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Oral history of Eloisa Levario, conducted by Jessica Martinez 03/21/2023 at Los Portales Museum in San Elizario, Texas. 

 JM: Thank you for coming. 

EL: Thank you Jessica. 

JM: Please state your name, your date of birth, and where you were born. 

EL: Well, my name is Eloisa. Everybody that I grew up with called me Locha. But I’m Maese from my father’s side, and Levario, since I got married. I was born in San Elizario in 1941, June 30th 1941. 

JM: How do you ethnically/racially identify as?

EL: I’m sorry what?

JM: How do you ethnically identify as?

EL: Okay, number one, I have hearing aids.

JM: Okay, I’ll get closer. 

EL: What do I identify with? Well, I have my DNA here. It seems like I’m thirty-four percent Spanish, twenty-four percent Portuguese, and thirty-one something Native American. 

JM: And here you are. 

EL: So, I don’t know, how would you classify that as?

JM: Would your parents consider themselves Mexican?

EL: Mexican American. Not really Mexican. I consider myself Texan. 

JM: Tejana. 

EL: Yes because ever since I had been raised Texan on this side of the border. I never was on the other side of the border, nor my parents. 

JM: So generations here? 

EL: Through generations, yes. Or my grandparents. At that time, it was not considered to be, it was just a river. 

JM: Right, right. It was so fluid, people can just cross back and forth. So then, speaking of your grandparents, were they the first ones here in San Elizario? 

EL: They were a pioneer family, yes. Tellez. From my mother’s side, Tellez. From my father’s side, by that point, I really don’t know, he really didn’t talk much about that. My grandfather looks very Spanish. 

JM: Like green eyes maybe?

EL: Stature, tall, kind of fare skin, but he married I don’t know if she was Native American. According to my DNA there is some Native American there. And I have pictures. I brought pictures. 

JM: Wow. Yeah, I’d be happy to look at them. 

EL: And she looks Native American. 

JM: Like Indigenous?

EL: But dressed in clothes that other people wore. 

JM: Right, right. That has a lot to do with the area, the pioneers that came and dressed them. 

EL: As far as from my mother’s side, I don’t know. They were more, I think that’s where the Portuguese come from. 

JM: So, you think on your mother’s side you were more European?

EL: I don’t know what you would call that, I guess Portuguese. His name was Tellez, but he spelled it with the, they say if it’s spelled with an ‘S’ its Portuguese, if it’s spelled with a ‘Z,’ it’s something else, so I don’t know. Or vice versa, I don’t know. 

JM: Was your grandpa the first one that came?

EL: No, his dad. 

JM: Oh his dad came to San Elizario?

EL: Pedro, from my mother’s side. There was a Pedro. Pedro Tellez. 

JM: And that’s when the generations started living here?

EL: Yeah.

JM: Tell me about your childhood here then. How was it like growing up in San Elizario? Did you have any siblings?

EL: I have seven brothers, seven sisters. Well seven brothers and sisters all together. Three brothers, and four sisters. One of my little brothers passed away when I was very young, so there would have been eight, but he passed away, but three months old. Well, we seemed to have a lot of fun. In those days, they just came one at a time, so you start a family. I was the first born and then my sister Tere, and then my brother Tony, and then my other sister Rosy, Rosalina. She became a teacher. Then there was Ines, and then there’s Henry and Ricky, los quates, les decíamos, because they were really close to each other, and they still live here. 

JM: In San Eli?

EL: They still live in San Eli. My three brothers live in San Eli. 

JM: They stay here, wow, that’s interesting. 

EL: They got married and they settled in San Eli, all three of them. And we the girls, we just kind of ventured out. 

JM: I think it comes from being a woman. 

EL: Getting away from the family. 

JM: Being independent. 

EL: I don’t know, maybe. I was one that, being the oldest, I was taking care of my siblings. 

JM: Yeah, I’m the oldest too. 

