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Scanned by Dick Chenault
Edited by Dick Chenault
Date of Interview - 8-5-1979
I was born at Cuchara, Colorado, on June the 27, 1879. I was raised there, and I was raised there with my parents, my mother and my dad, my father, Estanlilado Vallejos, Carmalito Duran Vallejos. Then my father got killed by a horse and I lived Oh! I don't remember my father. I was very small. Just what my mother used to tell me. I grew up there and I got married with Charlie Maestas. I had two sons, Tony & Nestor Maestas, which they are grown up and married, got their families in California.. Tony Maestas is a barber in San Francisco, California. Nestor Maestas is a fireman for thirty years in Albany, California.
Margaret: How many years did you go to school?
Gertrude: I went to school four years. I went to school as far as the fourth grade. Them days the parents didn't pay much attention for the children to go to school or have an education, as far as I know.
Margaret: What was it in a one—room schoolhouse?
Gertrude: That was a one—room schoolhouse at Cucharas and I remember my teacher, Mrs. Mockmore. I don't know whether she is living or not. I'm sure she's dead. So many years ago.
Margaret: What did you do in those days when somebody got sick? What happened? How did you get medical care?
Gertrude: Well, we had to come to town, had to come to town, or the doctor go down there, They used to go. They used to go down there.
Margaret: Did you have automobiles or horse and buggy?
Gertrude: Horse and buggy.
Margaret: Horse and buggy, that was all you had for transportation?
Gertrude: That's all, no car. Until later years. I don't remember what. He never had a car, but the neighbor had a car and that's how come sometimes we come in a car with them.
Margaret: What were some of the remedies? Did your mother ever use some remedies? What were some of the remedies they used to use?
Gertrude: Well, we get sick and then if we likely have a cold or a sore throat or ear ache or something like that, my mother used to give us some wild peppermint, and Spearmint as a tea, for our sore throat and colds and different kinds of remedies weeds.
Gertrude: Herbs rather.
Margaret: You don't remember any others?
Gertrude: Oh yes, like I said a minute ago, (poleo) Wild peppermint and spearmint and something else. I think it was (malvas) cheeseplant. For ear ache they used to have mentholatum, and put on a piece of cotton and put it in our ears for the ear ache. That's what my mother used to do.
Margaret: Are there any other teas or anything else that you remember?
Gertrude: Oh, no that's about all.
Margaret: Where did you go to church in those days?
Gertrude: I went to Cuchara to church. Whenever we could, we came to town to church when Fr. Liciotti was living.
Margaret: Did you have to go along ways down there?
Gertrude: Six miles. Six miles going and coming by horse and buggy.
Margaret: What was the name of the other priests?
Gertrude: Yeah, Fr. Ussel I remember him so well. He's the one that started the school here. He's the one that started St. Mary's School. And my mother used to. They used to go to Cuchara and say the Mass at the little church over there. My mother and I used to cook for them every month. They used to
make the—to have the mass and all the people around there, all the neighbors gathered up and they all went to church—to mass, and after mass my mother and I had the dinner ready for Fr. Ussel or whichever priest could go. Then after Fr. Ussel passed away, then we went, we had Fr. Liciotti, and he ate at my house too. We used to make, he used to like, Fr. Liciotti was for eating
chili. He like chili and my mother used to make them pies— a prune pie and he liked those, and he liked— my mother used to make good bread and he liked that bread. It raised so much and so nice. Different things at the table, different food.
Margaret: So you had one big happy family, huh?
Gertrude: Oh yes, Coming to eat. That was nice, we were so happy. Every time this month comes, you know, cause there was no church, no Mass everyday or every other day or week, only once a month and we were happy when that occasion came.
Margaret: What did you do for recreation in those days?
Gertrude: For recreation, honey, we didn't do much. The only thing that, as I said before, that this girl and I, Andelesia Lucero, was her name, God bless her soul, she died, like I told you before that time we walked. We wanted to come to the show and we walked all the way, six miles through the tracks, up the tracks here, I remember so well, we passed by here.
Margaret: You went to the movies?
Gertrude: We went to the movies and we didn't care how late or how tired we were and we went and sat down over there and we didn't went home till the next day. We were tired and she was a little younger than I and she could take it, but I was all exhausted. I don't remember how old I was honey.
