The Associated Press is featuring 84-year-old Angel “Guardian Angel of Route 66” Delgadillo of Seligman, Ariz., for a story that is slated to appear in newspapers on Sunday.
Check your daily newspaper tomorrow morning for the article. In the meantime, you can read the entire article here, along with several photos, in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s online edition.
(Disclosure: AP reporter Pauline Arrillaga interviewed me for the article, but it apparently wound up on the cutting-room floor. However, my spouse Emily Priddy, aka Redforkhippie, was quoted.)
Here’s an excerpt:
Telling this tale has become his life’s work, and he does it without prompting. How he was born right on Route 66 back when Seligman was a railroad town ferrying explorers West. How he followed in his father’s footsteps and became a barber, opening his own shop and pool hall along Route 66. How he was a witness to history: the Dust Bowl migration, the transport of equipment during World War II.
And how he saw it all change on Sept. 22, 1978 — the day Interstate 40 replaced Route 66 as the main thoroughfare through northern Arizona.
“Can you imagine how it was?” says Delgadillo, whose eyes widen as if recounting this for the very first time. “Golly Moses. At first it was so sad, and then I got so angry. Everybody just forgot about us.”
Anyway, I commend it to your attention. Delgadillo’s passion and hospitality have inspired a great many people, and he deserves this attention.
The AP also is supposed to post a video that goes with the story. I’ll post it here as soon as I get it.