Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Musica De Mi Corazon

A couple of  days ago I was scrolling through Facebook while drinking my morning coffee and came across an interesting post on the Everything New Mexico: Photos, memories, canciones, recipes, art, y mas page. The video was of a band from New Mexico called  'Lone Piñon' performing a song called "La Julia."  

If you know this song, you are probably related to me. HaHaHa.... I'm only half joking. 

The song is from a collection called “New Mexican Folk Music: El Tesoro del Pueblo,” available from the University of New Mexico Press. 

So when I clicked on the video I was transported back to my childhood. It's crazy how this polka could stir such powerful subconscious childhood memories and emotion.

The song "La Julia"  brought back vivid memories of significant occasions, like family funerals and weddings. As a child, these events were one and the same. It merely meant the gathering of my siblings and first cousins at my grandma's farm in Puerto de Luna, New Mexico, staying up late and feeling totally connected. Meanwhile, my mom and my aunts cooked fresh green chile and squash, beans, rice and tortillas on a wood burning stove at my Aunt Rita and Uncle Gilbert's house, while my dad and my uncles would play music, drink beer and smoke cigarettes next door at my grandma's house. Fun was had by all.

My dad, Felipe Montoya Fajardo

My dad and Uncle Joe played guitar, Uncle Guillermo played the accordion and sang traditional New Mexican music while dusty little children were running in and out of the houses, down to the mora tree by the acequia, playing tag with each other and chasing pigs and chickens while eating fresh tortillas with butter dripping on the ground.

Some of you won't relate to this song on the level that I did because it's not a mainstream song but for me it's a little like hearing those old Beatle songs, James Taylor, Jackson Browne or early Willie Nelson. Hearing "La Julia"  was even more profound than that. It caught me off guard because I didn't even know the name of the song and until a couple of days ago and I only knew a few of the lyrics because I understand Spanish but I don't speak it fluently. So hearing the song for the first time since my dad died in 2001 was like stepping into a time machine that I wasn't prepared for.

My Uncle Joe had a band in Albuquerque
Grandma Rosita, my Aunt Connie,
Aunt Rita, my cousin Josie
and my Uncle Joe

My cousin, Paul Fajardo
with his dad's guitar and amp

As we all know, the relationship between music and memory is powerful. I saw the healing effects of music  first hand years ago when my friend, Billy Doss took me to see his aging father who was suffering from dementia. He couldn't remember what he had for breakfast that day but when Billy picked up his guitar and started singing his father's songs, he sang along and didn't miss a word. I realized then that music is an important mnemonic device. 

My Uncle Guillermo Padilla
in Puerto de Luna

My Uncle Guillermo Padilla
in Puerto de Luna

So let me back up and tell you how all of this connects for me and why it's of interest. I love music. Fortunately, am from a musical and artistic family. I realized sort of late in life that my family is somewhat unusual to have so many artists, musicians and generally a close knit family heavily influenced by our Hispanic family traditions. When I realized my family wasn't typical to those I knew in Texas, I dove head first into genealogical research as a hobby to learn more about my Spanish ancestors who settled in New Mexico in the late 1500s. I discovered that I related to half the population of New Mexico and now I've discovered there been some really cool songs passed down through the generations along with some great recipes that my son now serves at Taco Circus, his restaurant in St Louis. That's the good news. The bad news is that there's a rare disease that runs rampant in my family called Cerebral Cavernous Malformation or CCM1 also known as the Common Hispanic Mutation. It's been given that name because it is particularly prevalent among the Hispanic population of New Mexico. The defective gene has been passed down through at least 14 generations and the origin can be traced back to the earliest Spanish settlers, my ancestors on both my mother and my father's side of the family. Neurological issues are way too common in my family so I am constantly on a quest to learn how the brain works and how to improve brain function due to my own neurological issues. This new discovery is so cool because I have found that music is particularly healing on many levels. 