Margaret: Did you have dances?
Gertrude: We had dances there. We always went to the dances and I never did dance much. I didn't care to dance much but I liked to go watch. I like to go, dance a few dances with the boys, the Lucero boys, the Bustos boys and I think there were some Martinez boys there too.
Margaret: Okay, then you married Mr. Maestas and you had two sons you said?
Gertrude: Yes, I married Charlie Maestas in 1918, during the war, then I had my two boys, Tony Maestas was born in 1920, Nestor Maestas was born in 1922 and they went to school there too.
Margaret: Now how long did you live down there?
Gertrude: Well, nearly all my life, honey. Until we moved to town that my stepfather, my mother married old man Guerrero and he passed away in the same year my youngest son, Nestor was born, He passed away and they all had to move, all the family had to move and he had, like I told you, a post office and commissary there and he always did ask me to carry the nail to the depot. I get a little horse there. I got the nail, the mail bag, and I go to the train depot, about, oh say, a mile to take the nail back to the train. One time, Old man Donnelly, the Conductor, he told me he says, he got off the train, he waited for me with the mail bag and he says, “You almost not made
it”, and I says, “What do you mean? Here's the bag. Here is the mail. “Yeah, you was almost too late.” He was a short fellow and this little train came from I think, it started from Denver to Trinidad.
Margaret: How long did you do that?
Gertrude: Oh, my goodness, all the time I don't remember how long. Yeah, until he couldn't go any more. He was sick. Then he had to give it up. Then he passed away and we moved to town. Then we, my sister and I, the youngest one, Mrs. Smith, like I told you before. We started working here in town for the ladies, for the people. As I said, I worked for the Kolmes, which is Mrs. Margaret Kolmes, and she's a very nice person. Then I worked for her mother, Mrs. Charlie Agnes. Mrs Myrtie Krier, I worked for her, cleaning house, washing and ironing and I also worked for the Sporleders, Amelia Sporleders mother, Caroline. I think, she's dead. I'm sure she is. I worked for them. Amelia was small. I remember that I used to see a porch there. I used to clean their porch and they had so many play things. Dolls! Dolls here, dolls there. Nearly, I used to spend the time cleaning their porch mostly better than cleaning inside of the house. But anyway, Amelia is still living and she's a very nice person.
Margaret: You and your sisters did it for how long? How many sisters did you have?
Gertrude: Two. I have three. Two sisters, three with me. The oldest one is 83 and she is married a second time. She lives in Pueblo.
Margaret: The other sister?
Gertrude: My other sister lives in Pueblo, 320 East 2nd, and she's younger than I.
Margaret: What is her name?
Gertrude: Smith. Andrea Smith. She's 76. She's very sick with arthritis. The poor thing. She can hardly do her work.
Margaret: What's your other sister's name?
Margaret: Do you remember any of the customs the old timers used to have in those days?
Gertrude: Oh, I remember the one time we went to the dance at Cuchara and I only had one pair of shoes, maybe two pairs of stockings. I guess maybe your mother used to tell you. Oh, we were so proud. We were just dancing. We didn't care what color or what and the dresses, I don't remember if theywere fancy or not, anyway, we went to the dance. But we were happy. We were happy then, better than today. We have everything and plenty to live on, lot of stuff, lot of food, lot of clothes. I think the way things are going on.
Margaret: Not like the good old days?
Gertrude: No, not like the good old days. It was nice then.
Margaret: Do you remember anything about the coal mines?
Gertrude: Not much, honey, cause I was, my husband did. Jim worked at the coal mines.
Margaret: Your husband? How many years?
Gertrude: He worked about 15 or 20 years.
Margaret: As a watchman?
Gertrude: He never worked inside as a watchman.
Margaret: What mine was that?
Gertrude: Walsen Camp.
Margaret: Was this Mr. Guerrero?
Gertrude: No, that was my husband Jim Parr.
Margaret: When did you marry Mr. Farr?
Gertrude: Married Jim in 36, 1936. Did he do this all his life as a watchman?