EL: Because my mother was always busy with the farm. We ate from the farm, so my dad would have cows and he would milk them, and my mother would take care of making asadero, and cheese, and all that. So, we had plenty to eat. Then, when the crop came in, again, it was busy with crops, picking up alfalfa veils. And then my little brothers were born, or my little sisters, and they’re going to hate me for this, I always bring it up to them. I would be washing their diapers. That was my duty, as a very young girl. It was not like, it’s in my stories, bringing up how I was brought up, taking care a lot of my brothers and sisters, but then that kind of filled me up that I wanted to do something else, but I never went to college.  I went to college as a married person, when I got married, then I went to get some college courses in, but as a young girl I didn’t even pursue it, I was too busy.  And then having parties and going dancing. 

JM: Being young. 

EL: Being young. On my free time. 

JM: While you were helping out with your family, raising your siblings, did you go to school also?

EL: Oh yes. I went to school with Martha. I’ve lost track of all the people I went to school with. Delphina, but she passed away. Margie, she’s somewhere. I remember my teachers. Ms. Peñahue, Ms. Lopez, Mrs. Duck. You know Mrs. Duck was my mother’s teacher as well. 

JM: So she had been there for a while. 

EL: She had been there for a while. Ms. Seal, and then Mr. and Mrs. Tunell, Ms. Laurie, and umm, Ms., she lived back here, she was a teacher. 

JM: Ms. Bowling?

EL: Ms. Bowling, everybody remembers Ms. Bowling. I never really had her, I don’t think. I had Mr. and Mrs. Tunell. Mr. Lauriston was there too. I never had Mr. Lauriston either. I don’t remember. The one, I would say the one person that I remember her vividly up to now is Ms. Laurie. 

JM: Why is that?

EL: She was the music teacher. She was somebody. Nobody liked her. They felt she was very strict. Muy regañona, but I felt very close, because she always talked to us about Chopin, the classical. She instilled that in us, at the time, probably I was just listening to them, but I did get some of the history. She would talk about some of the history of these classical people had when they were growing up. That kind of instilled in me. Then, she would put on plays and, sometimes I was selected as an actress, I guess. 

JM: Where did you perform them?

EL: Here at the auditorium in this school. I didn’t get elected for singing. I remember one time she had selected me for singing something, so I went up there and I guess I really didn’t impress her. The next day, I was down in the bottom accompanying her, “You be part of the chorus.” (laughs)

JM: Still be part of something. 

EL: One of the plays, one time I was a teacher. I finished the role there. But she addressed, she presented us with these other things that was not known to us. Some of the student, girl students or guy students especially didn’t really care. And then she policed the hallways all the time. Seems like lunch time was her duty. Students would just want to go to the bathroom and do their thing, and she’d run us out. I was included with the whole bunch; she ran us out. 

JM: What grade was this by the way?

EL: Well it was through school, social studies, third grade, fourth grade? Then she also put us to dance. She taught us how to do the minuet, which is really something, not known here. Then, she had the guys ask the girls out to dance. She taught them how to gentlemanly go ask a girl out to dance, and how a girl should accept. 

JM: She cared. 

EL: She cared. She cared for us.

JM: As kids, maybe they didn’t see it like that. That’s a beautiful memory to have. 

EL: That’s what I remember about her, and I still do. I wrote it in my memoirs also for my kids to remember. 

JM: Outside of school what did you do for fun?

EL: Well what age? 

JM: As a kid, as you grew up.

EL: As a kid, we would get together with the neighbors and we’d play softball, baseball. 

JM: Right here in the fields?

EL: We lived behind the church, not behind the church, a couple of blocks down and the house across the street from us had a big family there, they had like six or seven kids and different age groups. There were players that would be our age and there were players that were my brother’s and sister’s age. We usually just played with them together. Then the neighbors down the street, further down would come over and play as well. We would play baseball a lot. One time there was a horse that my dad brought one time from somewhere, and we were all riding it, and my sister got up and when the horse galloped, she kept slipping back, and she fell (laughs). Anyway, that was funny, and she doesn’t forget that. As far as birthdays, well, my mother would try and bake something special, her favorite bread, she would make it into a cake. It was a bread recipe, but she made it into a cake, and she put frosting on it. It wasn’t very luxurious and then she would put candles on it. Then, we would have a piñata, but the piñata was not really anything elaborate like there is, now you have these characters you know? It was just a paper bag filled with, I don’t know, if we had candy, there would be candy, maybe beans, just to weight it down. The sport was to get it, that was the fun part. Then we would hang it on the clothesline and we would play with it going back and forth, it was just the kids, not any adults getting into it, it was just the kids. 

