INTERVIEW: PEDRO CATEDRA CASTRO DATE: JUNE 2, 1979 INTERVIEW & TRANSCRIPTION BY: GLORIA CAMPBELL
NOTE: Copied from Gloria's transcription as is. All typo's, misspellings etc. were left as she typed them.
P.C: I was born here in Huerfano County. My wife's name is Rosa Castro. She was born here too, and raised in Huerfano County. We had 12 in our family. But now there are only seven. We raised twelve because they are cheaper by the dozen. I have had the honor of having served in this school district as president of the school here in Gardner. I was chairman of the school board for six years….in the school in Gardner.
Q: What year was that?
A: Six years before it became united or before the school was consolidated into this district. I cannot say in what year. It was six years before the school was consolidated. I served in that capacity at that time. My companions were Agustin Medina, secretary. Eduvijen Harmes was the treasurer. That is all that I did to help. My parents were born in this county. They came here they lived here all their lives in this county. My father was the school board director of the high school, when the school was built here in Walsenburg. He was one of the directors along with Martha Thorn and a Mr. Pablo Ramero. My father was one of the directors.
Q: Where was your father born?
A: My father was born….I don't know. I don't know where my father was born. But they came from New Mexico and they lived all their lives here. I'll say that. My father lived about 73 years and my mother lived 76, and they also had a large family. They were not very educated people, but they had sufficient education to manage by themselves. But I can tell you about myself. I was born in this county and did not have much education only to about the 7th grade. But, as I told you, I was a director, and all that. It was not in a great capacity, but I was always ready to serve the school as president of the school board. I have now, by the grace of God, led the life of a worker. We raised a large family but are now retired. We are many years along in life. In 11 days, by the grace of God, I will be 85 years. And my wife….she is 67 years old. So, we live here and we have lived here very happily in every way. We were ranchers here and over there. We were….we worked everywhere, you see. I was the first Mexican who drove a county grader. The first was under Mr. Lupe Archeuleta when he was a commissioner and I was a trucker and everything else, you see. That was all the life you see. But now we are retired and we are old and we cannot work and they do not give us work because we are old. And I do not know what else I can say.
Q: What was your father's name?
A: Manuel Castro.
Q: And your mother's name?
A: My mother's name was Adelaida Padilla y Castro.
Q: Was she related to Ben Padilla?
A: She was Ben Padilla's aunt. Ben Padilla's father was my mother's brother. We are cousins. My grandmother's name was Dominga Padilla and my grandfather's name was Jesus Padilla. No, no. Luis Padilla.
Q: Did they all come from New Mexico?
A: They came from New Mexico and then they took some little ranches there in Piedras Amarillas and all those places around there, you see. But we have lived all our lives here in Huerfano County.
Q: What kind of work have you done?
A: I have been a grader operator for Mr. Archuleta. I was a rancher. I had a ranch there in Piedras Amarillas….about 400 and some acres. I was also a sheep shearer.
Q: Where did you shear sheep?
A: In Wyoming. I was a professional sheep shearer. I was a rancher and sheep shearer.
Q: At the time when you got married, how did people get along?
A: They were very good people. We would help one another on the ranches, especially during the harvest of our hay and all of that. We did not have to pay a wage….no money whatsoever. My neighbor would help me and I would help him and so it would go.
Q: What did you use for transportation?
A: Transportation? Well….horses, buggies and wagons. Yeah.
Q: When you got married what did you have?
A: In a buggy we went to get married in Badito. We lived at Rito de la Gallina (Turkey Creek). My wife lived at Piedras Amarillas (Yellowstone). They came and then we went in a buggy to get married at Badito.
Q: What year was that?
A: It was in 1916. It was snowing! How do you like that?
Q: You were determined, no?
A: Oh well….How do you like that? Anyway, one had to go about well covered. Because the air would hit you on the face and it was cold and one had to keep well covered.
Q: Who married you?
A: Padre Jose Martinez. I do not believe you have ever heard of him.
Q: What was his church?
A: Here. The church was here, but he went to give mass in Badito. In Badito there was a church, but there….How can I say? It was not in Badito, but down from Badito, 8 to 10 miles along the river. It was called the church of Santa Maria.
Q: Did you have a great celebration?