Gertrude: No, he didn't. He worked as a cowboy, as a cattlemen, or whatever you want to call it, and then after that till he retired for a while and then he went working for the Corsentino's, where they live down here and he worked there for five or six years there, and then they quit planting beets. Jim retired again and that was—and I don't know what else he done before I married him. What I know about the mines, you know, working in mines, he told me, I didn't know.
Margaret: Did he do anything else after that?
Gertrude: No, he didn't.
Margaret: At what age did be die?
Gertrude: 92. He died in Nov, 11, 1978, at the age of ninety—two.
Margaret: Did you have children from Mr. Farr?
Gertrude: No, he has two daughters. The oldest one is Iola Doatie. She lives in California. In San Diego. The other from San Diego too. She is the youngest girl, She is Anna Lois Weary. They are very nice to me. Very nice. Now Iola comes every Spring to see me. Her and her husband. They haven't got no children. Anna Lois don't come out hardly. She's sickly like.
Margaret: How many grandchildren did you have?
Gertrude: Two, from my youngest son, Nestor, Tony didn't have any children, the oldest of the two that are left now. Jimmy Maestas married a girl from California. She was born there too and they have a child. A little girl by the name Dashia. Then there is Johnny. He's about 25. He's still single. He lives in around and about near close to his folks.
Margaret: How did you celebrate the holidays in those days?
Gertrude: Honey, in those days we didn't celebrate hardly. The only time that we celebrated was the dances. Oh yes, they had Gallo days there a lot of times.
Margaret: What month was that?
Gertrude: In the month of July.
Margaret: What did that mean “Gallo Days”?
Gertrude: Gallo days like they do celebrate in Gardner a lot of times. Ever heard of it?
Margaret: Well, they say that lot of times. Ever heard of it?
Gertrude: Well, they say they used to chase (gallos) roosters and ring their necks.
Gertrude: Just to have fun, I guess. They were on horseback. I never seen it, buy I heard my mother tell me.
Margaret: What other things do you remember?
Gertrude: That's about all the recreation there and then the dances that I tell you and the time the girl and I came up to town to the show to the movies. I never will forget that.
Margaret: Don't remember any other celebrations?
Gertrude: No, honey.
Margaret: Do you remember anything about the hunting, you know that anybody did?
Gertrude: No, I never heard of 'em saying, we're going hunting up in the hills. In Cucharas, your neighbors.
Margaret: How many neighbors? Did you have neighbors close by?
Gertrude: Oh yes, there were very good neighbors. They were all surrounded there. Each one had their little shack and it seemed nobody had fancy houses there, (hacales) shacks you know, and they were all nice. They were all so, visiting each other in the evening. They go and visit my mother and we girls played outside on the yard. We even dance outside on the dirt. Everybody got along with everybody. Oh yes, so nice. I still have a Comadre, my comadre Dora Romero. We went to school together. Every time she comes over, she hasn't been here for a long time. She comes you know. You remember Mary Romero, Gilbert Romero? That's his mother. We always was together, her and I.
Margaret: What were some of the things you did?
Gertrude: Oh, we play house. You know, we play house outside and you'd know the dolls we had, you'd be surprised. We used to hunt for those bottlenecks, broken bottlenecks. You know what, that was our little doll. We never had a doll to our name.
Margaret: Did you make dresses for them?
Gertrude: We just dressed them up so, the best we could and that was our recreation. Then we could make dinners and then lunches, or whatever it was there. Then we get tired and we said, or one of the girls said, “I don't want to play anymore”. I don't either, we go in the house. Just quit for another day. I have another good friend too. She is in the nursing home honey, She's Vicky Duran now and she's crippled. She hurt herself or broke her hip. She's still crippled. She don't improve much, the poor thing and we used to play together, she and I. Another one, now that I remember, Seya Martinez. She was Lopez then. She's in the nursing home now. That's another nice friend I have.
Margaret: In Pueblo?
Gertrude: No, here in Walsenburg. She used to live down here. So she took sick and they had to put her in the nursing home. She's there now.
Margaret: What were some of the things you used to do together?
Gertrude: Play, dance outside on the ground, on the dirt, on the patio yard.
Margaret: Do you remember some of the games?
Gertrude: No, just dance and play with those neckbottles. That was our dolls. It was a lot of fun though. A lot of fun.
Margaret: You seem to be a real religious person? Can you remember how this came, way back when your mother was, when you were little?
