Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Little Ruben

Volunteers at Santa Maria del Mexicano
 After the Wedding, a movie shot in India, brought back memories of when I volunteered at Santa Maria del Mexicano. In the movie, a volunteer helps many needy children. I could identify with the story because I volunteered at a home for orphaned and neglected children in Colon,  Queretaro, Mexico. What I noticed was that it doesn't matter what country children live in, they all seem to act the same way.  Chasing cars, teasing each other, reciting in class, following volunteers, playing ball or living in dorms and it reminded me of my time with the Mexican children.
My Kinder Class in Colon, Mexico  1992

My assignment was to teach letters and numbers to eleven children around the age of five.  I  remember all of them: Sandra, Rocio, Sergio, Angelica, Martin, Cesar, Angel, Alejandro, Oscar, Cecilia, and Ruben. They all made an impression on me but none like a five year old, with a dark tan complexion, dark eyes, long eyelashes and a low, rough-sounding voice.

On my first day, we were walking to a local park, when a small hand grabbed my hand. I looked down and his expressive eyes were looking up at me.  In a low voice he told me he knew the way and he would take me there. I soon noticed he seemed to always be near me. He liked to hold my hand. If I happened to be sitting, he would get on my lap. He told me stories.  His mother died when he was born.  He had a sister, Margarita, and a brother, Daniel. They also lived at Santa Maria.  As we passed a doorway a strong smell of beer wafted out to us. In his gruff voice Ruben asked, "Did you see that borracho? He was asleep in the corner, did you see him?  He does not know when to stop drinking.  Hurry, you don't want to see a drunk. Sometimes they hit you." I felt his hand tighten around mine.

Was his father an alcoholic?  How did this little boy know so much about drinkers? I did some investigating and found out his mother drank and had abandoned her family soon after Ruben had been born. He never knew her.  No one knew where the mother had gone but the father worked in Queretaro, about 40 miles away, and visited his children once a month.

Ruben and I became inseparable.  If I read stories to the children, he would be right next to me.  When we ate, he made sure to find a chair for me that happened to be next to his.  Instead of playing with the children he would ask to help me.  I fell in love with little Ruben.  I inquired about bringing him home, maybe a possible adoption. I was told that because of many legal reasons, it was impossible to adopt a child, especially if there was a parent.

When my time to return to the states arrived, I sat with him and explained that even though I was leaving for awhile, I would return.  He cried and said he didn't want me to leave.  He could not understand why I couldn't stay with him in Mexico.  We hugged and cried and I left.  For months I would dream of Ruben.  I wrote to the Nuns in charge and always included a message for Ruben and the rest of my "children."




The following year, I arrived and greeted my now six year olds.  They called me Maestra and I continued teaching the same group along with some new children in my class. Ruben was distant.  He seldom came near me and when I sought him out, he seemed too busy to talk with me. Our relationship never returned to how it had been that first year. I felt an emptiness and missed our friendship.  A psychologist told me that Ruben was protecting himself from pain. "Your leaving hurt him deeply and he did not want to feel that pain again. He did not want to feel sadness and pain and he decided to stay away and not get close to you again."  It made sense.

Fun Loving Ruben!
This kid stole my heart.
Every year when I returned to Colon, I would see my children growing up.  They went on to other classes but we always reminisced about that first year.  On my last visit, my kids were around seventeen years old. Martin had enlisted in the military service. Sergio worked in Mexico City. Many of the children I knew were gone, including Ruben.  His father had come and taken his children and had not left a forwarding address. I searched for him in his old neighborhood in Queretaro.The house was empty and the broken windows proved to me that the house had been deserted for a long time.  None of the neighbors knew where the family had gone.

Ruben's Family
Love never dies.  My heart has a special spot for my kindergartners who are all adults now.  I often look through my albums and the pictures bring back so many memories. I wonder what happened to the children and especially I wonder what Ruben, who would be around thirty-six years old, did with his life!

Martin at Age 8 and 16

Rocio at Age 6 and 14
Gustavo at Age 6 and 14

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lost and Found

Lost glasses.