A: No, not much. We went and got married and when we returned, we ate and enjoyed ourselves like at any fiestecita. Everything was good. We passed the time and everybody was very happy and thankful. There was also a little something to drink, and all that.
Q: How did you meet?
A: She and I? Well, we met like everybody else did….at the dance. And one has to look for one and at the end, one finds a wife. What I want to say is this….you know that we have to do a lot of things because in those times, as I was saying, it was the time of the horses and the buggies and the wagons and there were no automobiles. But there was a Mr. Otoniel Garcia who died. And he was my Compadre. I had a truck….a Chevrolet flatbed truck. I asked to go bring him to the cemetery. First, I went to the church, and then I took him to the cemetery. The deceased Otoniel gave the land for the cemetery to the church. He was the first to be buried in that cemetery, in 1925. I took him, and as I say, there was nothing but horses and things like that. But I asked to take him to the cemetery in the truck. I brought him from mass and then I took him over there. The people followed along in wagons and horses and we went and buried him.
Q: Where did that man live?
A: That man lived there by the cemetery about a mile and a half on the other side of the river to the south. His house was there. He was the son of Catedra Garcia. They lived there on the other side of the river about 3 miles away from the cemetery.
Q: Did he have quite a bit a land?
A: Yes. He had all that land there….all that land was his. And he gave the place for the cemetery. Like I tell you, he was the first to be buried there in 1925.
Q: You told me that you met in the dances. Well, where were all these dances held?
A: Oh, here in Gardner. Here in Gardner they had dances to celebrate el Dia de Santiago and el Dia of Santa Ana. It used to be like entertainment. The day of Santiago and the day of Santa Ana were the 25th and the 26th of July. There, I met the wife. There were also dances held in Farasita. There was another dance hall in Piedras Amarillas and I would go there to the dances from here to Piedras Amarillas on horseback.
Q: What would they do during the days of celebration?
A: They would have horse races, carreras de gallo….Gallo Day and carrera de papas.
Q: What were these carreras de papa?
A: They would get on horseback and they had a nail on the end of a stick and the one that could stick the potato with the nail, would win. And the carrera de gallo….they would bury a live rooster and leave its head above ground. They would race their horses and come and reach down and grab the rooster and whoever would pull out the rooster would run off and the others followed and would try to take it away. If no one succeeded in taking it away, then he would win the carrera de gallo.
Q: Did they have church services on that day?
A: Yes. The mass was in the morning. And then at night there would be a dance….so beautiful. It was very pretty because all the people from around would attend. The people would arrive on buggies and on horseback. They would have drinks and all of that. It was very nice. There were beautiful Serenades. And there were fights. People would fight at the dances and all. There were no killings and that. Some were serious, but they would soon come around.
Q: Would the Americanos come to the dances?
A: Yes, some would come, and always mix with the Mexicans. But it was mostly Mejicanos who would attend more than anyone else. The main diversion was el Dia de Santiago and el Dia de Santa Ana.
Q: What school did you go to?
A: I went to a school in Toltec for a time when my father worked in the mines. Then I went to the school in Farisita. There, I went almost all the time I attended school. It was in Faristia and nothing else. I went to school in Farisita, Toltec also at Walsen Mine. In those times, there were many mines. My father was a man some what recognized by the big people of that town and all of that. He worked as a jailer and as a guard in the mines. In those times there was a strike in 1913 when the miners fought with the owners of the mines. There were many deaths. I think that doctor got killed there. And from there on, it went in 1913. There was a strike in Ludlow, somewhere out there you know.
Q: Did your father come from New Mexico to work in the mines?
A: He lived here. He lived here because he had a ranch in Rito de la Gallina. No, my father must have come to Huerfano County when he was very young, but he lived here all his life.
Q: For how long did your father work in the mines?
A: Oh, I cannot say how long he worked in the mines, but he worked for a long time. He was….well, first he was a miner, then later he was a guard and all that. They went and put guards in the mines. That must have been around fifteen to twenty years that he worked in the mines.
Q: What do you remember of the strike of 1913?
A: In 1913, I was about to leave for Wyoming when there was a gun battle, those from the mines. When we arrived in Walsenburg in 1913, about in April, I believe, the guards and the miners were fighting. There were many killed at that time.
Q: Did your father participate in the strike?