Gertrude: There was a lady that used to say novenas for the people that took sick. Like when they were going to have their babies, this lady, they asked this lady, besides, I don't think there was a doctor them days going down there, but there was (medicas) midwives, midwife there. They used to ask this lady, Adelida Manzanares, to say their novenas to the Little Jesus, so they came out all right. My goodness, they did. They never had trouble at all, and every time this lady finished a novena to Little Jesus, the people that asked for the novena, for her to pray the novena for them, they used to make a little lunch, or feast, or whatever, on that last day. I don't know if they were supposed to pay her or not but they gave her fifty cents every time
and that's all they gave her to say the novenas. And all the people around there, honey were religious. I remember all of them. All of them prayed. Each one with their families in their house and us used to gather up at borne. Some of the boys run out and go play, they didn't care to pray. Us girls, we didn't. We stayed with my mother and step—father praying until we finished
the rosary and that was every night, every evening after supper.
Margaret: What were some of the other saints that they used to pray to and what for, do you remember?
Gertrude: Well, that was Little Jesus for this her purpose. Then was the Holy family, and of course Sacred Heart. St. Anthony for the lost things, things stolen or lost and I don't remember any other patron that they used to pray for.
Margaret: You told me a little prayer that your mother used to say?
Gertrude: Oh, that for snakes. When we used to go out in the garden with Grandma Duran, my mother tells me, “be sure and say the prayer so that the snakes won't bite you, or won't come out”, and she says, (“Bendito San George, Bendito su altar, Bendito los campos de un demos de audar”). Blessed be St. George, Blessed be his altar, Blessed be the fields that we might walk, and that was what we prayed and then we say an Our Father.
Margaret: That's to St. George?
Gertrude: St. George he's the patron of the snakes. That's what they used to tell us. I haven't read the story of St. George. That's one story I don't have. I have all kinds except that. I like to get it somewhere. Sometimes it comes out in the books. That's about it, I guess honey.
Margaret: Do you remember anything about politics in those days?
Gertrude: All I remember is that Old man Guerrero was a Democrat, my step—father, A strong Democrat. My father, Estanlisado Vallejos, was a Republican, but I was too little to know about him. I never seen him, I remember seeing him but it's still like a dream. My mother used to tell me about him and that's all I remember.
Margaret: Your husband was an uncle to——?
Gertrude: Jim Farr, my second husband was Jeff Farr's, Jeff Farr was a sheriff here in town for many years.
Margaret: How long?
Gertrude: I don't know and Jim was Water Commissioner, that's my second husband, and then I told you he worked at the mines too, for fifteen or twenty, whichever. Then he had another Uncle, Ed Farr. He got killed in Cimarron, New Mexico, by the Black Jack Gang. That's what Jim used to tell me, I never seen him. That's the way it went with the Farr's, which he was the only one living then. He had a brother by the name of Tom. Tom Farr and he passed away quite a few years ago. He had two first cousins in Denver, Bessie Farr and Mable Hill and they used to visit him quite often.
Margaret: This, Mr. Jeff Farr, he was sheriff here of Huerfano County?
Gertrude: Oh, yeah, he was a sheriff here of Huerfano Co. Of course, the people thought he would never get out of politics but he finally, I don't know who got in his place after all. He got voted out of office.
Margaret: How about courtships in those days'? You know, when the boy used to court the girls, do you remember anything about that?
Gertrude: Oh, yes, yes. Well, they used to hide. Them days you wasn't allowed to go out with boys until you get married you know, and we used to hide. I used to hide to go around with my husband or any other friends that I had. Mother and Dad didn't like It. Oh no, they wouldn't let you go out, not like now. Not in public, no.
Margaret: How was it you ended up getting married? When you were ready to get married, what would you do?
Gertrude: Well, my husband just asked for my hand and then we got married right away. I never went out with him.
Margaret: So all the boys and girls used to have to do that?
Gertrude: All of them, had to hide from their parents. I don't know if they came to town or not. I don't remember that. I didn't because I didn't know my husband too long before I got married.
Margaret: You said, they had to ask for your hand?
Gertrude: Yes, that was it. The parents, they want you to get married. They wanted, I don't know whether they wanted for us to get, for the parents, for the children to get, their sons or daughters to get out to get rid of them, or just get married and go.
