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Monday, July 30, 2007

Can't Leave out my Mom ...

Well, a short story (I promise) about my mother, Alice. I just can't only talk about my Dad. She was one of nine girls that were raised on a homestead ranch north of Magdalena, New Mexico. My grandmother was a mail order bride, sort of. My grandfather met her in Kansas and then sent for her. She came by train and stagecoach to Socorro, Ne Mexico. (Another story here.) They homesteaded at Tres Hermanos and raised nine girls. I don't have the ages in front of me, but my Mom was born in 1905 and was next to the youngest. Grandfather started a trading post and established Field, New Mexico. (You can see a photo of my grandfather there.)

The girls were the ranch hands and did all the work that men usually do. Can you imagine what my grandfather went through? Wow. When my mom was pretty young my grandfather was remarking about all the clothes he had to buy and all the washing my grandmother had to do. He said something like, "We should just paint their bottoms blue and turn them out to pasture!" One of the girls a little older than my Mom took him seriously and proceeded to paint the sisters, I think four of them, blue from the waist down. In those days, paint was lead based. All my grandmother had to clean them up with was gasoline. They were a pretty sick bunch of girls, but all survived.

They lived in Santa Fe for a while as my grandfather was State Land Commissioner. Two of the older girls talked the chauffeur into letting them drive the government car. They took my mother along to keep her quiet. They ran the car into a ditch and had to come clean to my grandfather. He was very displeased and they were all punished.

My mother was very even tempered. I never saw her angry with anyone. She worked as a bookkeeper at the general store in Magdalena for years and everyone respected her. She handled all the problems, too. I guess she was the "complaint" department. She really liked living at the ranch and being outside with my Dad. She was not a good housekeeper, why bother? She kept her treasures in cigar boxes.
By Alice on the cover of notebook paper. The black is the design on the paper.

She drew pictures on calendars, note book paper, envelopes and scratch paper of all kinds. I don't think she had the opportunity to try her hand at painting. She thought everything we kids did was wonderful. She never yelled or talked back to my father and he was pretty ornery. She loved music and could play the piano by ear. They had a player piano at the ranch and I guess she learned from watching it play and touching the keys. She sang at the dances in Magdalena. My brother, Tommy, would leave when she started to sing. She would write to the main radio station in Albuquerque and tell them the cows didn't like Frank Sinatra and some of the other things they played. She drew pictures of the cows with their hooves over their ears. Every song was her favorite song. She played the ukulele, too.

Mom was always dressing up like someone else when she was young. She loved playing jokes and laughing. (More stories.) When I was in school, she always took part in the talent nights and helped organize them. Once my Mom and some other women acted out the poem, The Creation of Sam Magee. I thought it was such a creepy story at the time.

She loved baseball, especially the Dodgers. She listened faithfully. My Dad rooted for the Cardinals so they could bet and have fun with each other. They could hear the Dodgers and the Cardinals on the radio at night. The basketball teams they followed were the Lakers and the St. Louis Hawks, again because that is what they could hear. But baseball was her favorite. I went to work for Continental Airlines and I asked her where in the world she would like to go? "To Los Angeles, to see the Dodgers!" So we did.

She loved to take photos of rainbows, cows and sunsets and sunrises, so I guess that is where Joanna gets her love for the same and baseball, too. Check out Joanna's gardenia photo. Just beautiful. Check out her other photos, you will find some sunsets!

And so the saga continues........


Joanna said...

I loved listening to baseball games with Grandma. We would bet a quarter on the game, and she'd always let me go with the Dodgers. Heh.

I have a really nice rainbow photo I took last week ready to post. I just have to actually post it!

Jo Castillo said...

Joanna, I bet she wouldn't have bet that way with anyone else!

We will be waiting for the photo.


Anna Sellers said...

Love the stories about your mom and dad. I am originally from Eastern Oregon in a rodeo town called Pendleton, Oregon. Your posts remind me of home where men are men and women are women who can keep up with the men. When I took my husband back west to meet my family, he got an opportunity to see where I got my "spunk".

Jo Castillo said...

Anna, Ain't that the truth! My brother did the rodeo circuit on the west coast for a couple of years (way back in the early 50s) and had some great times in Pendleton. He was bull riding back in the days of Jim Shoulders.

Your spunk is showing in your dedication to your painting. Keep it up.


Bag Blog said...

I love your stories as much as your art.

Jo Castillo said...

Bag Blog, Thanks and same to you. Guess we are "country girls". :)

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About Me

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Bastrop, Texas, United States
I Grew up in a small town , Magdalena, New Mexico. I enjoy art and the pleasure other people get from my work. I always donate some of my sales and art to charities, especially for children. That started in Bolivia with Para los NiƱos. (Link on sidebar) "I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns." -- Winston Churchill


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