A: Well….yes. He was a guard at Walsen Mine. He was a guard. But he didn't fight because he was guarding the mine for the company.
Q: Did you ever leave for Wyoming?
A: I left for Wyoming that night of the gun battle between the guards and the miners. I left for Wyoming by train. I was going to shear sheep.
Q: Did you stay long in Wyoming?
A: No, I would go only in the springtime. I would shear sheep for about a month. In April and then in May. There were two sessions. There was an early sheep shearing time and a later one. I would go in time for the first and then for the second.
Q: Did many go shear sheep in Wyoming?
A: Yes, many from around here were dedicated to the job of sheep shearing. The deceased Damasciano Aguirre was one who was in charge of recruiting sheep shearers for the companies who expected them in Wyoming.
Q: Where did Don Damasciano live?
A: He lived in Farisita….it was called Talpa long ago. There were many Aguirres and Medinas and who knows who else….Many people would shear because there was little else in the way of jobs, you see. Wyoming was the only place one could earn enough money to better oneself. Then the men would return to their little ranches….The little ranches that they had there.
Q: Why do you think that there are so few people living here as before?
A: They have died. Most of those people have already died.
Q: But they also had big families.
A: There were many people who lived along the river. Everywhere there were ranchitos. From here to the Rito de la Gallina (Turkey Creek) to Maes Creek and everywhere there were ranchitos….lots of Mexican people….many Mexicanos. Each and every one was dedicated to their little ranch. It was small, yes, but it was their own. And later there came a time when some of the Mexicanos sold their land. They went to work somewhere else. Like at the Steel Mill and all that. Now, there are a few who have a ranchito. Very few.
Q: From where did these people come?
A: I believe they also came from New Mexico. They made their living by ranching. It was very different then from today. For example, back then anyone who had a ranchito could make a living from it. The land was productive. One could grow about anything. It rained much more, then. One could plant corn….whatever was planted it would grow. It wasn't like it is now. Now, if a crop is planted, it is soon lost. It dries up. Then, it would rain quite a bit. Dry farming, at that time, was very successful. And so was irrigated land, of course. Well, there was much more water with which to irrigate with. Much more. Much more. It is not that way now. I do not know why it is like it is now.
Q: Do you remember the lawmen of those days?
A: Oh, I remember deceased Harry Capps. He was one who understook the position of sheriff. For many years it was Harry Capps….and Jeff Farr. He was sheriff for a long time, too. There was a political organization made up entirely of Republicans. The Republicans did not like the Democrats. Anyway, they were in office for a long time. Years. My cousin, Pantaleon Sanchez….and after him, someone else took over the position of sheriff. I believe it was Neally….I don't remember, but we've had many sheriffs. I remember Jeff Farr, John Neally and….
Q: What do you remember about that Aguirre who was killed?
A: Fidel Aguirre, yes. He was an undersheriff. He was a….he used to work as an officer in the office. He was a sheriff. No, not a sheriff—a deputy. Under who was he working? I don't remember. May have been the Swifts. Claude Swift and Carl Swift were the sheriffs. They were brothers. This boy was a deputy for a long time, this Fidel Aguirre.
Q: Where did he live?
A: He lived here in Pass Creek and then he lived in Walsenburg. We have had many lawmen. There was deceased Velarde, Tony Velarde, Condor, and all those.
Q: Do you know how Fidel was killed?
A: Oh yes. We….It was a celebration of Santiago and Santa Ana and he had come to keep order at the dances. There was a place there we called the fairground. Aguirre was keeping watch at the dances and all. Some boys who had it in for him grabbed him. It was because of a sheep----they were envious of him or had bad feelings for him. I don't know which. They hit him with something, I don't know how many times. It was like killing a snake. The Peraltas went to prison. Placeres Peralta and Pablo Peralta. They were sentenced to life imprisonment but finally they were set free. After about twenty five years they were put on probation. One died in Prison. I don't know if Placeres is still alive or not.
Q: What were your school days like?