Margaret: Who used to ask for your hand?
Gertrude: Just my husband, the boy's father.
Gertrude: The boy's father asked the girl's parents and they agree and they made the plans and everything and that was it.
Margaret: How were the weddings in those days?
Gertrude: The weddings was big weddings, They made a lot of hurrah about it you know. Dancing (fiesta) feast like they say.
Margaret: Did you used to have shivarees in those days?
Gertrude: I remember when I was little they used to have what they called a shivaree you know. Somebody would get married and somebody would come and make noise. Yeah not down there, but here in town they used to, but not down there. It was lonesome.
Margaret: I had a lonesome life myself. Work Hard?
Gertrude: You mean when I was married?
Margaret: After you were married?
Gertrude: Cause I didn't live with my husband very long. Maybe three years, and I had my two boys and then so long on like that. I never had any more boy, children only three boys, no girls. I wish I had a girl. Makes a difference.
Margaret: Then after that you married Mr. Farr?
Gertrude: Oh, yeah, it was long after that I met Jim in 36, and I married him and we lived happy ever after. He was a good man.
Margaret: Till his death?
Gertrude: He was a good man. He helped me with my boys, to put them through school, through high school. The two youngest ones. They liked Jim like a father. They knew their father-lovable, I had to take care of them, put them through school, Jim helped me.
Margaret: Were there any superstitions in those days?
Gertrude: Oh yeah, I think: everybody was superstitious. They talked about (brujas) witches. My mother didn't think I had, I know of anyone of course. I don't know how they do it or what. I didn't suspect that because I didn't know. My mother either.
Margaret: What is it they used to say about (brujas) witches?
Gertrude: They used to say, “be careful about that neighbor' be careful with this one. She's a bruja. I never paid any attention to the neighbors talking about the (brujas) witches, because we didn't know there was such a thing. There could of been, but we didn't.
Margaret: Do you remember anything else they used to say?
Gertrude: About what honey?
Margaret: Do you remember anything else about the customs they used to have in those days, you know, oh, about customs when a marriage, baptism?
Gertrude: Oh yes, the customs were about like now, only they were out of style. In them days - they had their own style. In them days long dresses like now and the veil, flowers. And you made your own.
Margaret: Did you make your own dress?
Gertrude: No, they bought it here. Baptism with a long dress for the babies, real long dress, they could wrap him around all over.
Margaret: What about when you got (compadres) godparents? What did you do?
Gertrude: Oh, godparents. We used to, we choose the godparents. We baptized my two boys, my three boys and that was the way it went and then the (Padrinos) godparents used to give the babies a gift, say five dollars, ten dollars, or whatever they could afford. They didn't have to, but they wanted to do that. They made a big dinner or whatever, no dance on baptism. No, just the dinner and they visit, we visit and talk for quite a while. Then each one went their way.
Margaret: They used to take being (Compadres) godparents real serious?
Gertrude: Oh yeah! When you were (Compadres) godparents, that meant respect, very much respect!
Margaret: What about music in those days? Do you remember?
Gertrude: That was violin and guitar and I remember old man Sandoval, Seferino Sandoval, They lived up here, up in Loma Park, he goes and plays over there for the dances. All the boys get around that were at that dance that were old enough to dance, get around him to watch him play the violin all night. They didn't dance for watching him. And I remember my son, Pete, the oldest one, he used to stand right by him, that old man never did forget,
he used to tell us, he says, “I get a kick out of Pete because he just watching me play that violin”, and he did. He got more of a kick, he was too young to dance then. (Y no bailarvan por estar quidando) They wouldn't dance for being watching. No, to be watching the old man.
Margaret: And who were the guitar man?
Gertrude: I don't know, I don't remember. That's mostly, what they had was guitar and violin?
Margaret: How often did you have dances?
Gertrude: Oh, whenever somebody got married or not for baptism. They didn't make any dances then, or married or just a dance.
Margaret: Where did you have the dances? In the schoolhouse?
Gertrude: In the schoolhouse. It's still standing there,
Margaret: Do you remember how many families lived there?
Gertrude: No, I couldn't tell you. I could count them if I start saying by name.
Margaret: Do you remember some of the families?
