1 The Collector | Learning From Strangers

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The Collector

Christopher, The Collector, is my second cousin. He was raised in Martineztown and Los Lunas, New Mexico. We come from a huge and very cultural Hispanic family and out of all of my cousins, we are the closest in age. We struck up a newfound friendship when I moved back to the States in 2015.

One week, he invited me to visit him at his work. During this visit, I learned that he has an exceptional affinity for history and is well versed on the issues of economic vitality in New Mexico. In his profession, Christopher helps the development of Los Lunas businesses either by counseling them through the process of applying for marketing loans or by helping them to advertise their businesses directly. Furthermore, he is one of the hardest young workers I’ve seen in action. Shadowing him that day was exhausting because we didn’t rest once and he helped me to network with local and prominent business folk who seemed to personally know Christopher on a more personal level. This probably isn’t unusual for such a small place, but Christopher also knew a lot about these business folk. He asked them the status of something going on in their lives or about one of their relatives. I feel like these familiar relationships are very rare in today’s age.

Over a period of a few weekends visiting Los Lunas, Christopher and I took cruises around the county. He showed me historical sites and homes with interesting architecture.

He brought me to the Immaculate Conception Church located on Church Loop in Tome where we were spooked by its outdoor museum of 1800’s relics.

We dined on red chile at Teofilo’s Restaurante, drank mojitos over calamari (yes, in the desert) at the famous Luna Mansion, and made fast-food runs to the village’s only Taco Bell.

We also visited the village’s only thrift store where Christopher, a recognized shopper to the staff, would educate me on everything old and rare that we found in the confines of this rather dusty, off-white, musky and disorganized Adelante Bargain Square Thrift Store. The store is run by the Adelante Development Center, which is a nonprofit agency that provides individualized support services for over 1,000 New Mexicans with mental, physical, and developmental disabilities, as well as provides support for disabled veterans and the elderly. It’s located on old Main St.

Christopher is a collector of things and has been doing so for ten years. One late summer night after an aggressive game of UNO, Christopher showed me his thousands of cufflinks, hundreds of tie clips, and dozens of piggy banks. Enjoy this short video I made about Christopher’s collection. I call him and this piece “The Collector”.

Have you seen these?

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