I live alone and when I lose something I know I am responsible for misplacing whatever is missing!  Though sometimes I do wonder if poltergeists are playing tricks on me.  Yesterday, when I looked for my glasses, I could not find them.  Because I do not need glasses to read, I pull them off my face and set them down someplace..anyplace.  Depending on what I am reading and where I happen to be, I have found my glasses in a variety of places. I always seem to find them. Yesterday, I could not find them anywhere.

Knowing my glasses had to be somewhere in the house, I began a thorough search beginning in the kitchen.  I looked on the tables, in the pantry, in the cupboards, on the floor where maybe they could have dropped and around the sink area. I searched in my office, behind the desk, on the bookcases, searched behind books, and in some boxes with photos.  Maybe the glasses had been left in the photo boxes when I looked at the pictures. In the bedroom I checked the floor, top of dressers, even opened drawers in case the glasses had slipped into one of the drawers, under the bed and finally behind the furniture. The bathroom was checked, and even though I could not remember going to the basement, I did a quick search around the computer, in filing cabinets, near the washer and dryer, on top of the ironing board and the many storage bins with photo albums.  Those glasses were no where to be found.

Watching t.v. with dark glasses
It was time for my main man to help me look. St. Anthony of Padua is always ready to help in finding lost articles.  I said a quick prayer: "Dear St. Anthony, I have looked everywhere for my glasses. Could you please help me? Give me a hint where else I can look, thank you."  No ideas popped into my mind so I watched television wearing my sun glasses.  Every commercial break, I did another run through the house to see if I could find my glasses. By the time I went to bed, I was wondering how much another pair would cost me.

In the morning I woke up with a thought of looking in the dirty clothes in the basement.  I had taken the clothes from the hamper to the basement and maybe the glasses were tangled up in the dirty clothes.  I began separating whites from colored and out fell my glasses.  I remembered a friend of mine saying, "You will find what you are looking for in the last place you look!" I know the glasses would have appeared when I did my laundry but I also knew who had given me the idea to look in the pile of clothes.  "Thank you, St. Anthony."

 "I wish I could remember where I put things.
I spend half of my life looking for keys.
With the other half I look for my glasses."
Sara Paretsky

Friday, April 26, 2013

Changes in Church

One of the requirements when attending mass or entering a church, was to have my head covered. I never questioned why because it was a tradition of the church. In those "good old days" we did as we were told and never questioned the nuns or the priests.  Some women wore hats, some wore veils, some put on a bandanna and I even saw Kleenex on some of the heads! The main thing was not to enter a church bareheaded.

In 1917, the Code of Canon Law stated that women should have a covered head and be modestly dressed while men were to be bareheaded. In 1983, Code of Canon Law stated that " it was no longer canonical obligation for women to wear a head covering."

I do not remember when I stopped covering my head when I attended mass. It seems that no women covers her head for mass unless she wears a beautiful hat, more for style than for religion. Or, if it is a cold and snowy day, I have seen ski caps. Again, it is for the weather conditions and has nothing to do with reasons the church may have had a long time ago.

An interesting sight this morning at  mass was that I saw two women and they each had a lace doily on their head.

It made me wonder if the tradition of covering heads could be returning.  I did wonder why they wore something on their head and two persons at the same mass seemed odd. Even though two isn't a lot, it was two more than I had seen in a long time!
Returning to an old tradition?
Sunglasses on top of head do not count!
When traveling in Europe, I noticed that some churches would not allow women to wear slacks and the majority of women had their head covered.  But, even in Europe, the old traditions are fading.  In the past when I traveled to Mexico, women did not wear slacks but now they dress basically the same as we dress in the United States. At the entrance of some churches, I did see signs asking that shorts not be worn. As far as covering the head, what I noticed was that older women had a black mantilla (large veil scarf) over their head but the younger women were bareheaded.

If I ever see any more ladies with head coverings, I intend to ask them why they felt the need to place something on their head!

"There is nothing wrong with change
if it is in the right direction."
Winston Churchill

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fuzzy Fleecy Warmth

Christmas time had arrived and trying to figure out what gifts to give became my usual dilemma.  I walked through malls, window shopped, and checked on the Internet to try to get an idea. I would find something, but it would not be in my budget. Then, a few years ago, I found the perfect gift for every one. The price was right and I liked it!