Gertrude: Oh yes. The Lucero's the Bustos', Camel Bustos, the Martinez's, Lopez, a bunch of people them days there.
Margaret: Your mother and Dad were born there?
Gertrude: My mother and dad was born at Cuchara. My father was born six miles from here, could be eight miles. The Valdez Cemetery, right across from there was my Dad's ranch and my mother lived up this way, west of there, where my grandfather Duran and Grandmother Duran lived. She was born there.
Margaret: They got married and then what, they made their house there?
Gertrude: Yeah, they either lived with the groom's parents or the brides parents. My mother lived with my fathers parents for a long time and then she moved back to my grandmothers Duran, to her mother. They both lived there. for a while and then he got killed. Then my mother was a widow for a year or two after. She stayed with her father and mother then she met Old man Guerrero, a second time. She had three children by her second marriage. It was Andrea, Mrs. Smith in Pueblo. Frank Guerrero, he's dead and Benny Guerrero, the youngest one, he's dead and that was all the three Guerrero kids born on that second marriage.
Margaret: Did you have any stores down there in Cucharas?
Gertrude: There was only one store, that Old man Guerrero's. My step—father had. That was the commissary and post office. That was the only little store there; I remember I used to take the mail to the depot. All the farmers that came there from all over, they took up that dry land.
Margaret: They took up dry land, what for?
Gertrude: I don't know what was their interest there, because there was no water or nothing. Just in the surrounding there at Cuchara. I think they must of had Cattle. But I don't remember seeing any cattle or heard of them. But they took up those farms.
Margaret: Did they plant?
Gertrude: (Nada) Nothing just the dry farm, maybe Cattle. They could of had Cattle and I remember that they all used to come for the mail at my step-fathers post office there, at that little commissary I told you before. They were all nice people. Pretty soon they couldn't make it, so, one by one, they had to leave their places for different places.
Margaret: So everybody had to leave Los Cucharas?
Gertrude: Well, there was no water there honey, only the Creek water.
Margaret: Did they plant beans?
Gertrude: Oh yes, we used to plant a lot of that, corn, a big garden as our place I tell you. Grandpa Duran used to plant a big garden and everybody lived out of their own places. Of course, some of them didn't have farms or things like that. They just lived the best way they could. There was the
Steven's Store at the depot. Yes it was, now I remember. Stevens Place, Jim Stevens, had a store there. He's dead now. He used to live in California but he died not too long ago and that was the story. One time not too long ago, he came out her to see Jim. He knew him well, and he knew me since I was a little girl and I used to go to the road every tine I'd see him come out on the horse to go and take care of the cattle. I think of his farm which it wasn't very far, right next to my Grandmothers Durans' farm and I go to the road and stand by the road there and wait for him. I was very small. I remember though I must of been five or six years, and I used to ask him if he had any gum or pinons for me and he says, yes, I have and he gave me a
pack of gum and a handful of pinions cause he was always eating pinons that man. And when he came back he said to Jim, he came to house here, he stayed with us one time. “Jim”, he says, how do you like to go to Cuchara? I want to go see my place and he went. There was nothing there any more, there's nothing there now, only a house. I don't know who owns that place and he stood there and tears came out of his eyes and he says to Jim, “You
know Jim all the people from Cuchara left their last dime here at my store.” They used to shop there. That was the only store then. What year, I don't remember. I was small, then we came back and he said, ”Well, I'm going to see the Levy's and different friends that I got here” and he left and we never saw him anymore.. He passed away and when he came in the door here, Jim
introduced me to him, because Jim and Jim Stevens & Jim Farr. Jim Farr says and Jim Stevens says, who is this lady, who is this girl, this little girl that you speaking of? – and he says this is the little girl that used to go to the road and ask you for pinions and gum. “Oh no,” he says, “It can't be”.
It is, Jim Farr says. He was so surprised. Well he hasn't seen me anymore.
Margaret: Yeah, it was nice that you saw him again.
Gertrude: Yeah it was nice. He was getting pretty old then. And they have to had the store and they had the hotel Pictureville, Pictureville Hotel there. It was nice. My grandmother used to work there washing and ironing from sun up to sun down for fifty cents a day. Mind you. My grandmother done the dishes for the hotel and they got the same pay, fifty cents a day. That's my grandfather Duran and grandmother Duran but them days fifty cents was a lot of money and they worked and worked like anything to make their living. Of course, they had their farm, their garden anything like that.