A: School was not difficult at that time because the school districts were smaller. There was a school in Farisita----Talpa. At Piedras Amarillas. At Rito de Las Gallinas. There were four or five smaller schools. We walked to school. At Piedras Amarillas we walked to school as I remember. There was no other way one could go. There was not much in the way of protection from the weather. We didn't even have overshoes. There were no such things as overshoes then. Later, I went to school at Farisita----Talpa. I had attended school at Walsen Mine and at Maitland. That was where my father worked. Then I went on to Farisita and that is where I finished my schooling. I was about twenty years old when I finished seventh grade. I didn't have enough….Well, in the first place, education for me started very late because I didn't know English. We had to learn English and learn our lessons in English. It was very difficult to learn our lessons because we didn't know English. Nowadays, seldom do the youngsters know how to speak Spanish----they only know English, so school is much easier for them. Well, now they graduate and many graduate much earlier because they are ahead in their studies. Back in those days, it was not like that. It was much more difficult. One would go to school but could not learn for the reasons that one didn't know the language. And the books were translated. But we didn't know how to read the Spanish nor the English. But the English language, it was always the official language, see. And one had to learn the language first, then learn the lessons and all that , you see. It was difficult for one to receive an education.
Q: Were the election ballots in Spanish?
Q: Were the teachers Mexicans or did they speak Spanish?
A: The teachers were Americanos----what is called Americanos----English, you see. One time we had a teacher in Farisita by the name of Juan Valdez. This man was a Mexican. He would translate the words and one could progress much more rapidly. But if the teachers were Americano, how they say----or Americana----well, they didn't understand Spanish and we didn't understand English. We just couldn't understand each other, see. It was very difficult for everyone to learn the language all the lessons.
Q: How were you treated by the teachers?
A: They treated us well. The teachers were good.
Q: What kind of work did you do as a boy?
A: Well, we had to help my father hoe the garden and the fields, feed the animals, cut the alfalfa and all that. It was much different from today. The girls mostly would help the mother and the boys would help the father more than they do today. It was much more different. We all worked for the well-being of the family, you see.
Q: What do you recall of the stories of the Llorona?
A: The witches? I can tell you stories of the Llorona. I didn't know too much. I can remember a story that my father told about the witches. I believe it was the truth because my father always spoke the truth. They were coming by Farisita from a dance. They lived around there somewhere. They were coming to a dance at a place they called Las Chavez. Along the river there were many willows. I guess that he and others were walking home to Talpa. They lived around there. Anyway, the willows began to burn suddenly You know when there's a fire, and there's some willows-you know how they sing when they are burning? Ashes were flying all about. All the willows along the river burned. When the fire died down, the cinders seemed to be flying around like lights, you see. Flames seemed to shoot this way and that. Well, anyway the willows burned. The next day they returned to investigate how the fire had started, but they found nothing had been burned. Everything was intact, you know. It was the same as before. It was like a vision. Somebody----like they say, it must have been the devil who made people see a lots of visions, you know. It seemed to be a real thing. My father told us that he thought the whole valley would burn. Even the willows seemed to be making a singing noise as they were burning. But, nothing happened. They didn't burn. Along the river, it was like it had been before. That's the kind of stories my father would tell of what he had seen. In those times, there were many witches and witchcraft and all that. I never did see that there were any witches. Even today, I believe that some must exist, but I don't know who they are. I don't even want to know them. It is all very secretive.
Q: Alright. How about the bad men?
A: There was a man who was named Castillo----Moises Castillo's father. He was not a bad man, but he was a man who would stand for his rights and everything else. With him they didn't fool much. He would shoot them and that would be the end of it. He was not a bad man. The only thing was that he was a man who stands for his rights and he wouldn't fool with nobody. Just one or two words and get his pistola and shoot 'em.
Q: Were there many doctors?
A: Then, we would cure ourselves with herb teas and remedios Mexicanos, you see. There were no doctors, you see. There were no doctors until the mines opened----until the coal mines were----. There was a Doctor Ballard here in Gardner. Later, there was Dr. Knight. Another doctor came from Big Four. And there was Doctor Freeman. No. No. There were no doctors because the people didn't believe the doctors could cure them. They had their remedios Mexicanos. If one caught a cold, one could cure oneself. After a drink of herb tea, a bath, then one was lain down to sweat. The cold would go away. The viejitos believed that that was the way to cure themselves because they were raised to believe in remedios Mexicanos, herbs and all that. Osha and yerba de la negrita, el mortal, manzanilla, cominos were some herbs they used. For a headache, they would put sliced raw potatoes with vinegar on a cloth and bound it around the head. The headaches would soon go away.
Q: How was it that people met and later married?
