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Sam Sanchez

Fri, Jan 13, 2023 6:23PM • 44:35


Victoria Almaguer, Sam Sanchez


Victoria Almaguer  00:01

Okay, so I'm gonna put it over here. Okay, okay.


Sam Sanchez  00:05

Just okay. You tell me what what to do


Victoria Almaguer  00:15

let me grab my questions real quick okay, can you say your first and last name, please?


Sam Sanchez  00:32

My name is Samuel Sanchez adnd I have senior after that only because I have my, my firstborn name after me and so he would be another Sam Sanchez.


Victoria Almaguer  00:50

And what where your born Mr. Sanchez?


Sam Sanchez  00:52

I was born in April 5 of 1936. Put me out somewhere on 80 something.


Victoria Almaguer  01:12

I think that's better. Okay. So we're going to start off with just a quick question. I was reading your memoir are here, your, your memories. 


Sam Sanchez  01:25



Victoria Almaguer  01:26

in San Elizario and one of the questions that we have here is your oldest, I guess, the oldest family member, you recall in San Elizario was your father? Or was your?


Sam Sanchez  01:40

My father was lovely to meet him and it was on my father's side. My grandmother, he, they're very similar, also New Mexico, and because they come from there. But I got to meet. I didn't get to meet my mother's father because because she was 16 years old when he died.  And by the way, he comes from a long line of I guess you would call them public servants or they work for the, they used to, be part of the crown service at that time. They moved around with the UT Presidio was ordered to move to a different location, they would go with it. So there was a mother's side. My father's side because George, I don't know, you met George Sanchez. 


Victoria Almaguer  02:52



Sam Sanchez  02:53

 he sat there. He usually was volunteering at the jail all the time. But he he's wonderful, the genealogy together. And he's really pretty good at that. I lost a lot of my ability to concentrate when I fell in and broke my back, you know, and I hit my head. And now, you know, I have to struggle sometimes to remember things. But I'll do as much as I can.


Victoria Almaguer  03:36

Sorry, something went off. 


Sam Sanchez  03:38



Victoria Almaguer  03:43

I think that was going to work better. Okay. Testing, testing 1212. Okay. Another question that we have. So I was reading here that your grandfather didn't like some San ELizario and he moved back to New Mexico.


Sam Sanchez  04:17

 My grandfather, my father's father, yeah, he, he wasn't too happy with San Elizario and so he wanted to be back in New Mexico. That's where all his brothers and everything was from there. Lincoln County, and and sometimes it's hard to, to move away from what you used to. And he was not happy. And people try to help him with with stuff but now he wasn't too happy with being in San Elizario. But I was, my father was too. He actually my father became a deputy out there. So he's always this shows the shoes name was Seth Hondorff. Hondorff was the sheriff it's all written down there, you know, so I'm sure that you you got it there.


Victoria Almaguer  05:32

And how was it growing up with your dad being a Sheriff? Was it troublesome?


Sam Sanchez  05:39

Actually, by the time I was around, I was the seventh in the family. He was already he was already he was a deputy but, but he was during the Depression and they were chasing the contraband. People around. And he spent a lot of time doing that. And as a matter of fact he was him and his budy Grijalva. They were both deputies. And they were together, they were like a team. And so he deals during the bootlegging days that they served the county


Victoria Almaguer  06:30

 That was a big deal back then.


Sam Sanchez  06:32

Oh, yeah. So as a matter of fact he during the line of duty, he actually killed one of the bootleggers that came after him, they came out they came to kill him, but But he he got better after people that came after him and so he actually he he killed one of are the bootleggers from I guess from across the border.  In later in later years, I talk about that and the the memoirs. And so he he was always not paranoid, but he's always cautious as to people that would come over to the side. He had he opened up a bar in 1946 Dance Hall in a bar and he spent alot of time there while he was a deputy and all that but I actually had a good time growing up in San Elizario, I was happy that I was being able to to be there because I let things go in you know as far as my friends and everything else from from the area. 


Victoria Almaguer  07:57



Sam Sanchez  08:00

 And I was happy being going there.


Victoria Almaguer  08:02

What is one of the fondest memories that you have growing up in San Elizario?