JM: It was for you guys. 

EL: And then other times, we’d get together with my cousin on my mother’s side of the my family. Then, we would have picnics. My granddad, my panane, as I called him, he had land way close to the river. It was very shady, there were fruit trees around, one or two pecan trees, I don’t remember, but very shady. I was like fifteen, sixteen, maybe. By that time, irrigation water had kind of scarce down to the crops, so the farmers were installing pumps, electrical pumps. I don’t know how they were run, but they were pumps that would pump the water out from the underground into the little small canal and would then disperse to the crops. That little area, the water was cool and clean, is what we saw, and we would just jump in it. 

JM: On Summer days?

EL: Mhmm, on summer days. 

JM: How refreshing, and under trees?

EL: Under the trees and then we had the picnic. Then, we would go hiking around the fruit trees and we’d pick up the fruit. Then, my grandma would, le dicen frascado, she would can it. At that time, depends on the time of the year it was, but I remember that she had a lot of quince, it’s a membrillo. I remember going to visit her several times on Sundays and she would always ask us if we wanted some quince. She would go into the little hallway closet that she had, full closet, filled with all the fruit that she had canned. It was very very appetizing of course, and we always liked it. Of course, we said yes all the time. She also made some wonderful tortillas. 

JM: Really? Corn? Flour?

EL: Flour! I was raised on flour. That’s the difference between having the influence of Mexico than Texan, or this side of the border. There was flour around here all the time. It was a mill, so we always had flour. 

JM: And that’s how she made her tortillas. So growing up you also went and visited your grandma?

EL: Every Sunday we’d go to grandma and all my cousins would be there, over there on my mom’s side.  My grandma lived over on Caballero Road, is it Caballero now? 

JM: I think so, yeah. 

EL: Yeah, it’s Caballero, in the back house there. Around there, they had pecan trees.

JM: Did she make anything with the pecans? Like pie?

EL: No, no, no. My grandma, well that was a long time ago, she suffered a lot from her feet. She had some kind of arthritis that her toes just kind of crumbled up. She couldn’t do, she always had workers helping her like little Indian. They looked Native American.

JM: So you grew up with them?

EL: I grew up with that. “Who was so and so, and who was so and so?” We thought we were all related, you know? 

JM: As kids, yeah. 

EL: They just took her in. 

JM: She helped around the house. That’s interesting. That means they’ve also been around in the area too. 

EL:  My grandma was a sister to Ben Sanchez’s mother. I don’t know if you have interviewed him. This is my grandmother, from my dad’s side. 

JM: She looks pretty tall. 

EL: Yes, this is my grandmother from my mother’s side. I have, this is a better picture. On my mother’s side, my grandma and my grandpa. She is the sister to Benji’s mom. And she is the sister to, her pictures were here. They were here.

JM: There’s more pictures back there, I don’t know. 

EL: It’s three sisters. Our neighbor, Josepha. There’s three pictures there, maybe they’re behind all that. Anyway, he was pretty well off in those days, I guess. He had a car but before that he had another vehicle. A carreta. 

JM: Wow, with horses?

EL: A horse-drawn carreta. 

JM: And why were they well off? Farming? They were farmers?

EL: Farmers. 

JM: That was good job here in the area. 

EL: Farming paid off. 

JM: So, it was generational?

EL: Well, I don’t want to say well off, they were doing good. He could afford a car.

JM: A carreta. 

EL: And a carreta. And this is my grandpa from my father’s side. 

JM: What was his name?

EL: From my father’s side. 

JM: Right, what was his name?

EL: Eduardo. 

JM: Eduardo.

EL: And he was Tomas. 

JM: Tomas. 

