NOTICE All data and photos on this website are Copyrighted by Karen Mitchell. Duplication of this data or photos is strictly forbidden without legal written permission by the Copyright holder.
ALFONSO PINEDA Contributed by: Karen Mitchell
AP: This was Navajo territory; indian, hunting territory. They used to come from
the other side or mountains from San Luis, Conejos, all them places. All Na-
vajo places. The way I understand, I don't know what year it was. My great
grandpa; there were two brothers, and they were Navajo Indians. One or them
took, came over the mountains on an ox cart with a bandit. And the other one
took South. From Conejos down here to...
AP: No, my great-grandpa came from Conejos, down here to the Cucharas River.
He was the first settler in the Cucharas River, only I got no proofs, you see.
The ones that told me are dead. This doctor, Duffy Unfug, the dentist, told
me. One day I came down with a toothache in 1940; on a Sunday morning I went
to see what he could do. And I was going to his house but I round him in the
office and I tried the door and the door was unlocked and I walked in and sit
down. When he looked out he says, "Oh, look who's here. Alfonso what are you
doing here so early?" I said, "I suffered a toothache all night long. I come
to see what you could do for me. He says, "In a minute." So he came out with
a fellow from Denver. He introduced him to me. He gave him my name and he gave
me his. Shook hands with him and Duffy the doctor says, "You know why I'm in-
troducing this man to you?" The other man I can't remember his name. "No." He
says, "You know why? Cause your talking to a full blooded American. " And the
man looked at me and says, I told Duffy, "Don't raise me up so high doctor,
you're liable to drop me and get hurt." He says, "You got it coming." My dads
last words were, when all or us brothers were circled around his bed, he opened
his eyes and said, "If you ever see the family or Pinedas in distress, give
them a hand." The old ta-ta Herman, he was a Navajo Indian and Juan de Dios,
his son, full-blooded. He says somebody told them the rest or the Indians
had us corraled up in the reservation you see. And told ta-ta Herman down
here. And him and my grandpa see, his son, went up there and talked them out
of it. There was Unfugs, Walsens and Agnes, then there is another one, but I
can't remember their names. They had them. The Indians. My great-grandfather,
el ta-ta Herman, that's why he was called ta-ta Herman, cause he was the
first settler in this river. This was all wilderness. He came on through
an Indian train over the mountains and he says the old man talked him out
of it, and told him he'd take care of us and he brought us down here. That's
why he told us "If you see the Pineda family in distress, give them a hand, be-
cause they saved our scalps." That Juan that told me about it. And then, I
don't think you know him though, Juan Santos Abila from Gardner...or Red-
wing. One time in 1948, they gave me for total disable from the mines. And
old Charlie Duran, he talked to the rest of the politicians and they gave me
the Democratic headquarters to take care of it while the politics was going
on. And Herrera, he was a musician too. And they asked him to go play and he
went over there to the Democratic headquarters and he asked me to go second
for him. So, I went up to Redwing. There was a Democratic Ralley up there at
night. And two days after, this old man came down and I knew him, but he
didn't know who I was. And he's coming walked by the door see, I mean coming
into get in, in the Democratic headquarters to visit. I got up from the chair
and I opened the door. I says, "Come in Mr. Abila." I pulled the chair and sat
down. And he says, "Young man, sounds like you know me. " I says, "Right Mr.
Abila, I know you. " He says, "But I didn't know who you are." I gave him my
name. But when I told him, he says, "What family do you descend from?" And I
says, "From the Pineda family." "Oh God," he says, "you don't mean to tell me
you descend from the ta-ta Hermana's, who is"..."My great-grandpa." "Ay ay ay,"
he says, "you're a full-blooded American. Old ta-ta Herman was a full-blooded
Indian Navajo. I knew him well. Him came over the mountains and my uncle,
which I was raised by, and he mentioned another man, but I don't recall the
name. They went down through Pass Creek into Gardner to the Huerfano River. They
were the first two settlers over there and my grandpa over here he told me then.
Then I didn't think of anything from Danny on, cause I could have had a writtency
asking for how everything happened. But I didn't think it needed. Then the old man,
then one time in Cameron, there was a PTA meeting and we went over there. And Mr.
Buckler, he was a store manager with the Colorado Supplies for years at the Walsen
Mine. And he was there at that PTA meeting in Cameron and he was telling the
story about Huerfano County and Walsenburg. And he told them, "Do you know you're
going to be surprised what I'm going to tell you. You know the first settlement
village up above was the Walsen Camp where the Red Camp used to be. That's named
after ta-ta Herman. That's where the first schoolhouse and the first church was
built; not down here where the city of Walsenburg is. " After that, he said,
"There was a family or De Leones who came across the river where the bridge
is and the highway goes through the river. They settled there. It was a big
family." And they started building over here, then over there. It was all
Spanish people and a few Italians that came in, you see. Then they built bigger
over here, then over there. And then the CF&I, my dad was born in l865, I'm
not sure, but I think he was. And he was 13 years old when they opened the first
coal mine, that's the old Walsen. It was ACNI and not CF&I, see. And he was 13
years old. Him and Uncle Cruz the older brother, went to work in the mine. Thir-
teen years old. And that's where that camp, that settlement, was built up there.
Then it was an agent I don't remember the name, my dad told me the name of
the fellow. You see they had their properties there, but I don't remember
if they had deeds or not but this man sold everything to the company, the
coal company and they told him to leave the place. They were going to build a camp.
That's when they build that Red Camp above the Walsen Mine below that over pass.
The road to La Veta. That's where it was built. Then when the company built that
red camp, well they made all the men and guys that was working in the mine, move
into the Red houses, they painted it red. That's why they called it Red Camp.
And then they tore all the shanties that the Spanish people had; they cleaned them
out, you see. Then my grandpa and my dad, my dad was just a boy yet, and they
had a bunch of goats. They went up to Bear Creek, they settled over there. And
there's where I was born. And there's where I was born. Up at Bear Creek, 8 miles
above Cameron towards the Spanish Peaks. He used to work in the mines for a living
and we had a little farm up there. I used to work the farm, but my dad got sick
in 1907, the last part of 1907 and I was the only boy, and my older brother, he
was sick too. And I went and asked for a job. I was only, in 1908, I was born
in 1898, in 1908 I was 10 years old and I went and asked for a job at the mine.
They hired me. Well, I worked two years before my dad could go back to work.
Q: What were you doing? What kind of work were you doing?