Sam Sanchez  08:11

I was they would and they used to have a fire used to host some dances over the weekend. And I didn't learn to dance but I I was happy to be there and watch the dances except when you know sometimes you you get a little jealous when you see your girlfriend dancing and and so be it you know I grew up not learning how to dance. But it was all in all it was a good it was a good growing up there. For me.


Victoria Almaguer  08:54

Was there a favorite food or a tradition or family gathering that you recall that was your favorite?


Sam Sanchez  09:04

I recall when my my mother's sister used to get together to to do they used to call it what do you call when you pickle and you say there you go again. I'm losing my memory but they used to get together to jar you know they would. They would get together to to get together to jar and preserve. Made jellies and stuff like that. So I grew up most of my brothers grew up with that too. But all in all, I know. Sometimes it gets difficult for me to, not to remember but to bring forth what I what I remember and put it together. But, that's about it. 


Victoria Almaguer  10:23

No worries. If you have any issues, just let me know. Take your time. It's perfectly fine. I know that you went through the Marines, right? Yeah. In WW II? Before before that happened? Was there an exciting event that happened in San Elizario , or how was how was it living?


Sam Sanchez  10:45

In 1950 the San Elizario celebrated the centennial celebration, the founding of the El Paso county and San Elizario being the most populous area was selected to be the county seat of El Paso. That was an exciting time because he was put a lot of focus on the town itself. And for me being the time like, what 13 years old or something like that. It was exciting, because there was a lot of focus on the town. And we were involved because of my father involvement with the area. And so it was just memories that that I can you remember that we're happy, though happy to be around the town at that time.


Victoria Almaguer  11:37

And during World War Two, you said your brother went first. Right? How was it



World War Two, it was Korea actually. World War Two was we were too young for that. World War Two, it was exciting because we used to have drills from from from the school. Because at that time, I guess the town was very cautious as to there was a lot of focus on the atomic bomb and all this crazy stuff going on. 


Sam Sanchez  12:16

And so we used to have the drills go under the tables or this and there nothing like that happened, actually. But but the drills were there. And we knew about drills and why. In Korea, we're just just beginning to be there was a focus on the on the Korean conflict because they we were we were taking all that as a preventative activity there is to have as kids for there.  We always thought that the maneuvers that we went through for Korea were necessary because we all heard about the atomic bomb and we thought that


Victoria Almaguer  13:25

 That was crazy. 


Sam Sanchez  13:26

Yeah, it was a crazy thing and and and we're learning about Hiroshima and we live somewhere when I was in Japan and so it was exciting because you could see you couldn't see the people but they were they were actually they were you could see the outlines and on the streets.  Just did they disintegrated with the with the radiation. And so it was something to see. But we thought that was the end of the wars that we were gonna have because who else was gonna take care of who else was gonna propose the United States with the atomic bomb and all that we thought that there was a there will be no more no more wars. But there you have it. We still have them


Victoria Almaguer  14:36

Man still continuous to create wars.


Sam Sanchez  14:39



Victoria Almaguer  14:41

How when you when you first heard about or when people first heard about the break of World War Two and the Korean War. How was that?


Sam Sanchez  14:53

Well, I was very I was going to school at the Catholics School in Ysleta Icarnate Word, I was in the second grade, second grade when all that came to when the war was over, and we were all happy jumping over the seats and announced I was going to the Catholic school and they were all happy and because he was the end of the war and I don't think anybody thought there was gonna be any more any more wars


Victoria Almaguer  15:39

Have more. Sorry I was looking for my water.


Sam Sanchez  15:43

Your water? Yeah, I


Victoria Almaguer  15:44

was looking for my water but it disappeared.


Sam Sanchez  15:47

Maybe back there and back


Victoria Almaguer  15:57

Oh, it's right there. Okay. Okay, sorry about that. Okay, um, during your time living in San Elizario was there like a scary resident or a popular resident? I know I spoke to Miss Katie Ponce. yesterday. She talked about the millionaire of Ssn ELizario. But was there like somebody like a popular name that you remember?


Sam Sanchez  16:25

You're talking to Katie was the same age that we started school together and kinder. But yeah, she was . There's several of my classmates at that time were really when I think 1941 Katie was one of them. Mrs. Mrs. Soledad Sambrano. Yes, she was my classmate Alarcon She was Lorenzo Alarcon's the daughter, As a matter of fact I communicated with long afterwards. And we had a good relation with her as far as being friends. And she gave me a lot of information it's hard to blame everybody else, you know, but yeah, it was. It was a good. A good time to. Yeah,


Victoria Almaguer  17:37

 you guys are all friends. 


