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

Opinion: Treasures lost, now treasures found


November 21, 2018

File photo

The late Gloria Wicker was a feisty hoot and much missed.

After 17 years in the same room, at the same desk, in the same chair, I cleaned last week.

Oh, I've allowed the cleaning crew to run a vacuum through a few times, and I dusted once, and Kevin Wilson wiped some stuff down that time he borrowed my office, but this was the first time since I moved in that I've actually cleaned out stuff.

To be fair, a lot of the drawers and cabinets were stuffed with things that belonged to editors before me - personnel files, resumes, interoffice memos. I filled two of our shredder machines with paper. (So don't anybody bother digging through our dumpster looking for financial reports from New Mexico Press Association, or trying to find out how much we paid lawyers to sue/threaten to sue the stuffing out of Curry County when it refused to release public documents more than once.)

Most of what I found was boring, or I didn't bother to read it because it looked boring.

But there were a few a highlights:

• Really nice letters from state Sen. Patrick Lyons (he liked an editorial) and reporters Jenna DeWitt (she said I was a "blessing to work with") and Brooke Finch (she said "(Y)ou'll always be my favorite boss.")

What? You think I keep the letters from people who hate my guts?

• Photos of my former baseball card dealer Steve Deleon (I'll bring it to you), Chamber of Commerce Director Ernie Kos wearing a construction hard hat (I'll burn it and we'll pretend it never existed) and the late former Clovis City Commissioner Gloria Wicker.

When commissioners voted themselves a pay raise a few years ago, I called Wicker and told her I was writing an editorial urging them to give that pay-raise money back to taxpayers. Her response: “You’ve got a better chance of seeing the Statue of Liberty do the hula hula than seeing me back off my vote.”

She was a hoot and I miss her.

• A chip clip and a pair of cheap sunglasses, still in the bags they came in.

• A photo of me standing in the background waiting to interview legendary Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry, who was visiting Boys Ranch in Texas.

Landry had been fired a few weeks earlier and was still pretty mad about it. Some Cowboys fans have never forgiven Jerry Jones for the way that was handled.

• A photo copy of a letter Becky Perry wrote to her 5-year-old daughter Shawnlee who went missing in Earth, Texas, in 1992.

Only one man knew it at the time, but Shawnlee had already been raped and murdered, her body left in a farmer's field where it was discovered months later.

In her grief, Becky wrote multiple letters to Shawnlee and showed them to me when I interviewed her for a story at her house. She had no place to send the letters, so she gave me one to publish in the newspaper.

"Dear Shawn," it began.

"I love you, baby. Mommy and Daddy and Sister wants and needs you to come home.

"Please tell them people to bring you home. ... Please don't be mad at me because I can't find you."

The child's killer was convicted and died in a prison hospital before the courts could carry out the death sentence he'd received from a jury.

n Finally, a four-page special section published in 1998 by the Odessa American newspaper honoring the legacy of Freedom Communications founder R.C. Hoiles.

Freedom owned the Odessa, Clovis, Portales and Tucumcari newspapers, among others, when I came here in 2001 and associates were often reminded of the standards Hoiles had set for us to uphold.

"The Freedom Way" included respect for individual freedom, self responsibility and integrity.

"Our integrity develops out of respect for ourselves and others, and it carries with it a strong sense of moral responsibility," the company proclaimed.

"We demonstrate integrity by striving to do what is right."

It took most of a week to get through all the junk accumulated these past 17 years. The treasures I found were worth it.

David Stevens is editor, and soon to be publisher, of Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

[email protected]


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