AP: I was working as greasing cars, feed cars, first. Then I went in the mine
trapping open doors to handle the air in the mine. You shut them doors and the air
circles the other way. That was in 1908. I was 10 years old. I was just in the
second grade. Went two years, I lost from school and my dad could go back to work,
and he says, "Sonny, I want you to go back to school now. I says, "Daddy, I'm too
far back from my class, they're way ahead of me. No, I'm going to keep on working."
So I worked in the coal mines all the time we lived up at the farm. And then let's
see, we were up there at the farm, then, in 1909, that was old Round Dock, that's
where I was working with my dad, and my brother and my grandpa Salazar, my mother's
dad, and my uncles. Then it shut down, in 1909 then McDowell used to own it. The
old man and two brothers owned that mine. They shut it down and they went up to
Ojo up you know in a that, up by the Baldy mountain. That's where that mine,
they opened that mine up there and named it Ojo. And we worked around here you know,
in these other mines; McNalley; my dad worked at the Walsen; we worked at Raven-
wood, then in 1911 we moved. They went and asked for jobs up there you see, and
McDowell, we knew him well. He hired them all. And we moved up there in 1911.
I was 13 years old. Then my dad and my brothers, my brother Pat and my uncles went
to work in the mines. And I asked for a job, you know, and Old Jim McDowell, he
was the superintendent over here and he says, "Kid, you think you could fire that
boil er up on the hill?" That' was the second family. See there used to get the coal
in the mine and run it down where they used to haul the trip outside. I said, "Jim,
I don't know, I never fired a boiler, but I '11 try it." I was 13 years old. He
says, "Tomorrow morning you come out kid." "Ok." I learned how to fire the boiler.
Then in 1913 strike, the McDowell's signed a contract with the United Mine Workers,
and we kept working. Then in February, that's when the contract used to run out.
Used to sign the contract in the first part of August and the contract used to
run out the first part to the last of February in the coal mines. And they shut
down the mines and we moved down here; we were on strike. And when that battle was
with the United Mine Workers, they started at Ludlow, that's where that big monu-
ment is, that's where the United Mine Workers lived in tents. Well, we were at
the farm. And the United Mine Workers had camp tents up at La Veta that was from
Oakview, cause down here when we were...all had little farms and that's where
we were. Then they hired the Militia. They brought the Militia, the CF&I. Well,
then there was nothin but hobos. They used to go up there at the farms and rob the
Spanish people out of everything. Well, then this battle started up there and
started over here with the guards, with the company of the United Mine workers.
Well, they burned up the guards and the Militia came at two o ' clock in the morning
and started fire in that camp where the United Mine Workers were camped at Ludlow.
And we started back there, let's see from Big Four in Tioga, down this way.
And we drove the scabs all this way .I was 15 years old. And there was, we
were sitting behind that hogback, then when the battles got over there, them
fellows when they drove us, all the guards and everything you know down to
Rouse and over here, we weren't behind that hogback and they had a spotlight
up right on that little hill that used to be the Walsen Camp, the tank for the
water and there was a fellow named...I knew his name well, but I don't
remember anymore. He used to handle the spotlight. And they were shooting
the scabs and the guards and the Militia were shooting from that little hill
you know, from this hill from here, up above, you know. Up above the tracks.
They were shooting towards Hogback. And the United Mine Workers were shooting
from over there and one night a man went up see, he used to climb up on the
tree and get up there with that spotlight. He used to turn that spotlight to-
wards the Hogback and the guy up there; he was a sharp shooter, and he'd shoot
that light out. He set it up twice. And when he shot the second time, he piled
off of there. He got off from there and when he started down from that pinon
tree, the bullet hit one of the limbs; it was the one he was standing on see.
It broke and down they went. Well then, we were over there, and the guards
and the Militia they had a trench where the Colorado Supply used to be right
there where that filling station is. The big filling station on W. 7th. That's
where the Colorado Supply Company store was and they built a trench of sacks
of sand and instead of firing up that way with machine guns, they shot them
down 7th Street and 6th. They killed a man laying on his cot and the rest
of the people started running. Well, then when it got so bad from up there,
the United Mine Workers, there was a couple of Greeks Ithink they were, that
built a cannon. And first to try it out, they tied it with a chain to a tree
and they put a little too much powder in it and it killed one of the men. The
United Mine Workers men. They had old man Blas; I think Blas was his name,
hauling bolts from that burro mine over there. And they filled that up with
bolts and everything with a six inch pipe but I don't remember how long it
was. And with that powder they blasted it and it flew over this hill where
the guards and the Militia men all was there. And it popped just like those
firecrackers. Everything flew all over. All them guards were up there at
that ranch dragging the 30-30 rifles. They took off. And then when that
happened, they called for the Federals and then the Federals came in. They
had cannons, on the cars, on railroad cars. They were going to shoot that
Hogback on top of us. But they were on the loud speaker. I think it was Gen-
eral Pershins. I don't remember his name that came and on the loudspeaker he
spoke and he told them to quit firing. They says, "We quit firing. Did you
fellows come to make peace or fight?" He says, "We came to make peace." Ok.
But before that when they started, I forgot that part, old Doc Lester was
the captain or the Militia. They went up this hill over here, what they call
it, where that tank is?
Q: W hill ?
AP: Yeah, they was going to drive the United Mine Workers because they
said that old Jeff Farr told them that they had only shot guns up there
and they tried to go down that way, and they just fired at them, and they
started running down, just this side of the Hogback, about where that new
school house is built now. High school. And some sharp shooter with a 30-30
over there, he ran ahead of the rest of them. Bingo! It killed him. Then they
started running. The rest of the Militia came down the court house. They had
ole Jeff Farr, the sheriff, by the collar. They said, "You said they had shot
guns up there. They got 30-30's." Well then, General Pershin, I believe it
was him, he came with the Federals and he said, "We came to make peace."
Ok. Render your arms. Then the company, they lost some men. They wanted to
put a case against the United Mine Workers you see. General Pershin says,
"No. An eye for an eye and that's that. So there was nothing else. Then we
had to strike one then. But then the president of the company, I believe
his name was Wilson, of District 15, he sold us out. And the first part,
the last part of April, they told us the strike is lost and he took off.
The company gave him so much money and he took off, down way back east or
I don't know where, and he bought him a big property, and he just pulled
the rug out from under us. We used to go to ask for work at the coal mines
and they'd say, "Get out of here." And they used to cuss us out, "You dirty
red necks," cause we used to carry a red handkerchief to identify ourselves
see. So we know we wouldn't shoot our men. That's where they got the red necks.