Sam Sanchez  17:39

Yeah. There's a wasp by there be careful.Yes. 


Victoria Almaguer  17:47

Let me see. Have you recently gone to San Elizario. Saw like, the changes of the town?


Sam Sanchez  17:54

Iwas there. For the for the veterans. For the veterans thing that they do every, every year in November. I was there. I've been there every year since they have a good ceremony. They have the they have the guys that they select to be the you know, the parade Marshal and all this. Who they're gonna honor and everything else. I was honored at one time, you know, but there were a long time ago. But yeah, I go there quite frequently.


Victoria Almaguer  18:38

Were there any changes in the town that that you were like, Oh, this used to be a road or this used to be?


Sam Sanchez  18:45

Yeah, we got involved with was his own kind of history. So as a matter of fact, he was our president of the organization for a long time. And he was able to, to capture all our newsletters and everything else, and put him in a way that that they were secure.  For, for his own agenda, you know, and so it's been hard to get some of those some of those newsletters out of out of the files, but they're there to to be heard, you know, all you got to do is go and look for the newsletters. At the end, I know how to do it, but they do get it and some of them are very interesting. I do send your letters to Tito's I wrote a lot about letter stuff I wrote about it. And then there's someone that's really cool


Victoria Almaguer  20:11

I was reading about your family, was there an item that was passed down your family, but any chance you kept? Maybe when your mother passed away when your father passed away?


Sam Sanchez  20:24

When we got when he divided the property, you know, everybody got some of it. There was one thing but at the celebration of the the centennial was quite a quite a story. You know, that happened there. They're in San Elizario here because we, there's a lot of focus on the town itself. And it was a time that that I noticed how important the Dow was as far as the history was concerned. Because then before her I seen so many people come into San Elizario and why. But that was the reason. And and when you do us all and there's a lot of focus on on on community. And you're involved. It's always a good feeling to know that you're there and you have a part in it.


Victoria Almaguer  21:37

Yeah. As a resident as somebody.


Sam Sanchez  21:44

Right, do I go there every year? For the we used to go out there for the fiesta of San Lorenzo. And sometimes because of the the matachiness and all that stuff. But it's always a good thing to to belong to a town that celebrate something. Because you're part of it.


Victoria Almaguer  22:17

Is there a favorite spot of San Elizario that you have?


Sam Sanchez  22:22

favorite spot? Well, my White House where I grew up, where I grew up, you know, that's always important to me. And and yeah, yes. Still there. And my brother. Ben is the one that lives in that house now. So it's part of the they call it the Presidio hall or the Myers garden, stuff like that. But let's see what our memories are to


Victoria Almaguer  23:15

Is there a famous family story that that you, you might want to be researched? Because I know you were you were talked you talk to your about when you're when you're in your father went to juarez is that was? Oh, yeah, no, it's scary.


Sam Sanchez  23:33

Cause he had already killed, a bootlegger. I was a long time ago. And my father was always cautious about people they would come over. Because he opened up the bar in 1946. And he always had a free dream for people they would come over and talk to him. And yeah, he confronted a man that was a brother and this guy that he had killed. But I talked to him about the story. It was kind of scary for him. And I can understand why he would be cautious about opening the door to just anybody. He was accused of trafficking. illegals, because we have this. Talk about that.


Victoria Almaguer  24:37

And now it's changed with the wall being put up. Yeah. Can't come in as as he used to. Is there a question that you wish you could have asked a family member before they passed away a


Sam Sanchez  24:57

Alot of questions that I had for people that they're not there anymore yeah, as always, I forget sometimes. And I say that my sister just died not too long ago, Sister Louisa, she was the youngest of the first four girls. The first four girls were all married to military guys from World War Two. And so she was no different. She, she married Susana Martinez. And he became he was he was a soldier. Right, but he knew somebody belong to the, to the service at that time.


Victoria Almaguer  25:57

What is one of the one of the most prominent questions that you wish you could have asked somebody?