So without getting too technical, the hippocampus and the frontal cortex are two areas in the brain associated with memory. They take in a lot of information, however, as I've gotten older, I've found that retrieving information isn't as easy as it used to be. Science has proven that listening to and performing music reactivates areas of the brain associated with memory, reasoning, speech, emotion and reward. Music doesn't just help us retrieve stored memories, it also helps us lay down new ones. A perfect example was when my granddaughter Jackie was a couple of years old, my son, Christian was trying to teach her how to say "Taco Circus" she was getting confused so he sang it to her slowly and she learned how to sing it immediately. Music provides rhythm and rhyme which helps to unlock and store information. It's the structure of the song that helps us to remember, as well as the melody and the images the words provoke.  

Music can also make us feel strong emotions so rather than just being able to recite the lyrics when we hear songs from our past, we feel the lyrics. For instance, when I hear old Bob Dylan songs, I remember sitting in my bedroom as a teenager, teaching myself how to play my dad's Silvertone guitar and talking to Jay Spann on the phone. That's a memory that I cherish.

The solemn teenager in my bedroom
learning Bob Dylan songs.

So here are the lyrics in Spanish and then below in English to the song "La Julia"  I hope you enjoy listening to it even half as much as I have. I can still hear my dad singing this song with a huge smile on his face.


 "La Julia" 
Su mamá le dice a Julia, ¿Qué te dijo ese señor?
Mamá, no me dijo nada, no más me trató de amores.
La vecina de aquí en frente se llamaba Maria Clara,
Y si no se hubiera muerto todavía se llamara.

La vecina de aquí en frente me mató mi gallo blanco
Porque le andaba escarbando las semillas de cilantro.

La vecina de aquí en frente tenía un gato muy barato,
Y le dice a su marido, Mira viejo, tu retrato.


"La Julia" 
Julia’s mom asks her, What was that gentlemen saying to you?
Nothing, Mom, he was just hitting on me.

The neighbor-lady across from here was named Maria Clara,
If she hadn’t have died she would still be named that.

The neighbor-lady across from here killed my white rooster
‘Cause it was digging up her cilantro seeds.

The neighbor-lady across from here had a really cheap cat,
And she says to her husband, Look, old man, it’s like looking at a portrait of you.
I looked up 'Lone Piñon' on Spotify to see if I recognized any of their other songs. "El Valse de la Grama" is my second favorite. Especially since it is recorded with the sound of an acequia flowing in the background and a rooster crowing. It sounded like early morning at Grandma's house. 
My mom Agueda Padilla Fajardo 
and my grandma Rosita Valdez Padilla
eating mora under the mora tree
with the acequia flowing in the background
watering the chile field.
Gracias 'Lone Piñon' for keeping the traditional music of New Mexico alive. I hope to see you perform live some day. You have no idea what fond memories I have of my dad singing these satirical lyrics of old-fashioned New Mexican songs. I am deeply grateful.


Thursday, May 27, 2021

Maximilliano Mike "Max” Henderson

Maximilliano Mike Henderson 

This is Maximilliano Mike "Max” Henderson. He was my first cousin, the son of my mother's older sister, Maria Padilla Henderson and my Uncle Sam Henderson.

I love this photo of Mike because he reminds me of my brother, Phillip.

Mike was born June 10, 1937 in Puerto de Luna, New Mexico. Ten years later, his family moved to Tucumcari. The move was traumatic for Mike because he had been attending school in a one-room schoolhouse, surrounded by his family's Spanish language. His formative childhood experience was the complete opposite from mine. I  was born and went to elementary and middle school in Amarillo, Texas and then went to live in Puerto de Luna with my Spanish speaking grandma in the eleventh grade. I can honestly say it was in the top five best experiences of my life and it  changed the trajectory of my life.

April 19, 1954, the year before I was born, Mike married, Mary Esther Moya  in Amarillo, TX. He was 17. The couple moved to Los Angeles where they stayed for 10 years. They then moved to Albuquerque and eventually back to Tucumcari, where Mike made a living doing car paint and body work. By this time, the couple had eight children. Mike had began to create furniture and art for their house.