I sent a purchase to the west coast, the east coast, gave one for my family in town and bought one for me! The Southwestern colors were perfect! Now, when I visit, I see my gift still being used. The striped throw or lap robe worked out well.  Whenever I take a vacation to California or Massachusetts to visit family, I  feel right at home snuggled up in the same colored throw that I have in my own home. 

If only every year could be so easy to purchase something that will last for a long time and is appreciated by those watching television on a cold night!

The Perfect Christmas Gift

How I Became An Addict

The first time I received payment for an article I wrote was in a ski magazine.  I felt so proud to see my article in print and I thought it was the beginning of my writing career. In school I was told to write about something I knew. Even though I did not know anything about skiing or drugs, I took a chance and sent the article to Skier, the Official Publication of the United States Eastern Amateur Ski Association. It was published in the November, 1967 Issue and cost fifty cents.

How I Became An Addict

Walking down the street, I was confronted by a character known to everyone as Doc.  "Hey, you've just got to try it.  It's the latest in funsville.  Try it once, just once, that's all I ask."  I knew he was referring to the latest fad among college students.  As he walked away he called, "You know where you can find me."

I knew I would not be looking him up because I had will power.  I wouldn't go rushing to him as many of my friends had.  I tried not to think about it, but it had  sneaky way of creeping up on me, especially when I saw carloads of laughing students going up to Doc's cabin.  It wasn't long before I found myself dreaming, eating, thinking, walking and wishing it.  There was only one thing to do.  Try it once and forget it.  I drove up to the mountain cabin to see doc the very next day.

Doc was very kind as he showed me the easiest way to do it.  My frantic heart pounded underneath my new sweater.  My mouth felt dry.  My feet seem to be encased in lead shoes, yet my legs flew right out from under me.  It was as if each foot had a mind of its own.  After two hours of thrill stacked upon thrill, I begged Doc for more.  He let me know I had to take it in small doses until I got the hang of it.

Early the next morning I drove up to see Doc again.  I was ready for lesson number two.  Of course, this time I had to pay.  Only the first lesson was free and that one lesson was supposed to hook you.  I didn't care. I wanted  to try it again.  Before long, I was in heaven.  Oh, what a beautiful morning.  I could feel a gentle, soothing warmness about my face.  I felt exhilarated.  I could conquer the world.  I could fly.  I was a bird and each time I could go higher.  "The sky's the limit," was Doc's motto.  All too soon it was over.  As I left the cabin, I turned around to say goodbye to this new dimension of living.  I did not have the money to continue this foolishness.  Twice was my limit.  The price was too high for only a few hours of happiness.  Yes, I convinced myself, I was through.  I was kicking this habit before it really got a hold of me.  I had seen too many bums, week after week, trying to stop and never succeeding.  With a wave of my hand I yelled, "So long, white stuff, you don't have me in your grasp anymore."

My resolution lasted one whole day.  The second day found me in a huddle in the center of my bed.  Every wrinkle in the sheets was a mountain range pushing its cruel peaks into my tormented body.  My legs moved only when my poor, tired brain begged them. Pain ricocheted from my legs to my back then up to my arms.  It took a tremendous effort to wipe the perspiration beads forming on my throbbing forehead.  My muscles ached, hurt, smarted, twinged and ouched.  I bit my lip to keep from crying out loud.  I knew I was dying.  I dressed painfully, amidst moans and groans.  If I was going to die, I might as well die happy.  I dragged myself to see Doc because he was the only one that could help me.  Seeing my condition he made me sit down.  I watched his every movement as he readily prepared me for lesson number three.

Soon, I felt good.  It had taken longer for me to climb up to the top, but once here, everything was perfect.  I sat on top of a big, white world,  Nothing could bother me now.  Nothing could touch me.  All of a sudden I felt myself slipping  It was a fifty-fifty proposition.  Half of me pulled north, the other half pulled south, but even in this twisted position all I could feel was an exciting and new experience.  From my tangled legs to the wet coolness up my back, it was great. As soon as the white earth stopped spinning around me , I picked myself up and continued swaying the up-down-sideways motion of tranquility.  I would cut down on my lunch money, polish my own shoes, skimp on church collections, sneak on the bus through the back door, let my hair grow; anything, just so I would have enough money to continue this obsession.  I was hooked.  Nothing could thrill me more than this did, and I also knew I had become an addict--a skiing addict.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Quick Trip to Kansas

I have a friend who is a nun.  She is not the normal, stereotype of what I think of when I think of a Catholic nun.  She is happy-go-lucky, curious, ready to join in whatever is suggested, fun-loving, and with a contagious laugh.  One weekend, since her new assignment was to be in Satanta, Kansas, we decided to drive to Kansas and take some of her belongings. The trunk was full, along with the packed back seat, and she commented, "I guess this is what they mean by the vow of poverty!"

