “Palabras Pintorescas (word pictures) was devoted to a review of the brand new book by Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, “Learning Las Vegas,” that just hit our Tome on the Range bookstore.
It is such an incredible book in so many ways. It deserves yet another “shout out” as I now have read so much more of it. The interviews with all 65 of us “locals” were candid when we were recorded, right here and  in our homes and businesses. Yes, that interview style has been done many times before, but often what one says and what is edited and printed are two different things.
I heard my doctor father say to reporters (more than once) “don’t put words into my mouth.” He was a huge leader in the fight against socialized medicine in the 1950s and the press hounded him at times.
Rogers has managed to record our colorful history in a very concise and readable text. This should please every young student who needs to do a report on Las Vegas. We all know both the good and the bad about our town, most of it carried in both newspaper or radio and TV spots.
Many of her interviews bring out the real and true feelings about our town by those of us who have experienced them, yet probably didn’t talk about them so openly. I salute reporting that is factual, and I recommend that anyone contemplating moving to Las Vegas to read this book first. Yes, you will discover brickbats and bouquets here, but the bouquets far out reach the brickbats, I might add.
I hope our library has a copy of this book by now, and I also hope both high school libraries will soon get a copy.
I enjoyed listening to Betsy Rogers and Jesus Lopez on KFUN recently as well. They discussed the importance of religion, family and politics, the three components of the cement that binds the town together. They talked about home being so important as a part of place. This book brings that out time and again in the varied interviews.
Yes, it is obvious that those of us interviewed by her liked her and trusted her. This paints a very real picture of this town through the voices of both the young and old.
You can meet Rogers at Tome on the Range, then at CCHP next Saturday, June 29. She will visit with us about the book and sign copies as well. I also know there are dozens of other yet-to-be-told stories out there, and I hope some of our young readers and writers will take this project.
You write and we’ll read, kids!

Editha Bartley lives in Gascon in Mora County. She may be reached at 454-0563.