And the scabs was the men that worked with the company. Well, the strike was
settled but we had an awful time to get a job. But they had so many men from
old Mexico working in the mines and they didn't know how to work it. So, they
started hiring the old miners back again. And they had production. Then after
that, we worked for the company in the coal mines the rest of our lives. I
left in 1948; I got sick and became totally disabled. Then is when Mr. Bob
Gardner throwed me out of the union. He didn't want to take my dues anymore
so I don't get no United Mine Workers pension on account of that. So, I'm
out. When I was the one, we were the ones who built the fire and the ones
that carried guns for Mr. CF&I, they got the jobs and when it came to pension
or anything else, they got everything. We built that fire and we're out in
the cold freezing ourselves. That's just the way United Mine Workers operates.
I know they're dead already, some fellows you know, that were behind that
Hogback. They were older than I; they didn't get no pension. they didn't get
anything out of it. And neither did I. So, that's that. That was in '51. I
worked in the bank till 1971. I was the custodian, then they wanted to
lower my salary, cut down my salary, because they put in a gas furnace and
they didn't. I had to go clean the new bank, the drive-in, that is when they
put it in. And they didn't figure that. So I didn't agree and then they put
it out on bids. I used to get $277.50 a month, and old Joe Bocim...John
Bocim; he bidded for $150 and he got it. He poked his eye. He thought I
was taking it easy. Then you see, just before that. Social Security got
after me. I was 68 already and I didn't ask for my Social Security. They
dropped a card to me and wanted to see me and I went down there. And I dropped
the card to the man on the desk, he looked at me and said, "What have you been
doing man?" I said, "Why, nothing wrong that I know of!" And he says, "Well no,
I believe you but you got Uncle Sam in debt with you already. Why haven't you
quit?" "Well, I'm working; I'm able to work," I said. Then he insisted that
I take my social security. Then they cut me down on the bank, so I quit al-
together. But I put in twenty years. After that, well, I'm retired. I've been
taking it easy. But my great-grandpa, and my grandpa came from Conejos River.
You see, those brothers, they didn't know of each other anymore. One brother
took South and the other one came down here to the Cucharas River. One fellow
told me once from old Mexico, there were Pinedas in old Mexico, but they
didn't belong there. I told him, "You're right, they don't belong there,
they're Americans." That brother of my great-grandpa, that's where the
Pinedas family comes from, over in old Mexico. When I was, in 1948, in
Fitzsimmons, they had a boy there that was in the service. And he got
sick and had trouble and they had him in the hospital. They had us on
x-rays and that major, the doctor, he says, "They finally got the two
Pinedas together. I told him, "You do?" He said, "Yes." "Not from here,"
I told him.! He says, "No, don't you know you got relatives in the coast?"
I said, "I understand we have some, but we don't know them." He says, "We
got one here and then he came around right in between, you know. He says,
"Are you a Pineda?" I says, "Right." And he asked me where I was from and
I told him from Huerfano County, born and raised there. He says, "Can you
tell me where we belong'?" I says, "Yes, I can tell you." And I told him about
that brother, my great-grandpa that took on South, and that's where he
went, to old Mexico. The Pinedas that are over there, they don't belong
there. They're Americans.
Q: Well, Mexico was part of the United States at one time you know.
Q: What kind of transportation did you have when you were growing up over
here, was it horse and buggy?
AP: Oh yeah. When we used to work in Ideal. We walked the biggest part of
the time, in summertime, to work and in the winter time we used to ride the
spring wagon. We used to take feed for the horses. We used to move down
to the camp in winter time. We lived at the camp. And then in summertime,
the spring, we used to move up to the ranch to plant and have a crop.
Q: What crops did you grow?
AP: Corn, beans, peas, horse beans, lentils, everything. We had plenty.
Because if it hadn't been for that little farm we had, those poor coal
miners would have starved, and their families because we used to work them
first days you know, 12 and 14 hours a day for $1. And you see the companies
used to have a, they got used to that 90 percent profit. With 10’ they used
to pay the worker and make the expenses and save 90 percent from a dollar.
Ninety cents off of a dollar. That's why I say, if it hadn't been that
mother provided so well, I guess the biggest part of the people, because
people that lived down here in town, they used to go and work during the crop
season, for beans, for something to eat down here. The people that lived here
in Walsenburg, the biggest part of them were coal miners too, but they
didn't have nothing doing because the mines only worked four months out of
the year. The rest of the time we worked one day a month or two days in a
month. Them were hard days. I'm not going to mention that I told you about
the republican party how poor it was.
Q: What was it like during the depression?
AP: During the depression? Well, the coal miners, the people that wasn't
working, they had to beg for something to eat. That was when Hoover got
elected. Everything went down. From one day to another, the shoes was $14
and some cents, a pair of shoes, dress shoes. They dropped down to $3 and a
half dollars a pair. The flour was $8, $7 and $8 a hundred; it dropped down
to where it used to be. $2 a hundred. But we didn't have no work, what to
buy it with. Good thing the good Lord, the little farms used to provide
and that's where we made our living out of. That's where your dad and your
grandpa made a living with that little farm there. And it was rough. Of course,
I was already married during the depression and I was a Democrat all my life,
but I guess I was like a mule to work, and I had that advantage. The president
of the company, Mr. Lexy, got to like me because I was a good worker. During
the depression, first we were pretty hard up you know, but I had credit with
the Colorado Supply. I didn't come down here for anything that they used to
give. The rest of them used to tell me, "Alfonso, why don't you go down there
after some bacon and butter and things that they used to give the poor people.
I says, "No, I don't need it yet. Let somebody else that really needs it, have
it." I was in debt when the mine started working again in August. But I managed
to pay that bill again. And my credit was always good at the Colorado Supply.
I didn't get anything from what they used to give the poor people. That's one
thing I thank the Lord. And then in 1932, that's when Hoover got in on 1928,
everything went out. Work, the living went down, everything. We didn't have
nothing to buy it with. Now we got, might as well say, a depression. But we
got what to buy it with even if it's high. The living is so high, but we got
money to buy it with, just getting by but it's alright. You people are al-
right. And, you know, if you don't save now, watch it, you're going to get hit
again. That's what it's coming to. Nobody's going to kid me, that it ain't so.
That's where we're headed for a hard depression to hit, to start like it did
during the depression, everything went down. Money and everything. There was
very little pay. The highest wages then at the coal mine was $7.75 and we went
down to $2.50, the drivers that used to drive the mules in the mine.
Q: $2.50 an hour or a day?