Sam Sanchez  26:09

Tony, was, he was one that I could have asked if I would have known that he was going to be gone. And if he would be the one that I would ask some of the stuff that I needed to know, because he was very knowledgeable as far as the area is concerned. And so but, you know, he passed away and I didn't get a chance to, to ask the questions. But there's always something that that needs to be clarified when you when you don't have somebody to talk to about that. You just feel bad that they're not there. But yeah, there's a lot of questions that need to be answered. When there's nobody to answer.


Victoria Almaguer  27:07

What do you hope to live to leave for the next generation that come to your family?


Sam Sanchez  27:15

I wrote a book and I got that booklet there. And there's a lot of stuff that I did, I did read done to that they can have.. And so I think that that should be enough that I that I can read, but there's always some something else that needs to be, you know, needs to be done. I don't want people to be wondering something that I couldn't help with. So that's about the thing that not it doesn't bother me, but I'm glad that I was able to get involved with stuff like that.


Victoria Almaguer  28:10

Let me see what other questions do I have? I wanted to ask about your wife so your wife Her name was Minerva.


Sam Sanchez  28:23

Yeah. Well, my wife she was the mother of my kids. Yeah, yeah. I was with a for 30 some odd years. And then she we separated. And I was there when she passed away. I know that she's the mother of my kids and whatever happened happening I was there. But that she decided that she wanted to have something else and she did. What can you do?


Victoria Almaguer  29:02

Around that time, according someone was way different. Right? Recording someone today? Yeah. Could you could you explain a little bit what that was like? Cuz you spoke about it how it was it wasn't the Charleston anymore. It was now rock and roll.


Sam Sanchez  29:18

Oh, yeah. Well, my father had opened up the dance. Used to host they used to have hired the hall for for dances and for decent that the youth used to hard Dancehall to express their feelings when they were dancing and stuff like that. And so I remember that. They were happy to help base where they can get together and dance


Victoria Almaguer  30:01

Did you also dance?


Sam Sanchez  30:04

I was not too much of a dancer. As a matter of fact one of the reasons I didn't learn how to dance but I was involved with something else at that time


Victoria Almaguer  30:23

When you when you came back from from the Korean War, how different wasSan Elizario? Did they receive you differently? Did you see a different?


Sam Sanchez  30:34

Actually? Yeah. I didn't getting involved with the Korean situation until I was told by the recruiting because because I didn't finish high school until 1950. When did I finish my school four to six maybe. And and so I didn't I didn't actually go in there and take Korea I was part of the the the typical soldiers that I forgot what the word is, but the occupational forces that they have. And I was part of that in Japan. The first part of the Korean study that I went to


Victoria Almaguer  31:51

and when you came back from from the war did things change in a drastic way? Or were they the same? Did you miss Did you have any, like, PTSD left and


Sam Sanchez  32:14

I wasn't a part of the occupational forces and that's about it. I wasn't involved with any battles or anything like that. So that was about it on the on my contribution to the straw to page, my high school and then join the the regular Marine Corps, which I did. Were going to a senior trip. You read about that? Yeah. Okay. And it was, it was quite interesting to know that. That was anything that I can say that I was doing wrong with other than be be part of the occupation.


Victoria Almaguer  33:22

I was reading here when when it said that as a kid, your mom had a difficult time making you eat?


Sam Sanchez  33:28

Oh, yeah, I was. I was. I didn't like anything. Why was that? It was everything was yucky to me. And I was very, very difficult for me to eat. And she he did hear a lot of trouble with me on that. And he was getting close to the school year. And she was didn't know what to do. But what are you? What are you going to do if you don't like something?


Victoria Almaguer  34:03

She would force you. It says that you still don't drink milk?


Sam Sanchez  34:08

Oh, no. That was something that was right on my head.


Victoria Almaguer  34:17

I personally don't like regular milk. I think it tastes bad. But I drink like almond milk. Oat Milk, because regular milk from cows for me is


Sam Sanchez  34:34

I didn't mean to me is not something that I would recommend for anyone. You're a young carefree, you can drink milk if you want to quit or


Victoria Almaguer  34:52

not you had a few more questions already here. Okay. I'm trying to find so it said that you also were at the TN our chemical yeah


Sam Sanchez  35:11

yeah I was I used to work in the lab that I used to do analytical work


Victoria Almaguer  35:22

how is that different from from anything that you always did?