Annie Oakley
When we saw a tourist sign along the way, we detoured to see the attraction. We spent time enjoying the the Annie Oakley display and had fun posing in the cutouts. The town is appropriately named, Oakley.

I liked the huge statue of Buffalo Bill Cody as he shoots at a large bison. Sculptors do amazing work in making their work look realistic.

We ate delicious chicken-fried steak at Nancy's restaurant in Garden City. Someone said the meal was tasty because the cattle, aside from hay and grass are fed special grains.

Satanta turned out to be a small, lonely farm town with large silos, crooked wooden telephone poles, a water tank, and the small house where she would be working along with three other nuns. We were told that most people from the town traveled to Garden City or Liberal, Kansas to do their shopping. After unpacking her things and resting a while, we began our drive back to Denver.

In Holly, Kansas, a plaque let us know we were passing Roy Romer's childhood home. Trying to find a motel to spend the night was difficult because the ones we saw looked worse than the Bates Motel in Psycho. We ended up staying in Lamar, Colorado. We arrived at the motel in a pouring rain. In the morning, when it was time to leave, we could not open the door. I called the front desk and a worker had to come up and shoulder the door open. He struck the door a few times before it opened.  "When it rains, the doors swell up and can't be opened. You are the fifth person I had to rescue this morning," he said.

The night before we had seen a marker suggesting we visit the Sand Creek Massacre Memorial. After discussing whether we wanted to back track to where we had seen the sign, we decided we had all day and drove back about thirty miles to get the road to the Memorial. We traveled on smooth pavement for about twenty miles and then it became a gravel, bumpy and dusty road.  Neither one of us knew what direction we were going and the day was cloudy so there was no sun to give us a clue.  The landscape was flat and deserted. It didn't matter which way we looked, we could see nothing but empty flat land.

We were happy when we saw a sign directing us to the Memorial.  We found a large, empty, weedy area with four cars parked in the lot.  When I parked, Sister said, "Be sure you're not parked in a handicapped spot!"  That's all it took.  We became hysterical with laughter and when a Federal Ranger came up to us we could barely speak we were laughing so hard.  His name tag had Tom Hallman printed on it and he told us the sad story of the massacre.

I will paraphrase what Tom told us. "Indians roamed the area between Kansas and Colorado.  When the white man arrived, conflicts arose because the Indian did not appreciate the white man killing buffalo for sport and also killing Indians. When Indians retaliated, the whites felt they also had to kill the Indians. Arapaho banded together and tried to live in peace.  But, with twenty four different chiefs they could not come to an agreement.  When some chiefs signed a peace treaty, the ones that did not sign did not feel they were bound by the treaty and continued attacking the white man. John M. Chivington led the attack on the Arapaho and Cheyenne who were camped along the river. On November 29, 1864, with volunteer citizens of Colorado because the Army could not spare soldiers because of the Civil War, the camp was attacked and 160 Indian men, women and children were slaughtered. Many Indians dug holes in the sand to hide, some tried running away and hiding behind trees but those that perished were children, women and the majority were mutilated by scalping, cutting off body parts, and bashing heads."

He directed us to walk to the Memorial about a half a mile away. We walked down a dirt road, slapped at mosquitoes, jumped when a grasshopper leaped on us, swatted black bugs and tried to ignore any bees flying around. Quietness settled around us. Sunflowers swayed in the empty fields.  I don't know what I expected but was surprised to see a small tombstone with Sand Creek Battle Ground, Nov. 29 & 30, 1864.
The area had an eerie feeling and a sign on the fence made us realize why. We were standing on sacred ground.  A place where many Indians had been slaughtered.  Women and children murdered by a Union soldier led by John M. Chivington, known as the "fighting parson."  He would say his mission in life was to kill Indians. We found ourselves whispering as if we were in a church!