AP: A day. All day for 10 hours, yeah. You see and that's what they're trying
to do now, go to the bottom and have a new start. That's just exactly; I may
not see it, but that's where it's headed for. They're trying to get us down.
You know why? Because the Republicans are trying to get that Dictatorship.
That's where Nixon was headed for and he got throwed out. They caught up
with him just in time. A weakly start, killing each others for a piece of
bread. And that's just where it's headed for, that's why I tell you, people
are getting money, save it. Tighten yourselves up and save because you're
going to regret it, gonna want it if you live long enough. You're young yet...
I put the money in the bank. The Lord helped me I guess. I put the kids
through college. But Marie went first and then Juanita. She got to be a
registered nurse, and Maria is a secretary. Maria can handle them, what
you call them machines?
AP: Computers. Yeah.
Q: When you were brought up, was there any kind of disease people feared
a lot when they were...
AP: Oh yes, them days they used to call, the small pox were dangerous.
Then the measles, (Satantion) they used to call it. Then there was scarlet
fever, the people didn't have, there were hardly any doctors over here, but
what could, the poor people didn't have money to pay a doctor. They used
to just use herbs to cure people. During the influenza, it wasn't so much
that people died of the sickness, the influenza, it was the doctors that
killed them. The doctors used to give them poison to kill them. When they used
to call a doctor and the doctor look at a patient and says, "Give them this
medicine after I go, " and then you might as well call the mortuary to come
and pick them up in two hours. That's the way they did it, the doctors. We
got to, may the Lord bless him, Dr. Chapman. Dr. Chapman used to say to the
steward, "Go get that gallon of white mule and get 'em all drunk." And that
did it. They used to get a gallon of white mule and fed all the family at
night and the next morning, why they were all...Dr. Chapman didn't kill
no one. But the rest of the doctors did. Of course, they'd say no cure, no
cure, no cure. There wasn't, but they just wanted to kill people. Yeah, during
the depression, there was sickness you know, influenza, that's what they fear
Q: Was the flu more feared than the scarlet fever?
AP: Oh, yeah. Flu was. Well, it was a fever too, and flu, catch a cold and
just like the moonie, something like it. And, of course, you know them days,
there were very few people that died of a heart attack. I remember, but I
can't recall who it was out there in Laguna up this way, up in Bear Creek
and North Veta and altogether, I believe there was one person that died of
a heart attack. One person that I can remember them days. Now everyday,
everyday, everybody. I've had two heart attacks in that room there. But still,
let's see, in 1929 I believe it was, I went to the Veterans Hospital for a
hernia surgery. Captain Klinger, Dr. Ratchet was in this new Veterans Hos-
pital, when they checked my heart you know. They took, I believe they call
it a catheter, something like that. They put fans down here you know, and they
run just like a film. And when they were going, two interns was running it.
I was going down. I was in Ward 4 going down to the PX to buy me a bar of candy
and a funny book. I used to read funny books. I still the paper everything
I look at is the funnies, in the morning. And they were running that film
and one of them says, "Hey, hey, hey stop it, stop it!" It had a piece better
than three quarters of an inch white. One asked the other, "Why is that?"
That patient had a heart attack. So I looked at it and I went to buy me a
bar of candy and my funny book. And I raised up my bed from the head to eat
my bar of candy and here comes Dr. Ratchet, "Hey, Pineda!" "Yes doctor what's
wrong?" I answered. "When did you have that heart attack?" I says, "Doc, I
don't recall it. You know I had one way in this life that anything that happens
to me happens. I don't, look back. I just try to rub it off of my mind. I
don't never look back. I look ahead. I begin to thinking you know, the
next day, I remembered and I told him. He said, "You had that heart attack,
I don't know how you're alive. You got a black spot that big around in your
heart. That's how bad that heart attack was. I don't know how you're alive."
I says, "The old man up above didn't need me yet." And he looked at the other
guys, there was eight of us guys, he looked at them and said, "That old man,
he's got up there, he's got a lot of faith in him." I says, "That's the last
thing I'll ever do is lose faith. He's the big boy. Sickness, I've had quite
a few of it." In 1939 I had this leg paralyzed for four months, at the Cor-
win Hospital. Finally, they used to give me electric treatments. The doctor
used to pinch me with a pin and I didn't used to feel it. The only thing I
felt was my big toe. That pain used to run from here on down; they called it
sciatic pains. Don't know what it was, but it was four months before I could
depend on my foot. I still tripped when I was walking. Then I've had five
surgeries, hernia and this last one was my gallstones taken out. Let's see,
that was in '72, I believe, '72 or '73. That was the hospital in Denver where
Juanita took her training and that's where she used to work. She used to work
in the surgery ward. And ever since then oh, I get around pretty well. I can't
do no work at all. I try to work but I get so weak. But, otherwise, I get along
pretty well. They don't believe that I am 80 years old. I '11 be 81 this corning
month. Yeah, that's older than your dad.
Q: Happy Birthday. Juanita, was she raised a Catholic?
AP: Yeah. Well, they got married through the Catholic church. And so did Maria.
And Ralph goes to church with us. He is married. They got their church. And
the little ones say, 'Grandpa, why don't you go to church with us sometimes?"
I says, "ok." I've been with them twice to their church. I says, "It makes no
difference to me, anybody worships the Lord." That's the way I feel. I don't
got nothing against other religions. That's their belief. Course, there is so
many religions; only one God. That's what I claim to them. The Catholic religion
is the oldest religion there is. The first one. But people started...
that that came from, what's his name?
Q: Martin Luther?
AP. Yeah. Luther. He was a Catholic priest. And he fell in love with a nun.
He wanted to marry her. And Catholics won't allow him to marry her. And he
started the protestant religion. He made the people believe there was another
religion. Might as well say another God. You know that life is the way you
can take it now. I'm taking it easy. I'm pretty old. But I...now I'm ok. I
am kicking again. But I feel ok, but I went through my bad times and I don't
mean maybe. Did I tell you that my dad got sick first? I was just a little
kid. He says, "Sonny, no one to plant this spring but you." I hooked up
the team of horses on that plow and that plow used to run out from under the
dirt and there I was draggin back in up the horses to get 'em in line you
know, and one day that plow liked to kill me. You see, that...what the hell
they call it? Mansedra in spanish; it hit a rock going to the plow and it
flew up and hit me in the chest. And knocked my wind out. But I managed to
straighten up the horses back again. Then when it came to taking care of
the crops, and everything started growing up, I had to take care of every-
thing. That summer I suffered but I managed. I was only 7 years old, just
a little kid. Before that, I was just a little toot, might as well say. We
had cows and there were no fence way up there you know. And all that down,
clear down to them mines was no fences at all. And the cows used to go down
this...round up where the Montez and that little coal mine above the Ideal
Road about 23 miles up that canyon is. They used to come down there and I had
to walk. My mother won't let me ride a horse because she was afraid the horse
would throw me off and get hurt. I used to walk down there, you know old Jeff
Farr, there was a fence. The highway used to be all along the track, railroad
track. Well, it was just a wagon road but they used to call it, might as
well say the highway then. And he had a fence all along side that road.