Later Mike started selling some of his art in Santa Fe. Then when an elderly man showed him a wooden figure of Christ that was broken and held together with duct tape, Mike volunteered to repair it, taking the opportunity to examine the design. He began studying the work of famous artists and books of saints and found encouragement from several famous santeros in northern New Mexico.
Santeros are artists who carve and paint santos, images of saints.

Mike was an International Artist with artwork in Wood Carving and Religious Statues. He was a member the New Mexico Spanish Colonial Art Society.

Mike was closer to my mother's age than he was to my age so I didn't know him very well. We would often stop at my Aunt Mary and Uncle Sam's house when we drove from Amarillo to Puerto de Luna to visit my grandma but Mike was rarely around so we usually only saw each other at weddings and funerals.

Maximilliano Mike Henderson passed away December 14, 2007 at the age of 70, at Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital in Tucumcari. He was survived by his wife Mary Esther Henderson; two daughters, Cynthia (Larry) Winn of Gallup, NM, and Judith (Phillip) Guttman of Rio Rancho, NM; six sons, Michael (Cris) Henderson of Pojoaque, NM, David Henderson Clovis, NM, Ronnie (Dawn) Henderson of Rio Rancho, NM, Ray Henderson of Tucumcari, NM, Jay (Louella) Henderson of Pecos, NM, and Tom Henderson of Altus, OK; two brothers, Gracien Henderson of Los Angeles, CA, and Walter (Bertha) Henderson Tucumcari, NM; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, one son, three brothers, and three sisters.

Maximilliano Mike Henderson

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Parallels ~ History and Current Events

When I was young my mother would sometimes, in passing, mention her uncles and great uncles who were politicians in New Mexico. When she spoke the surnames of her family, she did so with such pride. Unfortunately, I didn't know enough about New Mexico history to show interest in the conversation or to ask important questions. I hadn't a clue that my family, on both sides were the founding families of New Mexico. Throughout the four centuries that my family had lived in New Mexico, each generation had experienced a very different New Mexico. 

It wasn't until after my parents had passes away that I feverishly became interested in family history. In a very small way, I've seen a similar interest from my son and grandson for the events I experienced in the early 70's in Austin when Willie Nelson moved to Austin from Nashville and the hippies and the cowboys collectively created the cosmic cowboy scene at the Armadillo World Headquarters. Ecstatically, I offer up as much information as possible when they ask about a particular song or artist because I realize my missed opportunity of gathering information from my parents. I've had to rely on what has been written about my family in books, newspapers and on the internet. 

I've mentioned in past blogs that I started doing ancestry research partially because I felt there was a lack of information about women in our history books. I wish to change that, at least for my family. I then started to realize that even though there's a lot of history written even documentaries filmed, the stories are told with a slant that I'm not in the least bit satisfied with. Therefore, I have made an effort to enlighten myself and those who care about the truth that isn't often mentioned in whitewashed history books.

Over the past 10 years of research, I have found the Padilla and the Labadie families to be the most interesting in my direct lineage. It's not surprising that both surnames are deeply embedded on both my mother and my father's side of the family which is a common phenomenon in the founding families of New Mexico. In my 10 plus years of research I always circle back around to the Padilla and the Labadie lineage.

This week it became a bit surreal as I was digging around into my family history. Unpleasant current day events mirrored events that I was reading about in my family's history. What were the chances that I would decide to reread the book "Juan Patron: A Fallen Star in the Days of Billy the Kid" just the day before the attempted coup at the United States Capitol by the white supremacists Trump supporters?

January 6, 2021 should have been a great day in American history. The Democrats in Georgia had won the runoff for the US Senate. Instead that day turned into one of the darkest days of the Unites States history. It marked the first time the US Capitol building had been breached since the early 1800's. It wasn't a demonstration, it was a desecration of our democracy incited by the president.