We left the Memorial in a somber state.  I had never studied the massacre in any school book.  Later, as I read the information on the Internet it was even worse than what we had been told.

Road to No Where!
As we drove away from the Memorial, we became disoriented and for two hours we were lost. Up and down roads that looked exactly the same.  Homes that looked deserted until a dog would come racing ready to attack.  Knocking on strange doors and wondering if a murderer lurked behind the door.  Yards with old, dismantled cars or toys strewn all over the yard yet no people around. I felt as if I was driving in circles.  Without mountains to guide me, I had no idea which direction I was going.

Flat lands of Kansas
We finally ended up in Eads, Colorado. Once I got on I-70 it got us  home! On our quick trip to Kansas we had seen different landscapes, learned some history, laughed a lot, and ate good food. Yet,the best part was arriving home!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Athletic Genes

 "Just play.
Have fun.
Enjoy the game."
Michael Jordan
My son was a great soccer player and my daughter excelled in volleyball and tennis along with soccer. I spent many hours watching them kicking, sliding, hitting, striking, jumping, heading, setting, serving and scoring! Only a parent knows that secret pride when a child does something exceptional on the field, court or gym. We want only the best for our children. The knowledge of knowing a game was won because something your child did during the game gives parents a feeling of satisfaction. I know that games should be played for the fun, for the excitement and for learning to be on a team where everyone contributes, yet, there is a certain feeling of happiness when there is a win for your side!

Imagine my surprise, after we were discussing an exciting game, when one of my children said, "I guess we got our athletic ability from Dad."

Genes from their father.
"Yes, you must get some of those genes from your father," I said.  "After all, he was a soccer player in his native Peru and he was excellent at the sport."  I continued telling them that at one point he was asked to go to Kansas to try out to be a kicker on a professional football team. "Did he go?"  I shook my head and told them that for whatever reasons, he decided not to go.

Soccer Moms
Then, I gave them the shocker!  "You know, I was athletic when I was young." They looked at me and laughed, "No you weren't, how could you be?" They were looking at an over weight mother who worked everyday, who went to their games, and who never gave any indication of being athletic. The one time my son had seen me on a field was when mothers vs. sons had a fun game and the boys  ran circles around the mothers. In speaking with my daughter today, I mentioned I was writing my blog on sports and genes.  I mentioned the game of mothers against the sons and she said, "I remember that game.  All I remember was how slow the mothers moved on the field."

I gathered my proof.  I found certificates I had received while in school. I had played volleyball, basketball and softball.  Our team had taken championships for three years in a row. I enjoyed basketball and could make baskets from any spot on the floor until one day I couldn't.  I don't know what happened.  Maybe my eye sight changed (I did get glasses) or I gained weight but I no longer could make baskets! I was quickly moved from forward to guard!

I played soft ball and if I could connect with the ball I was a decent hitter but I was not a good runner. My last stint on a softball field was around 1979 with the Legal Eagles. I have to admit that my time playing softball was nothing to brag about!

The Legal Eagles Softball Team
Maybe, and that is a BIG maybe, my children got some of their athletic genes from both parents. I sure hope so, because that would make me feel extra special!

"Champions keep playing until they get it right."
Billie Jean King

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Grandma's Stroke

Every time I open a cupboard door, I think of my paternal grandmother. She suffered a stroke when I was around fifteen years old.  She was paralyzed on one side, her mouth was crooked and she could not speak very well.  Her mind was not affected and she could remember everything. I was busy with school and doing what fifteen year old girls did in the 50's and I do not remember much about her stroke. I do remember she said that she opened a cub board door and felt like a strong wind struck her in the eye. Lately, every time I open a cup board door, I think of my grandmother.