And be brought Texas cattle and them Longhorns like that. They used to get
out of that fence. And I used to find them with my cows. The only thing,
defense I had was a sling shot. I used to get up on them hills, you know,
and I had my little coat in case it rained. Fill up my pockets with them
little round rocks. And boy, if they were in the prairie, there was trees and
them cows used to start, them steers, towards me and started running after
me. I used to climb the trees, but there was no trees. All I had was my sling
shot. I put a rock in that, I was pretty good at that. They just took one and
ahhhh, they would leave me alone. And the Lord took care of me. One time I
remember I was down there way late, got dark and I could hear, cause that
bell on one of the cows head was the only bell that sounded that way. I heard
that sound you know. Weren't the cows laid down? It was already night. And
the cow was chewing you know and it sounded that bell runs and tracked them
going up Bear Creek. There's a big ridge of rock, they were behind that.
I found them and I used to carry a stick for a care you know. Rattlesnakes,
there were a lot of and I started with the cows and I just turned them on,
around that cliff and my dad met me. He heard the bell, that's how he found
me. He says, "Sonny, what are you doing here so late?" "Well, daddy" I says,
"You sent me after the cows." He says, "But we didn't mean for you to stay
this late." I didn't know any better. I was going to look for them cows til
I found them. Walked, mind you, because my mother wouldn't let me ride a
horse. She was afraid I'd fall off of a horse because I couldn't stay on;
my legs were too short. And I used to like to make a horse run and the
horse, you know the way they'd move, I'd slip off, slide off that horse
and down I went. My dad, one day he seen me and he told Mama, "I'm afraid
one of them horses will kill this doggone mosquito. He gets on one of them
horses and he makes them run when he can stay on. But I was raised on a
horse farm. A lot of them says, you know I wear boots and they say, "Where's
the cows?" I say, "No cows now but there was some. I was raised on a horse-
back." You know old Jake Vigil, I think you know him. He died over here. He
was old Jeff Farrs favorite cowboy.
Q: Tell me how you got into fiddling?
AP: Oh fiddling, I learned that all by myself at the faro. See, my Uncle
Fronesimo and my brother Pat were the same age when we used to work in 1907
at old Round Dock. They bought a fiddle and I used to work see, and oh, they
didn't. They were always squeaking that fiddle and I asked my dad, I says,
"I want you to buy me one." Well, I worked already. He says, "No son, use-
lessness. You know they ain't going to learn anything. Within a month the
fiddle is all yours." and that was right. They couldn't play. I had to get out
of my mind how to tune that fiddle, everything everything. I learned by
memory, by heart. The music just hear it sometimes when there was a dance
or a wedding, from the musicians. And my mother used to tell me that I'd
squeak them out and I didn't know how to tune that fiddle. I did the best
I could. "Put that fiddle away," she says. My dad says, "Leave him alone,
see what comes out of that." She says, "But that squeak!" He says, "Let
him go." After about three months, one night I came out from work and I was
tired and I went and laid down, just on top of the cot, and my mom says,
"Aren't you going to play the fiddle tonight?" And my dad says, "No, you're
tired of that squeak." She said, "But we could understand it now." Then I
got to learn the fiddle; I learned to tune it; I learned everything, all
by myself at the farm. Then a fellow up above you know I wanted a guitar.
Well, we were hard up and he says, and he stopped, "Oh kid, I heard you
wanted to buy a guitar." I says, "What with, I got no money." He looked at me
and says, "I'll take 50 pounds of grain." Ok. We had it. That's what I gave
him for the guitar and then I had to learn how to tune it and everything, so
I learned to play both instruments. Well, then I played til 1919. I don't
like that, always going out to play music. And ok, so I sold the fiddle and
the guitar that I had. I had good instruments; for $5 a piece. Then during
depression that's one thing that came back on me. Up at the farms where we
used to live in Cameron they were making dances every night in different
houses. They paid one dollar a piece; one for the fiddler and one for the
guitar. And I thought, one dollar is very nice. So, I thought I'd try it
and I went to look for the old fiddle. It was all splinters on the top bead
and I used some glue and I pasted it all together just to try it out and
when I fixed it up there was snow up to here, and I didn't have a car. Me and
Modesto, it was late about 5 o'clock I guess, and it was dark and I says,
"You want to walk down town with me, I got to get things for that fiddle."
I walked in that Fawks Drug Store and he says, "Can I help you?" I says,
"I want everything but a fiddle; strings, russin, and bow." He looked at
me and says, "I might as well sell you a fiddle." I says, "Not yet. I got
an old fiddle that I fixed up at home. I'm gonna try it. I was a fiddler
before, since 1919, it's '32 now." Ok, I took them and fixed up the fiddle
and start playing and says, "Well, you play that fiddle just like you used
to before." Then I got to playing just as soon as the people heard my music
back again. Well, I was playing every Saturday at the dance and that's how
come I got so that I had a wedding to play every Saturday then on a Sunday,
a baptism or a party, in the middle of the week a party. A birthday party,
and oh God, I went so far workin so hard in the coal mine that I used to
come to town and meet a friend of mine there and I stopped to talk to him
on the sidewalk and before I knew it, I was sound asleep standing up. I
was all tired out you know, till I told him. I says, "I better quit this
or I'm going to die standing up."
Q: Playing the fiddle?
AP: Yup, playing the fiddle. Well, I played it til I found out, you know,
the last wedding. I don't remember, they were Mondragons, his daughter,
they used to live on 8th Street. They paid me to play in their reception.
And all I could get f or me and my partner was $12. Six dollars a piece
from about 11 o'clock to 5 o'clock in the evening. Then they asked me to go
to the dance at the Pavillion. They had an orchestra see. There was this
Buddy Griego from La Veta, he second for me twice because the war separated
me and Modesto. First they took me and then they just exchanged that.