Sam Sanchez  35:25

 Well I helped I helped to company develop a process that now standard procedure at their company it was a good I was there for a long time. So matter of fact, I still in the payroll really Yeah, as an advisor


Victoria Almaguer  35:59

Well, I was also reading that your son Right, right. Yeah. He worked for the radio station at KTP. Yeah, he's, I did too.


Sam Sanchez  36:11

I don't know you met him you you met?


Victoria Almaguer  36:13

I don't think every No, but I worked I worked for four years


Sam Sanchez  36:21

he was a radio station and then he took he took he had a program at night jazz program.


Victoria Almaguer  36:32

Okay, yeah, the jazz yes hours.


Sam Sanchez  36:35

Yeah. So he was there and I went to visit him when he was at the station there spend some time with


Victoria Almaguer  36:46

My mom went because sometimes I volunteer so I'm gonna turn it on to this


Sam Sanchez  36:53

So yeah, he sat there race race working when he said I don't he took his work with him because we had to meet a client and also we have family there so he was she's visiting my uncle Ray my brother and so but he went there because he had an appointment with this guy that he's working


Victoria Almaguer  37:27

well now you know somebody else that works at KTEP. Let me see because I was reading I was like reading about you all day so after what happened to the land that your that your father left you did you sell it did you build the house?


Sam Sanchez  37:53

Yeah, I I sold it to my to my sister because she wanted to keep it so I said okay. It's yours for so much and that was


Victoria Almaguer  38:12

Thenn you moved over here to Horizon?


Sam Sanchez  38:15

I moved to Socorro first I bought my first house over there. Socorro and then moved to Horizon. we bought this place


Victoria Almaguer  38:30

How are you like you know here or do you miss San Elizario?


Sam Sanchez  38:34

I love it here it's peaceful. It's peaceful and I know that that sometime with the kids and everything else they're kind of fun to be to be with you know, they sometimes can get overly real Michael like to tell me stories and but he never has finished the story. He's always and these and these. He's talking as he remember stuff.


Victoria Almaguer  39:18

Yeah. Well, one of the last questions that I have is what what was what would you define as being one of your best days ever?


Sam Sanchez  39:33

Best days?


Victoria Almaguer  39:34

Yeah. One of your favorite days. It could be any day anytime.


Sam Sanchez  39:43

I would say that it would be one of the Saturdays did we have the the veterans get to either set the bridge, or we have a lot of people. And it's a good thing to see all these people. That would be one of my favorites. Yeah.


Victoria Almaguer  40:15

And everybody gathers there.


Sam Sanchez  40:17

Yeah. Oh, yeah.


Victoria Almaguer  40:22

I don't know if you have any, any other stories that you want to tell me Mr. Sam.


Sam Sanchez  40:30

Not really I mean, we're, they're getting ready for the big old San Lorenzo Fiesta there in Clint. And so it was a big thing out there. But as far as being from San Eli, that would be about the the only thing that would be at the set aside for for as an activity for somebody beside you. But it is because of the Fiesta of San Lorenzo. And that is popular. If I talk about that


Victoria Almaguer  41:10

if you were to describe San Elizario to someone that's new in the town, how would you describe? 


Sam Sanchez  41:19

Gosh. San Elizario. It's nice when it's not too, too hard. And right now, you know, we have it's going on. But it's it's, you know, has to do more with the getting together for the Fiesta and all this stuff that they do for some ransom and stuff like that. But there will be it you know, it's not I wouldn't I wouldn't describe


Victoria Almaguer  42:18

would you describe San Elizario from your childhood different than now?


Sam Sanchez  42:28

Yeah, there's a lot of difference between the town now, as it was before, before 1949 to 41 or 92, whatever. Now, it's even the organization there are so many years is different. It's it's hard to, to imagine the difference that there is right now as to when when it was before you in the organization has changed quite a bit. There will be it for as far as my memory is concerned. Can't I can't really add any more to it as far as being different than 1941. I'm glad that that I graduated, I presume pursue the to continue with the organization for such a long time. I was I was the first I was the second president of the organization. And that was 1996 I think that I became president. But I was there for a long time and I had some good friends still there. And I hope that the organization continues. Make a difference on the town. That's about it. Awesome. Yeah.


Victoria Almaguer  44:23

Those are all the questions that I had for you today. Let me pause this.

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