EL: Tomas Tellez and then Eduardo Maese and then this is his family. 

JM: I like all the little curls they all have. 

EL: Yes. This is my grandpa, that one. He came out in the newspaper with dignitaries, politicals, in those days. 

JM: What year was this? 1962. 

EL: He died shortly after that I think, 1968. 

JM: And what was his name? Eduardo?

EL: Eduardo Maese. 

JM: Oh yeah, he was 85 in this picture. 

EL: I made copies of it because I know this was not going to survive. They’ve been kept for a long time, until I got my hands on them and I made copies, so its there in my paperwork.

JM: Did your other siblings also save images or were you the only one?

EL: No, my mother was the one saving them, and I inherited it all when she passed away. So, this was given to her in 1995 by her sister. This was her sister’s but she passed away, so she gave it to my mother. My mother had this, I don’t know when this was is. I’m sure there is another one somewhere. These are pictures that this girl made me, but they are not very good. Somebody is standing right in front of the church. 

JM: Right here. 

EL: And right here, four ladies are sitting on the grass with the church as the backdrop. Oh here, I made a copy of this. This is my grandfather with two of the girls, and this is a nephew, George. 

JM: I love the jeans. 

EL: (Laughs). The boy jeans. I think they were boy jeans that the girls wore because they were working on the farm. 

JM: So, were your siblings working on the farm?

EL: My brothers did. Well, we did too. If we wanted to earn extra money, we would go out and pick cotton.

JM: But for your father or for other people?

EL: For my father. 

JM: And then he would pay you?

EL: Yeah, we would help him out. It was hard labor I guess. A lot of times I would be busy with helping my mom out a lot because I was the oldest. She would have me driving. Well, that’s another story, when I learned to drive. When I learned to drive, we just had one truck that was a farm truck, and my dad used it all the time. It was a Chevrolet. What year? Fifty-three maybe. Fifty-three and it was a cambio saca, you know? My mom, in her married life, she was expecting her babies, but she wouldn’t tell anybody. She would just hold it in as a secret, and she worked or planned around when the baby was going to be born. She asked, she didn’t ask me, she told me I guess, and you didn’t question it, at that time you didn’t question your mom’s wishes or your parents’ wishes. She said, “I think it’s time that I teach you to drive, and I got it all figured out. When Antonio,” Antonio, my dad, “will not use the truck, we’ll go to the cotton gin and we will practice over there,” and the cotton gin was a little bit further down and at the cotton gin, there was a lot of room because that’s where they put the cotton trailers and they park them. There was always a lot of room. We’d go practice there.

JM: How old were you? 

EL: Fourteen. 

JM: Okay. 

EL: Fourteen. I think they gave you the permit to drive at sixteen. So, she took me there every chance we got. She took me there. I don’t know how long it took, but it wasn’t like I did it all the time. I didn’t get in the vehicle to drive to practice, no. Unless, she would be able to guide me, which was after dinner we would go or when my dad would not be using the truck at all. Anyway, I did go at least for a year, and then all of a sudden, she says, “Oh, by the way I got this book for you. I think it’d be wise for you to study,” Okay, so there it is “Texas Driver’s License Application,” to study with, big bright yellow letters, or black letters. I’m sure it’s still the same color, right? Is it? 

JM: I don’t know. 

EL: Okay, well anyway, it looked very official, and I said, “okay, I’ll study it.” I studied it now and then. Then one day she said, “okay, let’s go practice again.” Parking and all that. I just followed her and then she said, “I think we’re going to take you take your driver’s license test to see if you can drive.” That’s when I got scared (laughs). “Oooh, you sure you think I’m ready?” Dijo, “I think you are,” but I went, and I was so nervous with the policeman sitting right next to me. I didn’t pass the parking. I disappointed my mom. I said, “I didn’t pass,” “Okay, well just practice some more.” We practiced some more, and the next time I passed. 

JM: And you were fourteen. 