For years I have heard that she was bedridden for twenty years but as I do the numbers it looks more like she suffered from the stroke for ten years. She probably had a stroke on or about 1953 and Francisca, (Kika) her daughter, took care of her. I have always admired my Aunt Kika because she herself was not in good health. She could not walk properly due to a leg she had broken and never had a doctor look at it.  She sort of walked stiff legged because she was unable to bend her knee. Yet, she managed to take care of  my grandmother.
Tia Kika with my brother, Richard
Sometimes, my father would go help and it seemed as if my aunt was always recruiting someone with a strong back to help. Gonzalo Garcia,  married to my cousin, helped daily in moving my grandmother from chair to bed and back again. My grandmother and aunt lived across the alley from our home, and I would sometimes stop by to see them.  I did not visit very often though I do remember my grandmother's room was always very warm.

Mama Tito with her daughter Maria
"Como esta tu papa?" (How is your father), she would ask. Then, "how is your Mother? Ricardito? David?"  and finally she would ask, "y como esta el perrito?" (and how is the doggie) It always surprised me that she would remember our dog! I always responded with "bien." She would try to have a conversation but I would have to guess what she was saying as she mumbled and slurred her words. It must have been very frustrating for her to want to communicate and not be able to form a coherent sentence.  As years passed, she stopped trying to talk and would only nod if I asked her a question.

During that time, I graduated from high school, moved to Denver, got married and while I was pregnant with my son, she passed away. I did not attend her funeral. She died on January 31, 1963 and my son was born twenty days later.

Now, that I am older, I realize how horrible it must have been for her to be bedridden for so many years and how difficult it must have been for my Tia Kika to take care of her for all those years.  Her death at ninety-four years old must have been a blessing in disguise.

My grandmother surrounded by her great-grandchildren
my father Silvio, Gonzalo, her daughter Maria and her sister, Anita, 
who was visiting from California.

"....the elderly and the sick
were completely bedridden.
I could only imagine how
traumatizing it would be 
to lay in bed and not be 
able to do anything."
Charlotte Cipparone

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Frightening Morning

" A Swat team is scary when not needed
and important when needed."
E. Moscoso

Looking at television and seeing the large police presence in Watertown, near Boston, as they try to find  the Boston Marathon bomber, reminded me of something that happened to me. I am not implying that my incident comes close to what is happening in the Boston area, yet it got me thinking of what happened many years ago.

In 1978, I had just began working at the Legal Aid Society at one of the branch offices in Adams County. The office was located in an older ranch style house. A home security system had been installed in the house and the last person leaving the office would set the alarm. The first person coming to work in the morning would then deactivate the alarm by putting in a code.

One morning, as I walked into the office, the phone was ringing and I picked it up and got engrossed with a long winded client. As I spoke to the client, I was looking out the window and noticed a policeman in the yard.  Through the large picture window, I saw four other uniformed men carrying rifles. I hung up and looked out the back window and more officers in dark navy uniforms, with guns drawn, were in the yard. It was a surreal moment and at that point I remembered I had not turned off the alarm.  I called the security company and informed them of my forgetting to turn off the alarm and told them there were many officers outside. I asked, "Should I go out and tell them the story?"

In an excited voice, the person answering yelled, "No! No, do not go out!  Stay put. Under no circumstances open the door! They might think you are the one that broke in and you might get shot!"  The man on the line went on to explain that when a call comes in, and policemen respond, their adrenalin is pumping and they are on high alert. "Any sudden move or movement could be perceived as an aggressive move and they might shoot!"

After what seemed like hours, the alarm company called me and told me to go to the front door and open it.  I followed the instructions and a policeman, with his gun still drawn, stood at the front entrance.  As fast as I could, I explained what had happened, though I am sure he already had gotten the message. He shook his head and said, "Lady, the first thing you do when you enter the office is to punch in those numbers and disconnect the alarm.  When we get the call we treat is as a break in.  We have no way of knowing if criminals are in here, if they are holding you hostage, or what we will encounter. Do you understand?" He had a stern look on his face.

I sheepishly nodded and apologized.  I promised I would always disconnect the alarm.  As he turned away,
I thought I saw a smile on his face. It was probably relief that it was something so simple and they did not have to engage in a real problem. The other policemen (swat team?) all lost their seriousness and as they walked away I could hear them laughing and talking to each other.