A: Back in our time, they had to ask for the bride, the bride could not respond marriage proposal on her own. Nowadays, a girl can date and marry anyone she wants. She can do what she wants. Not back in those days. It was very different and the people were more respectful. One had to go and ask for the bride. If the answer was yes, then they could marry. If the answer was no, then he would get calabazas (pumpkins). He would not get his bride. Within eight days he would get a bride or he would get calabazas. If he would get calabazas, then he would have to look for another.
Q: Did the girl have a right to say yes or no?
A: No. I guess she didn't have the right to say no. The parents would ask the girl if she wanted to
marry the boy or not. They would tell her what kind of boy he was. If the girl liked him, good. Then
she would tell the parents that she would marry him. The boy would tell his father that he wanted
to marry. Then his father and mother would go to the girl's parents to ask for her hand. Then they
would have to wait for eight days, to receive an answer. It was the way, you see. It is much more different now. Single people make their own decisions---there is not so much to do.
Q: How did you do during the depression?
A: Well, I will tell you. . .There was. . .In t~iose days they would give what was called a breadline.
There were some people hired in Walsenburg who would find out who needed help, you see. There were other people who worked out and they would come to one's house and ask what one needed. These people would report back to the other people so that everyone could receive some food to eat. But we had a lot of luck. Z belonged to the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party was in power at that time. It happened that I worked as a truck driver of a dump truck. So, at that time, it seemed like we hadn't experienced a depression. She (Mrs. Castro) would can alot, see. She would churn and all. We didn't have as much necessity as other people. Oh, other people did have a hard time, because they didn't have anything. We didn't need anything because I had a good salary. At that time, one would work for less salary, but the money was worth a lot more. Not like now. Now, there is more money, but it is not worth very much. Even though a person earns more money, well he has to spend more to live. Back in those days, no. I
worked during chat tire with that truck. I earned about twelve dollars a day. With twelve dollars, I would buy my gasoline and pay my expenses.
But it is like I was saying. There have always been political parties. These political parties help you when you help them, too. They helped me quite a bit. They knew I had a big family and I had to feed them. We did fine. We never had a great necessity. Like I said, there were breadlines, but we never went. Never. I worked for money and with that money, we helped ourselves. We passed that time just fine.
Q: What kind of work did you do with your truck?
A: Well, I worked on the construction of the highway. We helped build that road (Highway 69). The one below Badito also. We made many roads. We straightened out this road. Like I was saying, there are politics and one must help them so they can then help you. If you don't support them, well then they won't help you either. I guess that's all right, isn't it? It has to be….
Q: When you married, did you move to el Rito de la Gallina?
A: Yes. We lived there for a time. Later, we bought 160 acres from Chavez from my father. It was three miles on the other side of the river. We bought it from my father and that is where we lived. From there we went to Piedras Amarillas. At Piedras Amarillas we bought 360 acres from (deceased) Victorino and ----Antonio Victorino and mama Maria. We lived there for ten years. After those ten years, we moved to Gardner. It has been more than twenty years since we moved here. I was something of a mechanic or something. I used to work on cars, you know. On Model T's. Oh, I could take a motor of a Model T apart and put it back as quickly as anything. I used to know everything about it. Then they came out with cars that were more complex to fix, like the automatics. I was a standard man. I worked many years as a mechanic. I worked for Jim Frazier. I don't think you know who Jim Frazier is. That place where the county shop is belonged to Jim Frazier. I worked for him for about two years. I was a mechanic. He built the county shop building. I worked there for about two years with him. First, he had a garage on this side where there was a blacksmith place. Then, I had a chance to work on my own. Well, I did. I was a mechanic there. I learned a little. Just like that. I worked on the cars that weren't automatic. I don't even know how to drive one. Yes, I can drive it, but it disturbs me----I just can't get through it----the control. I'm used to low, high, second and all that. And I can't do it.
Q: (To Mrs. Castro) After you married and as you were raising your family, did you ever work outside the home.
A: I only worked in raising my family.
Q: (To Mrs. Castro) I suppose it was hard work raising your family.
A: I mall all the clothes. I canned. I saved everything.
Q: (To Mrs. Castro) How did the women help each other back then?
A: Oh, very well. If one wanted to learn how to can, she would ask the others. They helped each other very well. Also to sew. I made everything from bed sheets to dish towels and towels. I made everything. Everything.