Margaret: How about when they buried a person? Do you know what they used to do when they buried some body?
Gertrude: Yes, Well, when somebody died we had the wake. People gathered and prayed and sing (Alavaos) hymns whatever they were or hymns, prayed the rosary and at midnight they had a supper or dinner for them in some of the houses where this dead were, the person that died was. The next day they buried them. And as I understand, I don't remember too well, they say they
used to make the coffins. Somebody here, I think Jim told me the name of this party that used to make the coffin was Campbells, by the name Campbells honey. I never seen them and that's all I know the ones that told me.
Margaret: Did the wake last very long?
Gertrude: All morning, all night until the next morning. Some of them go sleep while and then others pray and then the others wake up & come back to say the prayers. I don't think there was any embalming in them days, honey, that I know of. I don't think so. I never heard of it. The very next day.
Margaret: (Resavan en espanol or Como?)
Gertrude: Oh all Spanish, espanol, everything was done in Spanish.
Margaret: Did they pray in Spanish or how? They had what, just the one cemetery down there?
Gertrude: No, we had two. Had the Valdez cemetery on this side of the creek going to Rocky Ford, on your left side. You've been there haven't you? And then the other cemetery on the right, that's across the river from Bustos place. Felix Bustos and them. The cemetery is up on the hill. There's a lot of people buried there. God knows how old, there's just about falling apart the little fences, you know, there about to fall apart. They haven't got no date or nothing. I got my Grandmother Duran there and my grandfather. My grandmother had a cross and the name is already gone but every time I used to go there and fix the graves, Pete and I and Jim used to go down there every year, but since they took sick they never took me down there any more and now I'm so scared of the snakes too. There's a lot of them down there too. All the people from the town called that place the La Posta the Post, for why, it seemed, it was the stopping place for the mail on the carriages, they hauled the mail from Trinidad to Pueblo on carriages them days. There's where the stopping place was.
Margaret: La Pasta? La Posta. This La Posta was right?
Gertrude: Right there where Felix Bustos place, right around there, just the other side of the river. That's what my mother used to tell me. I don't remember.
Margaret: Did you get paid for carrying the mail those days?
Gertrude: Who? Me?
Gertrude: No, why didn't I get paid?
Margaret: I don't know honey, I just remember now that you spoke about it.
Gertrude: Nope. I guess because he had the post office. I don't know whether he got paid or not, I didn't know. I didn't see a penny. He could of got it. That was a job! Cause the boys my brothers didn't want to take the mail to the depot.
Margaret: Do you remember how old you was?
Gertrude: Yo? Me? Tenia about I could of being 18 years or 19. I was still single. Just about like that. It was a job but I liked to ride that little horse.
Margaret: You liked to ride horses?
Gertrude: Uh huh, jst that one, Gentle. He was a gentle horse. I didn't like to ride the other wild ones. I should of, my father was a cowboy, that's how he got killed. A horse fell on him. Yeah, broke his neck. Never talked anymore, unconscious until he passed away.
Margaret: How about your brothers, did they ride horses?
Gertrude: No, Mucio never did like to ride horses, unless he had to come up to town, he rode a horse.
Margaret: That's right, Mucio Vallejos was your brother?
Gertrude: Yeah, he was the youngest one of the three Vallejos. Pauline was the oldest one, then I and then Mucio from the first marriage and that's it. I wish I had a better memory so I could remember everything, but I don't.
Margaret: You're doing fine.
Gertrude: I hope. I don't want to lose my memory or my ears or my eyesight.
Margaret: Were there penitentes in those days?
Gertrude: Pertitentes were a religious group. Yes there were, but none of our family belonged to that. The Lucero's, Chris Lucero and them, belonged to them, not the boys but their father. Different people around there and the ones that lived at Laguna Lake, you know, across the river up where Richard Bustos used to live. They used to gather up, there were quite a few people there too. They used to gather up at the (Morada) dwelling and have their a wakes there and their prayers.
Margaret: Did you have a moroda down there?