Modesto used to second for me, my boy. Well, I had to look for a second all
the time and this boy second twice and he was in that orchestra. When we
finished dancing, I came over there. I said, "Hi, hi." "Are you still play-
ing Mr. Pineda?" I said, Right, I played on that reception today. He says,
"You giving that pretty music away Mr. Pineda? You know well what I'm talking
about. They don't pay soles hardly anything. That's why I got a new orchestra."
And I says, "Well, how much do they pay you?" He says, "Five dollars an hour
a piece. Fifteen dollars for three hours." "And I played," I says, "ti1 5-10:30,
11 o'clock til 5 o'clock for $6 for me and $6 for my mate? They'll never hear
my music again." I came home and I put that fiddle away; no more. It's been
put away. You see, after I learned and found out that I could play music, I
ordered the fiddle that I got. I ordered it from a fellow that had a music
house here, his name was, his last name was Holiday. And I went to see if
he had a fiddle there and he says, "I have to order one Mr. Pineda. I
haven't got one." And one day I was coming to this street and he hollered
at me and says, "Oh, I got an old time fiddle here." I looked at it and
says, "How much do you want for it?" "$75. It's an old timer." I says,
"Mr .Holiday , I want to tell you one thing. I don't want you to get mad,
at me, but do you want to really know the truth?" He says, "Yes." I says,
"I wouldn't give you $5 for that fiddle." "But it's an old timer." I says,
"It makes no difference how old the instrument is, it's the wood in it. It
hasn't got it. Get a piece of paper and write down What I'm gonna tell you
to write down. That fiddle...with spruced up Mohagany neck, and the wood
stripped across on the neck, and stripes across two piece back with stripes
across, wide stripes. No more than $100," because that was during depression.
"I can't pay you more than $100 for it." "Ok," he said. He sent the order
and he sent for 2 of them. And he called me and said, "Come in Mr. Pineda,
I got two fiddles there. " He didn't tell me he was gonna try me out see.
He says, "This one is $25 and this is what you ordered, $100." "Ok," I
says, "I'm gonna tune up the $25 fiddle and play you a hoe down." Cutillio
they call it in Spanish. I played it. "Now I'm gonna play it on the better
fiddle, what I ordered," I says. I played the same thing. "Ahhh, there is
a difference in that tune, in that fiddle. You know instruments," he says.
I says, "We11, I played music since I was a boy. I can tell if the instrument
is any good or not. You got me what I wanted." And after that, I was at home
and the guy from the factory was on vacation. He was looking for trainees.
He used to give them 20 lessons for $20 and he used to give them small
fiddles for training. And if the boy learned to fiddle, he let him have
the fiddle. I told him, "I got a little fiddle there that I can lend you."
So we started to talking and he said, "Let me see that fiddle that you say
you got," and I brought it out and took it out of the case and handed it
to him. "Ooh, you call that a little fiddle? That's a fiddle," he says.
Then he looked at me and he says, "You don't know who you are talking to."
I says, "No, of course not. This is the first time I've met you. He says,
"The fiddle is age, wood age 1720. The way it's got written on the inside.
I put that fiddle together. That wood came from the old buildings from
Italy. We got scalpers fixed up hanging at the factories, and I put it
together for you." See, that was during the depression. And he asked me
then, he played me a hoe down and I played one. He says, "You could play
that fiddle pretty good." And he says, "How much did you pay for that fiddle,
how much did he charge you?" I says, "$100 bucks." He says, "He gave it to
you, because that fiddle is worth $500. And I kept it and kept on playing
it. One time in 1965, between 60 and 65, I was playing in La Veta for the
fourth of July for the Spanish and American people and they had a dance at
the Kincaid Hall, you know that big house going in, you know, that you used
to call it the Kincaid building. When I finished playing a Waltz, a guy
in front of me, he looked at me and says, "You mind if I look at your in-
strument?" I says, "Not a bit." I handed it to him, you know and he told the
guys standing on behind him and behind me, he says, "No wonder, look at
what he's playing, a 1720 Strand divories. He says, "That fiddle, we could
of...you just finished playing the hoe down," and I says, "Right." "We
could hear that fiddle so plain; while the orchestra was playing this hoe
down, we could of danced it over there, across the street," he says. And
the other fellow told him, "Don't give all the credit to the fiddle, that
man could play that fiddle." You know that guy offered me $1,000 for it and
I told him it's not for sale. And when I was working at the bank, one time
Mr. Dowdy asked me when we were having a dinner at the bank, in the evening,
he asked me, "Alfonso, bring your fiddle down so you give us a little
entertainment." I go, "Ok." I brought it down. And Paul Krier, he was one
of the bank men and stockholder and he carried insurance all the time.
He looked at it and saw the date it was made and he says, "Alfonso, I'll
give you an insurance for $50,000 on that fiddle." I says, "That's pretty
high, ain't it?" He says, "That fiddle is worth every bit of it. " And I
still got it. They wanted to buy it, this other Spanish people, they wouldn't
give me nothing for it. He says, "Will you sell the fiddle'?" "Useless me
telling you what I want for it." "Cause you want a fortune for it!" "It's
worth a fortune." Yeah, I wouldn't sell that fiddle to nobody. I still can
play it but I don't want to. You see, they had me playing down there.
Father Gallagher and Sullivan they heard me play it over there. "Gee
Alfonso," they say, "boy you could play that fiddle." "Nothing like I used
to," I says, "I'm all out of practice." "But you done well." Now they want
me again at the Senior Citizens. I says nothing doing. I'm fet up with it.
I don't want people to get after me that they want me to play parties, they
want me to play this and that. I says no more. They won't pay me. Because
after I put that fiddle away, there were weddings right along, and, come on
I want you to play the wedding. I says, "You pay me five dollars an hour,
I'll go." "Oh, that's too much money." "Well pay it to the orchestra men."
Q: They pay more than that now, they pay about $20.
AP: Oh, yeah. They get good pay. But they won't pay it to me, so nothing doing.
I could play that old time music just the same.
Q: You played for our wedding too, I remember.
AP: Yeah, I played for all of yous. All the families' weddings. Ever since
then they don't get me to play, nothing doing now. They wanted me to play
for this doings they had here about a month ago, remember, in the court
house, for Father's Day. I went to Broomfield. Mrs. Marchiori mentioned
my name over there that I was gonna be on the music. I said, "No, Josephine.
No, no, no, don't put me on that." They all looked at me. They were all
pretty sure that I'd go. I says, "No." Then I told Marchiori I haven't got
a second. The guy is sick. I says, "You understand what I am talking about?"
