Logan, New Mexico – A Piece of Why Pick Up Sticks is What it is

Logan, New Mexico.  Population 1,094.  The place where, if you want to send someone a letter, you just write their name and then “Logan, NM 88426” on the envelope.  The place, like the theme song from Cheers, “Where everybody  knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.” The place where there’s a 98% chance somebody’s going to give you a big bear hug when they see you.

Logan Longhorns bus in front of the old Country Store - circe 1974

Pick Up Sticks is a company with a great story behind it – the story of Glena and Sabrina as cousins and best friends who had a vision that combined art with found object and images and then created something fun and heartfelt that allows women to celebrate themselves and one another.  It’s not coincidental that this happened to two girls who grew up on the dusty streets of Logan, New Mexico.

We’ve already told you the story of their hardscrabble, tough-as-nails ancestors who traveled by wagon to New Mexico from Missouri and how they settled eventually in Logan.  We’ve shared what an influence “Mother” (Glena and Sabrina’s great-grandmother Ade Johnston) was in shaping exactly who Glena and Sabrina became.  What we haven’t told you was how growing up in such a tiny little village helped to make them who they are.

The old Logan Depot. Our best friend Robin remembers going there when she was 4 or 5 with her uncle to get the mail sack as it was thrown off the eastbound train.

There are no stoplights in Logan.  There’s also no movie theater, no dress shops, no mall. . .as you might imagine, Logan’s the place where you just have to make your own fun. Use your imagination. Turn junk into treasures.  Develop insatiable curiosity and create something from it, whether it’s a playground game or a cigar box diorama.

We spent our summers riding bikes all over town.  The adults wanted us out of the house, always, and we traveled in a pack.  One summer the village authorities decided to put in a new sewer system, digging trenches down the middle of the street.  Those trenches remained open for weeks, and we developed an intricate game of hide and seek that moved from one block to the next every day.

Glena and Sabrina with a pile of cousins and Mother -Glena is seated on the far left; Sabrina is the little one with the pigtails

There were rules of behavior that we all instinctively knew.  One thing we were never allowed to say was “We’re bored.” It was common knowledge that our Moms had an arsenal of really awful chores for the kid who uttered that phrase.  You were required, with no exceptions, to speak to every adult you saw, and if you failed to do so, you were in big trouble with your parents.  When someone got sick, or even, heaven forbid, died, you went with your Mom while she delivered a covered dish to their house. You didn’t talk back.  You treated people with respect (okay, there were those episodes like when we chased that kid on our bikes, waving a dead snake, but the parents never knew about that, right?).

Those small town people taught us to have hearts.  And to play hard, using what we had on hand, which always included our imaginations.

Logan is just a small village sitting on a bluff overlooking the Canadian River in northeastern New Mexico.  But I’m pretty sure that if Glena and Sabrina had grown up in a city like Albuquerque or Dallas or even Manhattan, the results would have been markedly different. There would have been no Cromer’s Grocery, where they could run in, letting the wooden door slam behind them, grab a loaf of bread and tell Mrs. Cromer, “Thanks – just put that on my Mom’s ticket please!”  There would have been no hanging out in the butcher section of the Country Store, watching Leeman Stewart carve up a side of beef while he told stories.  There would have been no back booth at the Fireside Cafe where we sipped Dr. Peppers and ate our afternoon candy bar after school, talking about boys and learning to negotiate the treacherous slopes of junior high romance.

Logan taught Glena and Sabrina to care about people and gave them lots of close friends.  They were surrounded by family – grandparents next door (or living with them), great-grandmother down the street.  Glena’s Dad was running the Malco station out on the highway and always had a quarter for the coke machine and a bag of peanuts.

Sabrina's Dad Lloyd (far left) and Glena's Dad Albert (center) with Glena and more cousins

Our Moms met every morning (and sometimes every afternoon) for coffee at the Yucca or the Fireside Cafe. Our parents had frequent gatherings – barbecues out at Ute Lake or in someone’s backyard, coffee and cake at someone’s house after a basketball game, and that one glorious New Year’s party at the Feerer’s where I swear I saw the first chilled shrimp I’d ever seen. .  .

Logan is a place where people visit with one another and take care of one another.  It hasn’t changed that much since the 60’s and 70’s when we were kids.  We still speak to everyone we know.  We still carry in a covered dish when someone is sick or hurting.

It’s a place with lots of heart. It’s a place where you create your own life and your own fun. Just like Pick Up Sticks Jewelry.  It’s understandable why the Family & Friends charm category is always so popular with Pick Up Sticks customers – that’s what Pick Up Sticks is made of.

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great post! As a transplant to Logan, I have come to love it and call it my home too—as anyone who reads this post will know, it is for all of these wonderful reasons and more! ;0)

  2. Love the story. There’s just something about small town living. Yep, everyone knows you and usually knows what you are doing before you do it..lol.. I don’t think I would have it any other way. Been coming to Logan for many years to see relatives and friends and I know I will be coming to Logan more now to see my grandkiddos when they get involved in school and everything that goes with it. Thanks for memories!

  3. […] in Clovis.  You can check out their background story at their blog, with stories ranging from how being Logan and New Mexico natives influenced who they are and the creation of the company to what great friends they’ve been to […]

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