EL: Well, when I first started, so by that time, I was close to 16 because I was delivering milk.  I was the milk delivery person for San Eli at that time. This cow was giving a lot of milk and my mother didn’t know what to do with it. She couldn’t keep up with all the milk production. Maybe there was two cows, I don’t know. She said, “I’ve compiled a list,” She didn’t say when she was doing it, she would just tell me “you’re going to go early in the morning and you’re going to take this milk to Chela,” some of her friends, “and then from there, you’re going to go to the Gandaras, la Señora Gandara.”

JM: Did you graduate high school? 

EL: Yes. 

JM: Did you get married after that?

EL: Yes. 

JM: Here in San Eli?

EL: I got married in San Eli, yes. 

JM: In the church?

EL: I got married in the church but not with the full ceremony, it was just a church service. I was one of those girls that ran out. I guess I disappointed my parents in that way, that I didn’t wait to get a full service. They weren’t ready for me to get married. 

JM: How old were you?

EL: I was like eighteen. Fresh out of high school and it was a disappointment for them, but I got married. Then, after a year or so, my daughter was born, Becky my oldest. She was a little gordita gordita muchachita. Now she’s fifty-something years old, almost fifty-five. And then, I had four children really, but my second born died of, he was like four years old, and there was an epidemic of measles, and there wasn’t an injection. The injection started to come out barely, but he hadn’t had it yet, and he got that sleeping sickness. He never woke up. That was very hard. 

JM: I’m sorry. That was here in San Eli?

EL: Well, I was living in Clint because I married a teenage boy from Clint. Well anyways, but then I had Rose. Rose by then was already born when my son died. She had barely been born. Then, I had Grace afterwards, she was the youngest one. So, I have three girls and they have, Becky has three kids, Rose doesn’t have any, and Gracie has two boys. 

JM: So, you have five grandkids?

EL: Becky had three girls and Gracie had two boys, and Rose doesn’t have any. So, I have five. 

JM: Do you have any great grandkids?

EL: Yes, Becky’s oldest got married, and she has two kids. 

JM: Oh wow, so you’re a great grandma to two?

EL: Yeah. 

JM: That’s amazing. 

EL: And they’re doing very well in school. 

JM: Naomi is her name. My great grandkids mother, and she kept saying, well she finished college right, and she says, “Now I can get married?” “Yes, if you must, you can get married.” The boyfriend was always there with her, he always nice to her. Anyway, they got married with a full ceremony from a different church, but that’s what to be expected. 

JM: Things change. 

EL: Change, yeah. So now she has two kids and they’re in high school. They’re going to Chapin (high school), they live over there. 

JM: Any memorable people of San Eli? 

EL: Oh, there’s always memorable people, Mr. Alarcon. 

JM: Why was he memorable?

EL: He was the principal of the school. His walk, his mannerism. When you went to church, at the time, when you went to church, when I was a young girl, seats were assigned.

JM: Like per family?

EL: I don’t know if it meant that you were the one that did the most donations or what. Now that I think about it, maybe it was discriminatory, I don’t know but that is something else, that’s the Catholic religion (laughs). Anyways, seats were assigned, and his was always the very first on the aisle. So, we knew, when he came and if you were in church, and Mr. Alarcon came by or Barbara, his daughter, or his wife. Barbara, his daughter, was around the age of my sister, my next sister that was born. They got along really good in school, but that meant you were in time for church. He was a big guy. The way that he walked (laughs). A lot of the children, like Mr. Alarcon’s children, belong to the Genealogy Society as a member, even though they are out of town. There’s people all over the United States spread out because we’ve had them all spread out you know? Since you’ve been here, I’m sure you know. 

JM: Yeah, I think I spoke with Ms. Sambrano and she lives in New York City. 

EL: She’s in New York City. Her mother Ms. Sambrano, Josefa Sambrano, was my mother’s dearest friend. She would always pick her up. My mother was a driver and the person with a car, so she would always pick up these people to take them to church or take them to vote or to take them where they needed to go, if they called her. She had like three or four people she took to church or funerals, or go see a sick person. My mother would always say to me, when I was a young girl, to look up as my mentor, to follow Choles way of being, Choles way of behaving, or Choles’ schooling, that kind of behavior, or this other lady. She married a cousin of mine. I always remember that, when I see Chole or somebody mentions her name. I always remember my mother’s. 

