Craig and Natalie Epps, of Dewey, Oklahoma, vacation in Red River at least twice a year. When they tell friends in Dewey that they are going to New Mexico, they’re often asked, “Is that in Colorado?” “We’re always forced to explain that New Mexico is the state just south of Colorado. The sad part is that Oklahoma borders New Mexico!”

Gary Fassler, born in Albuquerque, was living in Queens, New York, when it was time for him to get his driver’s license. He brought his New Mexico birth certificate and social security card to the local Department of Motor Vehicles. After passing his road test, he headed over to the clerk to complete the process. She took one look at his New Mexico birth certificate and declared, “I can’t give you a driver’s license, sorry.” “Why not?” Fassler asked. “Because you ain’t a U.S. citizen, that’s why!” Completely nonplussed, he pointed out that New Mexico is indeed one of the 50 states. She didn’t believe him. He asked to speak with the manager, who told the clerk, “Take a break.” Apologizing profusely, he handled Fassler’s paperwork.

Rose Tenbrink, of Midland, Texas, recently tried to rent a car for a family reunion. “I placed a call to our local car rental agency. I asked for a minivan, gave her the dates, and told her we were going to Alamogordo, New Mexico.” The Midland agent replied: “I’m sorry, my agency does not allow cars out of the country.” Here’s the best (worst?) part: As the crow flies, Midland is less than 50 miles from New Mexico.

Just before Rob and Julie Kresge retired to Albuquerque, they had dinner with friends at an upscale restaurant in a northern Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. When the twenty-something hostess seated them, she asked if the Kresges were locals. “We have been, but we’re moving to New Mexico next month,” Julie said. “Oh, cool. Cancún, huh?” she replied. “No, New Mexico is the state just west of Texas,” Rob said. She plopped down their menus and said, “Whatever.”

When Ursula Kellett, of London, tried to update friends about her brother’s move to New Mexico, she was surprised at the responses. “Oh, he has moved to Mexico,” they replied. When she answered that it was not Mexico but New Mexico, they said, “Yes, we understand, he is new to Mexico.” She tells us, “I, as his sister, know exactly where New Mexico is and absolutely adore it for its beauty and lovely people ... and each month I receive your magazine, a treat!”

While in college, Natalie Barka left northern New Mexico to study in Big Rapids, Michigan, for two semesters. Whenever she met someone new, they’d ask where she was from. When she told them, “I’m from New Mexico,” they unfailingly replied, “Oh, how do you like America?” Her response, after staring at them in disbelief, was, “I feel so free!” Send Us Your Story—Please!

Dear “50” fans: Help sustain this popular feature by sharing your anecdotes—we know you have some choice ones that you haven’t gotten around to sending in. Just dash it off if you like, and we’ll take it from there. Submissions will be edited for style and space. Please include your name, hometown, and state. E-mail to, or mail to Fifty, New Mexico Magazine, 495 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501.