I had my second conversation with Reggi, while walking around the 2 mile trail that goes around the golf course just behind my home. He filled me in on some gaps about his life story. He began telling me about the years from 1973-1983 when he worked for PNM Mining just North of Gallup, NM. Reggi worked on large scale machinery alone during a graveyard shift. He told me how the work could often be dangerous and so when things got hairy the only other person there sometimes to help him out was the welder.
In 1991, Reggi and his wife and two daughters moved to ABQ, NM, so his wife could attend UNM. He commuted back and forth to work while they raised their children together. Marital problems began to ensue and so as soon as his eldest daughter was out of the home, Reggi decided to get a divorce. His youngest daughter chose to live with him after some time of alternating every two weeks between both parents.
The commute to work began to get tiresome and he wanted to be available for his daughter who was attending Albuquerque High. So he quit his job and two weeks later Reggi found a job in ABQ with The Rusty Tractor. There he worked for 6 months until he was laid off, due to the company being bought out by Chevron. On that very same day, he came home and had a message from City Government ABQ (where he had a rolling application) offering him a job working with heavy machinery. Amazed by the coincidence of that I asked what he would call that, and after some time he said he did not know what to call it. I asked if he had suspected such lay offs since he had submitted an application to the city, and at first he said no, but then changed his mind since he recalled having been updating his resume and resubmitting it on various occasions.
Reggi began to describe his experience with the new job where he started out as a “grease monkey,” but quickly was promoted to repairs. Never having worked on this kind of equipment before, Reggi was surprised how quickly he picked it up. Within two years he was managing a team and accounts this to his good problem solving skills. Reggi worked there until 2006 when he retired. Years later, people were calling him to help them trouble shoot.
Shortly before departing Reggi began taking about all the men in his family, including his brothers and nephews who served in the Army, Airforce and Navy. He spoke particularly proud of one nephew who was deployed to Iraq on four different cycles. He told me how his father was not in the service, but that his uncles were. His parents were born around 1918 in Northern Arizona, in the Hopi pueblo just an hour from Flagstaff, AZ. Reggi was born in the 1940’s.
I am hoping the next time I see Reggi to hear about his early childhood years living in the pueblo.