Gertrude: Not at Cuchara. No. (La Moroda) The dwelling was here at the Laguna. Richard Bustos used to live there. They had their farm there.
Margaret: Do you remember what the penitentes did?
Gertrude: Well, they say, they used to whip themselves until the blood come out. Whether it is or not, I don't know. They prayed. all night, I'm sure, you see. Then the wives of the families used to make their dinner for them, three days of the week, Thursdays, Friday, and Saturdays, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. And I'm sure they was still doing their praying
and still doing their doings on Sunday. One time I went over there my mother and I went with some neighbor there and we went on Good Friday and there was a girl they used to dress up the girls in white dresses and veil and a little white crown. They looked so beautiful.
Margaret: Why did they wear the white dresses?
Gertrude: I don't know. It had to be a virgin to wear the white dresses, Oh that was the custom then. It was nice.
Margaret: Did you see the ceremony there?
Gertrude: Oh yes, they used to have a procession of a certain place until we get to the morada, praying and singing. The men sing the (alavos) hymns and every body prayed. Them days were good. Nice, wasn't so much going on like now. We didn't hear hardly nothing. Fights or anything like now. Now the boys of down there, The Lucero gang and my brothers the Lopez's and the Martinezs never did get into a fight. They all gathered up to play. Play ball, marbles or something like that. But I don't ever remember hearing of them fighting.
Margaret: Did your father or your brothers do any hunting of any kind?
Gertrude: No, no deer hunting at all. Old man Guerrero didn't that I know of. My father was-I was too small to know. My brothers were never interested in doing any hunting at all.
Margaret: Was there a lake there?
Gertrude: Oh yeah. La laguna que te digo where the, boy Felix Bustos, by Richard Bustos on the other side of the creek, on the south side of Felix where the moreado, where the penitentes were, where they had their doings. I think they still do. I hear yet that they still do have their doings there, which I heard about a few years back, where the kids went in and broke all the statues.
Margaret: Were there any unions in the mines those days? Do you remember your husband talking about unions or anything like that?
Gertrude: Oh yes, in l9--. I think he said 1913 or 1914. I don't remember when he said that a very, very bad strike, a bad strike, honey.
Margaret: Was it at the mine that he worked?
Gertrude: At the mine yes. They were terrible and I think that the Ludlow mine too. Well, I remember them days that some of the people went from here and stayed at our house when the strike was going on and different houses there because the people, the strikes were so mean. I think they was trying to kill them.
Margaret: Why were they striking for?
Gertrude: I don't remember. And I don't remember them telling me what for. What they were fighting for. But they were mean, very mean. I don't remember if he was watchman there then, it could of been.
Margaret: Your husband used to watch the mines?
Gertrude: Watch on the outside. He never did went in the mine at all, or if he did, he just went to look around, not to work in the mine.
Margaret: He had to watch the people?
Gertrude: He used to watch the people that they didn't get out of the way or they go to sleep on the job, cause they used to go to sleep and where they had the horses for the mine there was a lot of straw there for the team and these guys used to go in there and go to sleep there and cover themselves with the straw and they didn't know where they were. .So Jim had to watch all of that and wake them up and put them, back to work.
Margaret: So then your husband died and here you are in your little house huh?
Gertrude: My husband died in 1978, November 11 1978. He died of a heart attack sitting down on that chair there and Pete was down town and I was all alone. I didn't know what to do. I went to the phone, called the ambulance, called my neighbor, Mrs. Pineda, but she wasn't there. She was at the parade on the 11th. So, I had to take care of him and before I knew it, Jim was gone, in no time. Then the ambulance came to take him and spread a blanket on the floor there and they laid him there, examined his pulse, and they told me that Jim was dead. I said, I know he is. He was dead when he was here sitting down already, he was dead I knew. They took him and I went by the police and in the car, they came too. The doctor pronounced him dead at the hospital. So I was left alone then and then my son Pete, took sick in 1976 and he suffered quite a bit himself for about three of four years, and he passed away and I was left alone again. Of course I'm not alone. I have my good Lord, my Holy Family that they watch over me and I feel good because I know they are watching over me. Of course, I get very lonesome. Lonely all the time but at the same time, I pick up myself and say, well this is the way it had to be. I'm glad and Thank God that I am here until he calls me.
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