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Toby Smith talks to two longtime members of The Tennis Club of Albuquerque. 


IMG_4470Chuck Maguire started going when he was 9 years old. Carolyn Mohoric first showed up when she was 31. Together, Maguire and Mohoric have spent more than 100 years on the tennis courts at Indian School Northeast, near Girard. The two will be among many others on Sept. 9 and 10 when the Tennis Club of Albuquerque celebrates its 60th birthday. Maguire, 69 and Mohoric, 91, recently talked about their years at the club and what TCA has meant to them. 
Why did you join TCA?

Chuck:  My parents, Pauline and Norman Maguire, were charter members. They joined because I was a swimmer.  It was always a family club, with tennis and swimming.  I swam for four or five years when I was a young kid. Tennis at the time was considered by some people to be a sissy sport. 

Carolyn:  We moved to Albuquerque from Pueblo, Colorado, in 1952. We lived at first on Vista Largo. When TCA opened in 1956, our kids could walk to the club, which was nice.  My husband Frank Mohoric and I were charter members. Frank died six years ago. He played tennis. Oh, he wasn’t a champion; he just liked the game. He’d play with the guys, Frank Marberry, Bill Thompson, and others on weekday mornings. It was a fun group. Everyone loved Frank and his silly jokes. I first picked up a racket when I was 8 years old. We lived in Salt Lake City then and there was a park with tennis courts across the street. 

Carolyn: Four couples played on Sunday afternoons. Frank and me, Phyllis and Frank Marberry, Bill and Pris Thompson, and Chuck and Mary Mayer. My Frank was in the Battle of the Bulge. One fourth of all casualties in World War II happened in that battle. I used to tell my kids they were lucky to be here.

Chuck:  My younger brother, Dick, was a pretty good tennis player.  But you don’t let your little brother beat you.  My matches with him as a kid made me fall in love with tennis. I really got serious about tennis when I was 16.  I played for Highland High School and graduated in 1965.  We won state that year I graduated, for the fourteenth or fifteenth time, I think.  

Do you two still play tennis?

Carolyn:  I continue to play doubles on Friday mornings.  Eight a.m. or 8:30.  Phyllis Marberry was my doubles partner for years.  When we were 50, we won the 50s Southwest.  I used to be on league teams, but not anymore.  I play doubles with Peg Heffernan, who is 70.  Barb Chase who is 65.  Peggy DeGrazio. Sometimes Roxanne Guerra and Vera Watson come as a sub, They’re all in their 60s.  I have a pretty good placement on my shots.  I’m not a strong player; I’m like a good 3.0.  My serve needs some work.  I’m taking some serving lessons from Amy (Badger).  I was not a swimmer, but my sons Scott and Mike were. They were on the TCA swim team and each won a state championship.  Scott in backstroke, Mike in breaststroke. Our daughter Shawne swam, too. She won the all-around city championship for her age group. 

Chuck: I continue to hit with a lot of different people at TCA. It’s always been family-oriented. The club was always making the social pages of the Journal and the Tribune, but it was never a snooty place.  TCA started as a member-owned club and it still is to this day.  Some years ago we had a ceiling on membership of 200.  That’s long gone now. So is a waiting list to become a member. TCA is super-friendly and welcomes anyone.

Carolyn: As much as I like tennis, I did other things at TCA. Through the years I helped with dinners and served on a lot of club committees.  I’ve been a fill-in on bridge games at the club. 

Chuck: I learned how to string rackets from Joe Ferguson and Dennis Dellinger at the club.  Both worked in the pro shop here for a time.  I went to college first at Eastern New Mexico and transferred to California, Berkeley.  I went to study architecture. I got to know Dennis Van Der Meer there. He was the famed teaching pro at the Berkeley Tennis Club.  I helped him with his summer program. When I was 25 or 26, I became a pro at TCA.  I had learned a lot from Dennis, most especially about remembering people’s names.  I was a pro at the club for 11 years.  Eventually I opened my own architectural firm in Albuquerque, Maguire Design.  

Carolyn:  There have always been many well-known Albuquerque people as members here. Doctors, lawyers, bankers, UNM professors, architects. 

Chuck:  The architect for the club was Francis Stanley.  He had a clear vision about what the club should look like. 
Carolyn:  I think at some point I took group lessons with you, Chuck.

Chuck:  Sounds right. 

Carolyn:  I also took lesson here way back from Joe Ferguson, I recall. And with Ocho, of course. Ocho (head pro Dave Ochotorena) was here for a long time. 

Chuck:  I worked with lots of youngsters. The Wheeler brothers, Jerry, Ronnie and Gary.  They were in high school then. Also, Woody Supple, Randall Clark, Jim Altamirano. Carol and Curtis Neeld.  Their mother, the great Nancy Neeld, started them off.  Nancy passed them along to me. 

Do you still give lessons?

Chuck: If people want them. But we have three great professionals on staff.  I can’t imagine my life without the club. When I was the pro here, I never woke up in the morning and said, My God, I have to give 10 more lessons today. Instead, when I came home at night I would say, That was really fun.  Sometimes I worked 15 hours a day.  Twelve hours on the court and three hours in the pro shop. I loved it. 

Carolyn:  TCA offers so many things now.  There’s a fitness club and yoga. All sorts of events take place at the club: Birthdays, anniversaries, dances, parties, graduations, you name it. I just love this place. It’s a wonderful family club. It’s a place for everybody.”

Chuck:  I can’t imagine my life without the club.  

The Tennis Club of Albuquerque will be celebrating its 60th birthday party September 9th and 10th at the Tennis Club of Albuquerque.  On Friday, from 6pm to 10pm, there will be a dinner and dance. On Saturday morning, starting at 9am there will be tennis exhibitions from local pros and TCA juniors. For more information, contact the Club Manager Liz Briganti at 505-262-1691. 

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