JM: Her advice?

EL: Mhmm. 

JM: Is Chole, Josefine? Is that her short name?

EL: Soldedad Sambrano. When I was volunteering here, see the way I got involved with the Genealogy was my mother was part of the group. She really didn’t participate very much because she felt like my dad needed her and even though husbands can be very lenient or very flexible let’s say, my mother felt the responsibility that she had to be there to feed him and to be in case he needed her. So, she didn’t really want to participate too much. She helped the same with the church. She helped with the fiestas. “Just bring me the lettuce and bring me the cheese and I’ll grate it for you and I’ll take it to you.” That’s the way she participated, but my dad would participate. He would come and help put up the stands, where they had the food and all that, los puestos que les decimos. He would help the main guy, the captain of the events. For the same thing with the Genealogy, my mother would help out. She would buy the tickets of some cause and just give them the money and “here is the ticket.”

JM: Yeah, like I helped?

EL: Yes, or she would go to the luncheons, and she would invite other people with her. I would go with her and that’s how I got involved, going to the luncheons. 

JM: What would you do at the luncheons?

EL: I just sat with her and spoke to people. I spoke to people. 

JM: Convivir. 

EL: Yeah. “Oh it’s so good that you’re here, that you brought your daughter.” We started talking and you know, so that’s how I got involved, and I kept being a volunteer. Then, one time, not too long ago, well Transito was still alive, I had come back from a trip. My younger daughter Gracie is in Germany because her husband was in the military and he was stationed in Germany, going to Afghanistan and all that, and she was going over there in Germany. She said, “mother why don’t you come over.” And anyway, I did. I was there for six weeks. And I had just come back, and I said, “well I got to do something.” I had already retired from here. 

JM: From the Genealogy Society?

EL: No, I had retired from my job that I was at. And I said, “Okay, how do I go about it?” “Don’t worry about it, I’ll get you fixed up.” So, I went for six weeks, and I came back and I say, “Well okay, I just got back from Germany, well what do I do now?” I was down at SAS shoes, down on Lee Trevino because I lived in that area. They were hiring people and I say,

--“What do you need people for?”

--Dijo, “Well I need a salesperson.”

--I say, “Oh okay, well I’m a salesperson, can I apply?” 

--She says, “Sure.” So, she brought me an application. Well, I got hired. There I am selling shoes. All of a sudden I see Transito come into the store. 

--She says, “You know what?” She knew me, she knew that I volunteered. She knew my mother. She said, “You know what, why don’t you come over and apply at the Genealogy?” 

--“Why do you want me to apply?” 

--“We need a director. You might qualify. Of course, you have to interview with the board.” 

--"What’s the matter with your director? Don’t you have a directory? Frankie Soto?”

--“Yeah, but I don’t know, he took off and we don’t know where he’s at. Why don’t you go just to see if we need somebody?” I thought about it and I thought about it and after a while I said, 

--“Okay.” I came to apply. Then, they called me for an interview because I guess he never showed up. And I got hired. 


JM: As the Director?

EL: Well, I had college and I had travel experience, and I had experience with here, and they knew me. 

--“What do I have to do?”

--“You have to do what the board says. You have to follow las otras,” and I saw who the board consisted of.

--I said, “I’ll give it a try.” 

I was here for seven years. Seven years. Benji was sometime here too. Benji was here when I would come and volunteer. 

JM: Who’s Benji? 

EL: Benji Sanchez. You don’t know him? That’s also one of the things I also wrote about. The times we spent dancing at the salon where he has a dance hall. The Presidio Dance Hall. His daughter owns it now, but he had it before. He would bring in musicians. 

JM: Local or from everywhere?

EL: Local. And then he had the music he had already recorded on the tape, the long tape, you know. 1960 music, you know, great music. So, I wrote about it, my times there. 

JM: At the baile. 

EL: In the bailes. How the guys stood out the door and waited until 

JM: To ask a girl? 