Q: (To Mrs. Castro) When a woman would have a baby, how would the women help her?
A: Well, there were always women who attended at the birth, you see. There were no doctors. There were medicas. A doctor never did help with the births of my children. Only the medicas.
Q: (To Mrs. Castro) Who were some of the medicas?
A: One was named Candelaria Sanchez. She lived there in Yellowstone. Another was named Manuelita Garcia----Agustin's mother. She was another who assisted me. Also Vitalia Sais. She lived in Farisita. She was the mother of my uncle Alfonso Sais. They were the ones that assisted me. Never did a doctor assist in the births of my children. The medicas would stay up to four days. I would stay in bed for three days. On the fourth, I would get up. My daughters helped me. Benedita and the older ones. They did everything.
(Back to Sr. Castro)
Q: Did you ever work in the mines?
A: No. Never. What I did to work was to take timber to the mines. They cut timber and I would take it to the mines. Also props. I would bring down props from way up there on Blanca and take them to the mines. We first would load the props and----on a wagon. Then I would take them on to the mine.
(Mrs. Castro): They had to start out about twelve o'clock at night with snow or no snow with horses and a wagon. It was hard work.
(Mr. Castro): That was the only way. One had to make a living.
Q: I would like to ask you about the Indians.
A: No. I never met any kind of Indians. But I understand that there were Apaches. I know of a place that was their campsite----the Rito de Encinal in Piedras Amarillas. But I never knew no Indians at all.
Q: Did you hear about them?
A: I only heard that they came to this area. But I never saw them.
(Mrs. Castro): I think that by the time he----there were no Indians. The place where we used to live----Lou Chavez----on the hill was this deep place. Like it was once a lake. But----there they made the----that make fire. That place was as big as the house, I believe. It was somewhat hidden.
(Mr. Castro): They used to work in there and make them bows and arrows and everything.
(Mrs. Castro): There weren't any arrows there. It was just where they worked. One could see glassy bits and pieces there where they had camped.
Q: I also wanted to ask you about the ware----the Second World War. Were you in the War?
A: No, I didn't go because they called me----the very day that I went for my physical examination was the 11th of November. That's the day peace was declared. But many from the community went. Several went. The people from here who went were Julian Rael, Valerio Escobedo, Pedro Padilla, Juan Ribali, Seledon Martinez, Elroy Martinez and Daniel Martinez.
Q: Were any killed?
A: No, I don't remember that any of them were killed in the war.
Q: Do you remember any jokes or saying (proverbs)?
A: No. I don't know about jokes. But I can tell you one if you want. One time, you see, in times past----people held velorios. They would pray to the saints. Maybe you don't remember that. Do you remember? Okay. Then there was three comadres, you see, that got together. And they decided they would pray to San Antonio. They went to the morada to bring the statue of San Antonio. It had on a very old outfit. It was not pretty. One comadre said to the other, "Oh, comadre, never mind. We'll just put San Juan's outfit on San Antonio" At that time, they would make a supper----a meal for the people at midnight. It is said that youngsters----babies and drunks always tell the truth, see. Good. Well, the women put San Juan's outfit on San Antonio and then set the statue where they would pray to him. All the people went up to worship him, you see. Then a drunk went up, too. The drunk said to the statue, "San Antonio dressed up in San Juan's outfit….Well, they can make a fool of you, but of me they won't. He knew that San Antonio had San Juan's outfit. That's all of the joke. Oh, I know many, but that's all I can say. That is enough, isn't it?
Mrs. Castro: Well, there's the one about the Indian and the man who….
Mr. Castro: Oh-h-h. There was this Mexican. He had a Model T, you see. There were Indians in Mexico. Well, the Mexican went on by in his Model T. The Indian was also traveling on the road----and passed the Mexican. They came upon a muddy place in the road and the Mexican's car went off the road. The Mexican told the Indian, "Hey, Indio, why don't you pull my car out?" Well, the Indian unhitched his team and pulled the car out of the mud, see. Then the Mexican told him, "God will repay you." "No, no," said the Indian, "God will not pay. I don't know who that man is. You pay." The Indian didn't know God. Oh, I know many of these foolish jokes.
Q: How has Gardner changed?
