The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Woody's closing sad end of a Portales era

 

November 30, 2017



H.L. “Woody” Woodward and his elegant wife, Myrtice, opened Woody’s Jewelry in Portales in 1955. Somehow they were friends of our family.

I was only a baby in 1962, the year Woody’s moved to its present location on the southeast side of the square.

We went to Portales maybe twice a month back then. We had regular stops once we got there: Our Aunt Blanche’s children’s clothing store, Odom’s Office Supply, Slaten Brothers Hardware, Skinner’s Western Wear, Grady’s Supermarket, and — if we were lucky — Woody’s Jewelry.

Allow me to immediately quash any ideas that my family members were good customers for folks selling jewelry. We weren’t. Bling were never our thing, and so why the Woodwards were always — always — so nice to us remains one of life’s mysteries.

To a small child, Woody was a mystical character — his superpower in the ever-present jeweler’s loupe he wore on his glasses as he perched on a stool behind a bench filled with mysterious tools.

Myrtice was the epitome of glamour and business, with her upswept hair and her beautiful clothes. She was queen of a kingdom of jewels in shimmering glass cases that our mother continually admonished us to NOT TOUCH.

Together, Woody and Myrtice set the gold standard (pun absolutely intended) when it came to joyful customer service — treating each of us who walked through the door as the one person they’d most hoped to see all day.

Turned out that was a Woodward family tradition.

Their son Danny (also known as “Woody”) grew up in the family business.

“I never thought I would carry on my parents’ dream,” he told me some time ago, “but due to heart illness and hearing problems, my dad decided to retire late in 1979 and the opportunity came up, so here we are today.”

When Danny married Chris in 1985, she stepped behind the counter, bringing new sparkle to the patina of a beloved business.

Now, after more than three decades of holding down their side of the square, the two are in the process of closing one of the last cornerstones of my youth.

It was a bittersweet moment to see the bright yellow “going out of business” banner go up under the Woody’s Jewelry sign this month.

Besides running a jewelry store with class, creativity, and integrity, and providing gold, silver, and diamonds for countless celebratory occasions, Danny and Chris have been mainstays for the MainStreet program, loyal advertisers in the hometown newspaper, and endless promoters of our community in a thousand ways, large and small.

The outpouring of memories on social media and the steady stream of customers at the ongoing clearance sales are evidence that this is a closing that affects many.

“The response has been heartwarming,” Chris said. “So many people have said they will miss us, but wish us well.”

It’s impossible to measure the impact that the Woodwards — both generations of them — have had on this community, but I’ll try.

It’s 24 karat.

Pure gold.

Betty Williamson is feeling nostalgic. You may reach her at: pepnm@hotmail.com

 

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