"Now I know why." I says, "If I could get a second man, a man that would give
me the right time, I'm willing to, for the Senior Citizens but, otherwise,
no way. Them Garcias they call them.
Q: Oh, yeah, Shorty?
AP: Shorty and...they wanted here about five years ago. Shorty asked me
if I'd join them, playing that fiddle, all that old time music. And they
wanted it. Uh-uh, not in the taverns. I don't believe in playing in the
taverns. I never did play in the taverns, I don't believe in it. I'll play
in a dance hall or anyplace, a wedding or anyplace except a tavern. Because
drunkards, you see, I got just playing in the dance some other fiddler was
drunk, I got saliva, I got everything on that fiddle that I can't take it
off. It's got a spot, a mark on there that I can't take it off. I don't dare
to scrape it and paint it, cause that will ruin the tune. That will ruin the
tune. Unless you get an expert, and send it to the factory, see, have it
sand papered again, and repainted and finished. Because over there, they
use some kind of oil and all that finish, no paint. That's why that fiddle
I won't get rid of it. You know I told the Misses that if anything happens
to me, leave it in the family. But don't go let the kids if they learn to
play it, let them have it. If they just gonna fool around, I says, then not
a toy. That's worth a lot of money. Don't let them have it. If they're gonna
break it, don't let them have it. One of the little ones, I got an accordian
that's...Juanita used to play. I paid a hundred and 50 dollars for that second
hand they make...I got a five hundred dollar white one in there yet, it's a
hundred, made in Switzerland. I was playing it already see, because Mary Ellen
used to play it when she was at St. Mary's too in the orchestra. They both
played it. But, you see, I was playing the fiddle and before you know it,
I had put the fiddle away. That's why I quit playing. I already, I knew it
by heart. I could play polkas, waltzes and everything with the accordian.
That's why I put it away. Yeah, well that's about all that I could tell
that I can remember, you know, of course, there are a lot of things that
I don It remember. Worked in the coal mines all my life till, 40 years to
be exact. Forty years since 1908 to 1948 that the doctors throwed me out,
for total disable. I went through a lot in the coal mines. That's an
experience that I don't care, I don't remember at all well. I was injured
in the mine, in 1918. I got my back, you know I didn't know how bad I was
injured, because I didn't report that. And the doctor was in Ideal, the
CF&I doctor, was in the camp. I stayed home three days with that leg para-
lyzed, might as well say limping and the fourth day I told the misses to
rub some linament and I went to work with that leg kind of numb. And ever
since then I know, when I didn't have a car you know, from Ideal, about 6
miles up to my dads, I had to walk them hills, and when I got up there I was
bleeding from that left leg. I didn't know, I didn't think I was injured
that bad. When I went to the service, they caught up with me. You see, I
was limping all the time on drilling on arms. Finally the commander, we was
gonna go overseas in December the 7th in '42 and November just before we
went, about November the 15th, the commander caught up with me, he says,
"Pineda, what's wrong with that left leg of yours?" I asked him why. I
used to clinch my teeth you know, the drilling, just the same as the rest
of the boys. But I limped. He says, "I've been noticing that you limp that
left leg." I says, "I'd like to know." He send me for a physical and when
they got through with me, that captain, major, three doctors, he says,
'Put your clothes on, and will you interpret two boys there for me. And he
found out that I was...speak the English real well you know. I says,
"Ok." And I interpreted, see there's a letter, a paper written like that in
English that you got to read to every soldier. They give it to you to read
and if you don't know how to read, they have somebody. And they were Spanish
and I translated, read it in Spanish, and it was written in English. Well,
then we got through with those two boys and he says, "Have your papers filled?"
I said, "No, where are they?" I left them at that stool over there that I was
sitting on. He said, "Go get them." When we got down to education, "How much
education?" I says, "Well, sir, might as well say none. Second grade." He
Looked at me, "You mean to tell me that's all the education you had in school,
Second grade?" "That's right. I went to work in the coal mine when I was 10
years old, in 1908," I says. "Is that how old you are? You don't show any
more than 35," he says. "I am 44 years old sir. " And he says, "You mean to
tell me that's all the education you got? You speak your English so well.
You read that letter in Spanish and it's written in English, translated it
in Spanish. You read it just like you read it in English to them boys, I
can't understand it." I says, "Well, to make it short sir, I learned it all
the hard way." He said, "Boy you got a good head on you." I says, "Well, in
1915, they fired me from the coal mine. I was driving the mule and I got fired.
Let's see, the last part of November, that's when I got fired, before Christmas,
about 2 weeks before that I walked in the store, and Mr. Erkins, the store
manager, he says, "Hey kid," they used to call me at the CF&.I, kid, all the time!
I've worked since I was a kid. "Kid, you ain't working are you?" I says, "No,
I got fired. " He looked at me and he says, "You want to work in the store?"
I says, "I'll try it." "Good," he says, "you come out tommorrow morning." I
went to work, he put me driving the store wagon. And it was two days and boy,
they had that store crowded. See, all them farmers above Ideal used to come to
Ideal and buy there and trade there. Groceries, clothing and everything. And
finally, they used to use books you know to charge it. I got in behind that
counter and I started waiting on the people and writing it down. Mr. Erkins
looked at me and says, "Let me see, keep it up kid," so I kept up. Well,
he just hired me for the holidays after the holidays he looked at me and says,
"You could stay in the store kid." And, well I worked till about late 1920. When
the wages of the drivers went up to $4.75 I was only getting $65 a month at the
store as a clerk. And I asked Mr. Erkins for higher wages and he said he couldn't
give them to me because that was the standard salary of the company, the CF&I
and the Colorado Supply was the same thing. Standard wages they had. And I told
him, "Well, I'm going to go back in the coal mines and drive them mules for
$4.75." Boy, he looked at me and says, "Alfonso, I hate to lose you. I need you
so bad," because they had about ninety percent old Mexico people and them ladies
used to walk in there and they didn't speak a word in English and I was the
only one that could wait on them. They used to buy from shoes, socks, for babies
and everything from the store. And I told him, "If you can't give me no more,
I'm going back to the coal mine. " So, I went back again. Well, as I was telling
you, when they got through with me over there the papers came the third day.
The captain, I don't remember, Montgomery or Ward was his name, the doctor in the
wards name or either of them. He called me over and he says, "Pineda, you're
going home." I says, "Why?" He says, "You ain't mad are you?" I says, "No, of
course not. I'm not mad but I'm willing to go through." He says, "You ain't
afraid to go on the other side to the war?" I said, "No. I want to go see what
the other side looks like." "You ain't afraid to get killed?" "No. If I was born
to die over there," I says, "that's just as far as I go; if I wasn't born to die
over there, I'm coming back. " He says, "You got a lot of faith." I says, "The
good old boy up there, he'll know what to do with me. If I'm coming back or not."