EL: To ask a girl. They forgot Ms. Laurie’s manners (laughs).

JM: That sounds so fun. 

EL: I had to get Benji and tell him, “What other musicians did you bring? So, I had contact with him. “Don’t you remember that we had?” Dijo, “Well I don’t remember the music. I don’t remember who the musicians were.” Anyways, that’s in my stories and all that. 

JM: Is there anything you want to say about growing up in San Eli that I may have missed? Some other memories that you have?

EL: The memoires. Oh well, this is not is. This is it. You have this here right? 

JM: Maybe, yeah. I think the museum has it. 

EL: Well I know my mother’s had it in her stuff. Thirty one percent Native American. 

JM: Your DNA from ancestry. Okay yeah, Native American from Chihuahua, Durango, and Zacatecas. Those are Mexican states. New Mexico, Southern California, Mexico, and South Texas. Yeah, so there is a lot of indigenous people from Mexico and from here that is in your lineage. 

EL: But I got the story with my horse Chapo with my grandpa, the story of the Maeses and Tellez. I got the story on why we were called Los Reatas. That something else. We were called Los Reatas because my dad as a young man, I understand, according to my mom, he was very good at playing handball. They called him La Reata, like a whip because a handball is played with a hand and a hard ball. His hands were very big and so he was good at it. When we were born “era Reatita.” So, I was known as La Reatita because I was the first born. So, I told about that story. Then I told the story about the farmer’s market. When the crop yielded for the summer or in the fall, I don’t know it depends on what yielded, it would be corn, chili, tomatoes, that’s what normally what he farmed. Melons, watermelons, he would set up the back of the 53 Chevy and he would put me up there to sell. 

JM: All the produce?

EL: For that Saturday. It would sell out. That was the farmer’s market. That’s what I understood as being the farmer’s market. Then, the driver’s license. Oh, yes, the tonette way. My mom missed her calling, I think. She should have been a beautician. 

JM: What did she do?

EL: She would always be making us permanents because she felt we had very straight hair and she wanted it curly. She would have to mess with it so it would curl up. My dad would just get angry with her and say, “Well that’s the way her hair is!” She started us young, the tonette, it was for young girls, and then we graduated to the Tony. My sister and I would always be laughing about that. How we would always show up at the school picture taken day with our blisters because we would always break out with blisters on our mouth or our lip, and we would take the picture with our blister and our hair that was already curly. Then, I had walking strolls to visit my cousin on Glorietta Street is the name, not Caballeros, Glorietta. Then, the dance hall, two pages, well one and a half page. I wrote about a temporary home for my grandparents. How we housed them when they were old, so we took care of them, well my parents did anyway, both my grandma and grandpa, and they stayed at our house, and they would stay at each of the children’s houses. My grandma would stay thirty days with us and then she would move on to the next child and so on, and so did my grandpa. My grandpa only stayed with us for a certain amount of time and then he would stay with Eva, my dad’s sister. She lived in that building that has all the cactus in front, that’s where she lived. That’s where he stayed. He was right where all the action was because there was a ball field right next door.

JM: It was fun. 

EL: He liked it. And then the religious instruction that we received. Then, the border crossers also when we used to go to Mexico to buy stuff or to do our hair or to do dry cleaning, all that happened around here. And the colorful language also that we were exposed to. Anyway, those are my stories. 

JM: So many. 

EL: So many, and I just thought of one that I should have mentioned. My Tía Maria, she was a seamstress, she was his daughter, or the one that took care of my dad when his mom passed away. She was a seamstress. She sowed for the affluent families in Clint. She always had customers coming over and try. She was measuring them for this and that. She had wedding parties. She made the whole la novia con las madrinas. 

JM: The gowns y todos los vestidos?

EL: Pero ella siempre andaba toda bien descocida. 

JM: That’s how it is. 

EL: (Laughs) She had a daughter that was a little bit younger than I was. That’s how we took horse rides with my grandpa. He would take us all around town to do horse rides with Chapo. We had our share of good times. 

JM: I’m happy you shared them with me and with the San Elizario Museum.

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