My name is Bill Hudson and this is the final word from “an old jock” to the wonderful community of Los Alamos, where I have lived most of my life.
I arrived in Los Alamos in 1949, a first year teacher, just graduated from New York University. How lucky I was to find myself in this amazing town that offered me, not only a great job, but also motivated students, a beautiful setting, a diverse population, and most of all, a town that enabled me to continue to grow as a person and become the man I am today. I celebrated my 90th birthday in May.
I first taught P.E. at Mesa Elementary School, which is now UNM-Los Alamos. Later, I rotated teaching among all the elementary schools. Los Alamos High School was built in the late 40s.
When the swimming pool opened in 1951, I was offered the job of managing the pool and scheduling its use.
First, I started swimming lessons for all the elementary school classes. All the high school students swam one day a week as part of the P.E. program. From these programs came my first competitive team, consisting of three students, two boys and one girl. We made many trips down the two-lane highway to Albuquerque.
This was the beginning of the Aquatomics, a swim team that has spanned 50 years and is going strong today. The boys and girls swimming teams also became part of the Los Alamos High School athletic program in the mid-50s.
During my years as their coach, the boys won seven state championships and the girls, five. Kayaking, scuba lessons and Red Cross lifesaving were all part of our pool programs.
All of my children participated in extra-curricular activities at LAHS and were graduated from the high school.
While running up Pike’s Peak many years ago, a group of us had a conversation that spawned the Los Alamos Triathlon. We weren’t sure what all a triathlon involved and even misspelled the word on the first T-shirt! (You can see it on the quilt displayed at the Aquatic Center.)
The Los Alamos Triathlon is presently the longest continuing triathlon in the U.S.
In the 1970s, my wife Maureen began teaching figure skating and coaching a fledgling hockey team at the skating rink. She had been a professional skater in the Ice Capades and in Holiday on Ice.
In addition to athletics, I became active in other endeavors. Since the beginning teacher’s salary in the early 50s was about $2,600, it seemed a good idea to begin a credit union for teachers in Los Alamos.
As a charter member, I was fortunate to help organize this enterprise. In the beginning we could scarcely raise $300 to get it started. This year, the Los Alamos Schools Credit Union celebrated its 50th Anniversary, with assets worth nearly $16 million and more than 1,100 members.
In addition to the schools and athletics, I had major roles in the Light Opera and Little Theatre presentations, and especially enjoyed the annual Los Alamos Public Schools melodramas, in which I played either the villain or the hero. I loved to sing and participate in acrobatic dance.
I have watched and been part of Los Alamos as it grew. I have skied at both Sawyer’s Hill and Pajarito Mountain, when we only had a rope tow and T-bar.
I remember the hassle of getting clearances for visiting teams to come through “the gate” to compete with our teams. I remember when we had two shoe stores and the most wonderful bakery in the world, with everything made fresh each morning, followed by lunches to boot.
There were three grocery stores and Lou Periotti’s Soda Bar, with its famous Clowns, a five-man softball team. What a great town this was and still is!
I want to say THANK YOU, LOS ALAMOS, for being such a wonderful community, with your awareness of the importance of learning, intellectualism, the fine arts, athletics, Boy and Girl Scouts, Little League, and the County Fair. Thank you for encouraging our young horse enthusiasts. Thank you for your unending interest in children.
Being an active person in this community, being a part of its development, and being selected, along with my wonderful wife Maureen, as Living Treasures, helped me realize I have had a life well spent.
The strength of this community is in our people ─ the energy, the intelligence, and in our ability to get things done. I thank you for being the community you are. It is so wonderful to have been a part of it all.
As we say in the U.S. Marine Corps, “Semper Fi.”
Editor’s note: Bill Hudson is in hospice care and wanted to say goodbye to the community he loves.