A: Well, many people have gone from here. There were many people here. There were Mexicans on all the ranchitos and all, see. Well, here in Gardner there were many more businesses. The Hudson's had a business. People would come to do business at their store. It was a population right around maybe three hundred and fifty or better. Before the hippies came, there weren't very many people. Many of them had left. It was because they didn't have jobs. There wasn't enough work. They went out to find jobs where they could earn more money. Like at the Steel Mill. Many people left. Just the foolish ones stayed. Here we have remained and here we are. Here is where we will die, I believe.
Q: Did any Mexicans have businesses?
A: Mexicans, no. Josh Hudson and Jim Hudson were the ones that had a store here. They ran it for a long time. They spoke Spanish, but they were not Mexicans. They used to know the language. They spoke Spanish as well as we did but they were not Mexicanos.
Q: How did the Americans and Mexicans get along?
A: Very well. Oh, yes. They were very hospitable and all. They gave us credit. We would pay them when we got money. Well, they got rich.
Q: Since there were so many Mexicans, why weren't some businesses run by them?
A: We didn't have the education. There wasn't the right kind of education. The people were afraid because they did not ever know how to write their names. They would sign by putting cross or something like that, you know. It was different for us. Back then there were no schools. There was nothing. People didn't have an education. There were no teachers until much later. Nowadays it is much different. Now there are many Mexicans that are as quick as anything. They are better educated. We were reading in the paper that your cousin is a doctor. Yes. How did so many become doctors? Well, they got educated. That's the reason the teachers are good. It's not only the teachers. The children start right with the language, then….The people who have families rarely speak to them in Spanish. They all talk English, you know.
Q: What do you think of that?
A: It is good because the Spanish language is understood although it is not spoken. They can learn it quickly, if they want. But many don't want to. They would rather have the English language, you know. I tell them that I….I tell them that I cannot speak to them in English. I can speak to a certain extent and I can multiply and add and subtract. I know geography and arithmetic and all. I am not fooled very easily! I learned that, you know. After I finished school, I dedicate myself. I realized that one needed to have an education of a kind. I studied and I made gains until not just anybody can make me out a fool. I can manage to see things kind of clear. That's how we have managed. It was like I told you, I only went to the seventh grade. After the seventh grade, I didn't know my multiplication tables. I didn't know them after I came out of school. I dedicate myself. And now I know them from one to twelve.
Q: (Mrs. Castro) Up to what grade did you go to school?
A: I went up to the fourth grade. My mother was ill much of the time and I would not go to school because I had to help her.
Q: (Mrs. Castro) What kind of work did your father do?
A: Oh, he worked on the ranch. He also cut props and hauled timber to the mines.
Q: From where did he get the timber?
A: From Las Piedras Amarillas----from the reserve.
Mr. Castro: Back then there were no restrictions from cutting timber from the mountain. You could cut anything you wanted to. After, it was prohibited. One cannot cut timber and is almost prohibited from trespassing. Back then everything was free. You could cut anything you wanted.
Q: (Mrs. Castro) How did your mother and father meet?
A: Well, I don't know. They say that my mother was very young. And that my father cared for her since she was a young girl. My daddy was twelve years older than my mom. It is said that he wouldn't marry until Lydia got older. And he did. He married her.
Q: (To Mrs. Castro) They also must have come from New Mexico, no?
A: No. I don't know. I don't believe so.
Mr. Castro: No. I don't believe so. The old man Francisco Martinez----he was a veteran soldier of the Battle of Valverde as they called it. He used to fight wars over here and there, you know. There was one certain battle that they called the Battle of Valverde. He was a soldier, you see. And he landed over here in Piedras Amarillas, somewhere or another, you see. From there he got married and raised a family.
Mrs. Castro: Yes. He was wounded in the leg and his foot was injured. So he limped. That happened in the battle.
Q: (To Mrs. Castro) How many brothers and sisters did you have?
A: How many brothers did I have? Three. Compadre Eloy, Compadre Jose Ramon and Alberto. Three boys. And Compadre Ursulita, Nieves and Cleofes and….I don't remember their names. Just them. There were four weren't there? Well, they married and moved away.
Mr. Castro: They married and their husbands took them away. They weren't given calabazas (pumpkins).
Gloria: I think that is all for now. Thank you very much for all you have shared.