It made me feel good knowing that the alarm companies are on top of things and the speedy response of the police.  You can believe that from then on, if I happened to be the first one in the office, the alarm was deactivated!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My Humpty-Dumpty Heart

On Monday, April 15, 2013, two bombs were set off at the Boston Marathon.  Latest reports are that 183 persons were injured and three persons killed.  As I looked at photos of the injured, I felt angry that someone would hurt innocent people, sadness at the loss of limbs, happy that there were many good people willing to help, frightened that no one knows when something like that can happen, proud of all those first responders, and helpless.  I cried as I watched the bloodied people being taken in stretchers, sitting in wheelchairs, lying on the ground or carried. What a horrible scene of madness!

When I find myself upset and want to release any tension I may be feeling, I write.  Here is what I wrote today.

My Humpty Dumpty Heart

The first time I felt fear,
deep helpless fear,
was seeing planes
penetrating the twin towers.
9-11 cracked my heart,
 something I will never forget.
Everyday I see or hear
something that scares me.
Each time
my heart aches in pain.
What is happening to my world?
Why has it become so dangerous?
Aside from murder, rape,
disappearances or a prison escape,
I see
airline computer crashes,
cruise line fiascoes,
tsunami flooding,
identity theft,
 sink hole swallows a house 
and a man.
An asteroid hits earth,
people buried under tons of snow,
earthquakes topple buildings,
tornadoes destroy towns,
murders by drug lords,
large stage falls on music lovers,
bus rolls down a mountain side,
fifty-two car pile up on icy road,
floods displace families and pets,
and homes disappear in the mud.
Uncontrollable forest fires, 
large cities without power,
a movie massacre,
children murdered in their school,
threats of nuclear missiles,
poisoned letters sent to Washington.
District Attorney gets shot
along with a warden and his wife.
The Boston Marathon turns into a frightening time
as bombs explode at the finish line.
What ever happened to the Golden Rule?
Doesn't anybody care anymore?
My heart shatters as if made of glass
and then like a rewound film
it's back to its original form.
The only difference is
my heart is covered 
with many cracks and much like
Humpty Dumpty, 
 may never be put back together again.

E. Moscoso
April 16, 2013.

 It's anybody's guess
for the explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant;
another horrific mess!

April 18, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

Eight Generations

"If you look deeply into the palm of your hand,
you will see your parents and all generations
of your ancestors.  All of them are alive in this
moment.  Each is present in your body.  You
are a combination of each of these people."
Thich Nhat Hanh
Vietnamese Monk

1980's begin my search!
I became interested in Genealogy around the 1980's.  I drove to Salt Lake City, Utah to do some investigating.  I found a few names and found out that in Arvada, Colorado I could find the same information as what is in Salt Lake City. I did not continue searching for ancestors until I spoke with a cousin who was working on genealogy.  Together we visited a cousin in 1993. She gave us a lot of information and we continued searching by traveling to New Mexico and speaking with our cousins. If she found anything she let me know and if I located a fact, I would let her know. I was now retired and had plenty of time to pursue genealogy.  For two years I delved into the lives of my ancestors. I visited the library, looked through files of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, visited many cousins, joined Ancestry.com, searched on the internet and looked at records on film and books. I could kick myself for not having paid more attention when my elders spoke about their childhoods and their past. I know I only have a small bit of what went on in the past, but much more than I knew before I began my search!

Beginning with my grandchildren, my children, me, my Mom, her father, his father, and so on there are eight generations.

I have traced my ancestry to about 1764 when my great-great-great grandfather,  Jose Manuel Aragon, was born. His ancestors came from Spain through New Spain (Mexico) and settled in New Mexico. Family members seem to think that the Aragon family originated in Barcelona or Madrid. It has also been mentioned that the family were Basques. Yet, I have no proof of any of these stories repeated from generation to generation.

Information I have been able to piece together with the help of cousins, I found out that Jose Manuel married Maria Barbara del Carmen Duran y Chaves on June 26, 1781. They had seven children and Eusebio Tomas Aragon was born on May 11, 1785 in New Mexico. When his first wife, Micaela Sanchez died, he married Maria Micaela Santillanes. One of their children was Nabor Aragon and he married Dorotea Lucero on October 13, 1862. Nabor and Dorotea had nine children and one, Sisto Aragon, was born on March 27, 1867.

Sisto married Valentina Ortiz on January 7, 1893. Ramona Aragon was one of the six children born to them and she was born on November 27, 1915. Ramona married Silvio Rodriguez on June 30, 1936 and had four children;  two brothers and me.  My sister was still born.