He says, "Boy you got a lot of faith." I says, "Right, that's the last thing
I'll ever lose. "He says, "But Pineda, you got a bad leg on you." I says, "Well,
I know I got trouble with it. " He says, "You don It know how bad...you told
me you squeezed by a pit car in the mine against the timber in 1918, right?
What were you, a human being or a mule?" I says, "Well, I got to admit I'm a pretty
strong man." He says, "You ain't broad; you're just slim and tall." I says,
"Yeah, but I was a pretty strong man." And he looked at me and said, "As I
said before, mule not a man." You had, your back is twisted, you got a sciatic
nerve injured, a broken disk, your back is twisted. And didn't you feel that hip
of yours broken? It shows on the x-rays, where it healed. There is a scar there.
That's why I tell you. A mule not a human being." I says, "Yeah." He says,
"It healed up itself, but you still limp because your back is in bad shape. You
go on home, and ask for a lighter job." Ok, then I asked McBreyer, the superin-
tendent; I had worked almost a year, on pick and shovel again. I stopped at the
office and the superintendent, he turned his back at me and the boys were leaving
then to the war you know, to the service. And he told me he didn't have nothing
but a pick and shovel and I told him what to do with it. I got mad. And I lost
my head. Because I was told by the, Mr. Lee, the president of the company, he
put it in the books, because he found out that I was fired twice from the com-
pany because I stuck for my rights, see. Then he found out and he put it in the
books: The kid can't be fired from the company unless I fire him and that will
never happen. He told me after. But, I lost my head and I quit on my own. And
I was over 45. So, CF&I wouldn't hire in them days, men over 45. And I still
think they got that rule. They won't hire a man over 45. So I quit on my own.
After about 5 years after, Bob Harris, the general superintendent of the coal
mines, he dropped me a card, and I don't know who gave him my address, over here.
I went down there and I walked in and sit down, and a man came out and says to
me, "Who do you want to see?" "Mr. Harris. " "Your name?" And I told him my name
and he said, "Tell that guy to come in here. I want to talk to him." I stepped
by the door. "Hi kid. I says, "Hi Mr. Harris." "Come in sit down. I wanted to
see you so bad," he says. I says, "Yes Mr. Harris, what's on your mind? Shoot."
He says, "Are you still with the company or not?" I says, "No, Mr. Harris, I'm
not with the company." "I've been missing your names in the books for quite a
while," he says, "that's why I dropped that card to you. I wanted to see you. You
didn't get fired, did you?" "No," I says, "I quit on my own." "What happened?
I says, "Mr. McBreyer made me lose my head, made me mad, and before I realized it,
I quit. I knew I lost, that's why I never tried to get a job with CF&I anymore."
He says, "You are right, but they didn't fire you." I says, "No, I quit on my
own. He made me mad and I told him what he could do with that pick and shovel."
He says, "I know more or less what you're talking about. Kid, I'm sorry; I'm
helpless but I'm the only one of the old timers still alive. Mr. Lexton and
Mr. Masinton, something like that, was vice-president, secretary-treasurer
and all of them knew me well, you know. They're all gone. All new men, they
wouldn't allow me to put you back to work. You're over age. But, I'd like to.
Kid, you gave the company your life. and you got me helpless. I can't help
you." I says, "Don't worry about me Mr. Harris, I'll get along." He says,
You're a good man, that's why I'm telling you, you gave the company your
life. Kid, now that you're getting old, if you would have came to me instead of
when McBreyer turned you down, you know there was a higher step?" I says, "I
got so mad that I forgot all about you." "That's where you made your mistake,"
he says, "If you would have came to me, I would have given you a job sitting
down or just doing nothing, because you had it coming kid. You earned that from
the company." I says, "Well, it's gone." He says, "Right." "I'll get along."
He says, "You will get along, your a good man. We hate to lose you. " Now you
see to claim for my black lung, I went down there after my record. As soon as
I gave them my name and right on out, "Yes Pineda, we got it for you. " He came
right on out and he says, "Here. Them records on them books, you was a good man
to the company. Them records will be in them books for the rest of the days.
Your reputation is you were a good worker. Good man, you didn't lose no time.
But you're too old now, so you go claim your black lung. I hope you get it."
And you know I had to wait four years for it. Just like your dad. We had to "
wait. They didn't want to give it to me. So finally, the last blank they sent
me from Denver here, the man from Washington was sent over here to Denver. He
sent me that blank to go for an examination again. I went to Dr. Merritt. He was
my doctor. And he wouldn't want to cover it. I got mad and I came home and on the
back of that blank I wrote him a letter that they were nothing but a bunch of
crooks; the union men and social security, black lung doctors and everybody and
quit bothering me sending me blanks. If I had it coming to give it to me or leave
me alone. But I was satisfied. I says, "If I got to go to Fitzsimmons to get my
records from the service, I'm gonna do it. " Three days after that the phone
rings at ten thirty at night; good thing I was home, and that man says, "Mr.
Pineda?" And I says, "Yes." "This is so and so.', He gave me his name and I
remembered it on the envelope that he wrote and sent that blank and he says,
"We're not all crooks, Mr. Pineda," and I laughed and he laughed. He says,
"I know what you mean. Well, I'm willing to consider it." "Ok." "But," he
says, "I'm gonna send you another blank." I said, "No blanks. If you want to give
it to me, I know I got it coming because I saw a black half moon in my lungs
before I left the service. They got careless with my chest x-rays. I saw it.
1527 was my last four numbers in the serial. The serial that was 1527 was on
it. That's how come I knew it was mine." And he said, "No, I'll send it to you,
just to make sure. You know Dr. Vialpando, Dr. Mesias and Dr. Gonzalez?" I says,
"I don't know them, just by name." He says, "Well, I'll send them a blank." You
know they kept that blank three weeks. So, I told Clara when she was taking mother
down there, "You ask them if they got that blank. " Them girls, they looked and
say, oh sorry, we had it put away and we for got it. Yeah. They gave her an appoint-
ment. He checked me out and he says, "Well, Mr. Pineda, I don't guarantee you'll
get it, because I don't got no records of you, but we'll see." Soon as they got it,
I got a letter that I was getting it. That helped a lot. It still is helping me,
that's the only thing that I got from the coal mine; was the, black lung. I guess
that's about all right now.