I married Americo Moscoso from Peru on May 19, 1962 and Andrew and Barbara were our two children. Andrew never married but had two children and Barbara also has two children.

From 1764 to 2013 there have been 249 years of the Aragon blood flowing through my family.

If I could find information as to who was Jose Manuel's father, then the line could continue.  It seems that
Jose Manuel's father might have been Manuel Aragon. Yet, I have been unable to find any records connecting father and son.

Beginning in 1587, an Agustin Geronimo de Aragon was born.  He married Francisca de Quintana on July 13, 1620.  They had seven children and one was Juan de Balcazar Aragon born around 1635. He married Mencia de la Ruelas Galindo. They had several children including Ignacio de Aragon who settled in New Mexico in 1694 along with his wife Sebastiana Baca.

Ignacio and Sebastiana had a Nicolas Aragon who married Margarita Gallegos.  Nicolas and Margarita had a Manuel Aragon who married Maria Vallejo in April 5, 1756.  Supposedly, Manuel is Jose Manuel's father but several cousins and myself,  searching through records have not been able to find a link.  I found information in a magazine regarding the Cebolleta Land Grant that stated that a Francisco and Jose Manuel were brothers and Manuel who married Maria Vallejo were their parents.  Yet, when I actually looked at the records on file, nothing was mentioned about any relationships.
2013 still searching for my Ancestors

My genealogy hangs in limbo until I can find more information.  Genealogy is fun, interesting and exciting but it is also frustrating and discouraging. If the connection could be made, then 426 years of Aragon blood would run through my family.  Starting from the top or starting from the bottom, the connection ends between Jose Manuel and his father.  At present I am taking a break, but before long I will begin my search again!

If I go along with the Russian Proverb of, "You live as long as you are remembered,"  I will soon have those ancestors living once again!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Little Footprints

The small prints on those yard stones belong to my three granddaughters.  At one time my grandson's foot prints were also on a stone but one day it was gone. I don't know who took it or what happened to it, but even though his print is not on a stone in the yard, his print is in my heart!  Every time I leave the house, I see those little feet and think about my precious grandchildren. I also say a daily prayer, "Dear God, please watch over my four grandchildren."

"Life's not about all the
steps you've taken, or 
all the places you have been,
it's about footprints you 
leave behind."
Author unknown

The Can Opener

Get the idea?
Growing up, we had a metal can opener with two arms.  One was a short hook like arm that could take the caps off of bottles.  The other arm, once pounded into the lid, I would titter-totter it around the edge cutting the metal lid.  I hated using this opener because it hurt my hand when I pounded it into the lid and then continued hurting as I struggled to cut along the edge of the top of the can.

A Butterfly Opener
A small, butterfly like silver opener was in the house for years. I used this opener until I graduated to an electric can opener. I thought it was wonderful how easy opening a can could be.  All I had to do was hold the can and the can would move slowly in a circle. The lid would stay on a magnet when the can was opened! Yes, I loved the opener until one day we were without electrical power.  I returned to a hand held opener

A few years back I saw a television show called Everybody Loves Raymond with Ray Romano.  One day he comes home and the regular can opener is gone and in its place is a more modern one.  He makes a big fuss about how he was used to the old one and why did it have to be replaced?  I fully understood his frustration.

Military Opener
When I went to Mexico to volunteer at an orphanage, I took a military opener and it came in handy when I had to open a can.

I used this type for years!
After the electric can opener, I found one that was easy to use and I liked it.  I had it for twenty some year and suddenly, it stopped cutting correctly. I could see pieces of metal and sometimes paper in the can I opened. I decided it was time for another can opener. I bought me a can opener that should have been easy to use. The first time I used the new opener, I became angry because no matter how I placed the gears, the lid would not come off.  After about half an hour of fooling with the opener I went to put the can back in the pantry and noticed that the top of the can had been cut neatly all the way around the can.  The cut was below the rim and not on top like other can openers. I had opened the can with such smoothness I had no idea it was open!

My latest opener
Top of latest opener.

"A can opener discovers
surprises inside the can!"
E. Moscoso
Neatly opened can!