I watched in disbelief as our Capitol was being vandalized. I was shocked when I saw a photo of a man sitting at the desk of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, taking selfies of himself with his feet on her desk. It was surreal that the night before I had been reading a parallel story about my cousin, Juan Patron. In April of 1884 Juan Parton was the Speaker of the House in New Mexico. He was assassinated in cold blood by white supremacists. Eleven years prior, Juan's father had been murdered at Juan's younger sister's wedding reception. Much like our present day Capitol being broken into, the white supremacists of the 1800's knew the Patron family would be gathered for a wedding in Lincoln and they broke in and started randomly shooting. Juan Patron's father was murdered because he looked much like his son in the dark. Patron had been targeted because he had been fighting for democracy against the Santa Fe Ring. If you are remotely familiar with New Mexico history, you know New Mexico held unadulterated opportunity. The land-grant legacy in New Mexico made the region attractive for the  members of the Santa Fe Ring.They were politicians, lawyers, military officers, ranchers and retailers. They had power, money and few scruples. They were infamous for public corruption, with varied skills and their goal was to take land from the Hispanic land owners, illegally. Needless to say, Juan Patron was standing in their way. 

It's no surprise that you won't find much about this horrific shadow government in history books any more than you will read about the shadow government of today. It infuriates me that justice was never served for the assassination of my cousin Juan Patron. Mike Maney went to trial yet he was acquitted because the prosecutor, Thomas B. Carton was one of the most active members of the Santa Fe Ring. He had stolen more land from the Hispanic population than anyone, acquiring title to more than 3 million acres, making him the largest landowner in New Mexico.

Juan Patron isn't just a New Mexico hero. He stood for everything I stand for. He was a blood relative. His mother was a Padilla and he was married to Beatriz Labadie, daughter of my Great Great Uncle Lieutenant Colonel Lorenzo Labadie. The Labadies and Padillas were well respected families who owned thousands of acres of land and cattle in New Mexico. Juan was born and raised in Santa Fe. He was in the first graduating class at St Michael's Catholic School in Santa Fe. He graduated with honors. He became a school teacher, he owned a store and he became a politician. Always working for the better of his community with his main goal was to tame a frontier plagued with greed and violence. 

The Patron family had moved from Santa Fe to Lincoln and opened a store, built a school and a church. In 1978, when his father was killed in Lincoln, the president called the one mile main street in Lincoln was "the deadliest street in America." Juan decided to moved his family to his wife, Beatriz's home town of Puerto de Luna. Upon their arrival, Juan raised money have the church in Puerto de Luna built. I've mentioned a million times in past blogs how important that church is to me. My parents were baptized and married there. It breaks my heart that the first church service there was Juan Patron's funeral service. He is buried under the nave of the church. He could have very well become the governor of New Mexico but instead he was needlessly assassinated before the age of 30.

Beatriz Labadie Patron
and her husband Juan Patron

This week, feeling the ongoing grief of the year long, worldwide pandemic and the events at our Capitol, I was reading Juan's story from a different perspective. I wondered what happened to Juan's widow, Beatriz after her husband was assassinated in cold blood in Puerto de Luna. He had merely gone to Moore's Saloon for a single beer to never return home. 
I discovered that Beatriz married again and then after her second husband died she owned a house in Santa Rosa and lived with her younger siblings Roman, Lorenzo Jr. and Josefita. One thought lead to another and I started thinking about some of the women in the Labadie family that had never been written about. Just as the male names repeat in families, generation after generation, so do the female names. My sister is going to hate this part of my blog but I think it is kind of special so I am just going with it. My sister, Nita's given name at birth was Josie Ann. She was named after our grandmother Josefita Labadie. We never met our paternal grandmother because she died during the last pandemic at the age of 24. Our dad was only 3 and and had a younger sister Anita. For whatever reason, in the second grade, my sister started going by the name Nita. Here's the cool part. Josefita is an old family name and I never put it all together because again men are named "Senior" and "Junior" or I, II, III and so on. Women are not and the lineage gets lost in the shuffle because they also have to change their last name when they get married. So below is the the lineage of the Josefita Labadies in our family.

Our 4th Great-Grandparents Dr Dominique Labadie and Maria Micaela Padilla had a daughter named:

Josefa Labadie    Born 1783 Died 1810

She is our 3rd Great-Grand Aunt (Great-Great-Great-Aunt)

Our Great-Great Uncle Lieutenant Colonel Lorenzo Labadie and his wife Maria Rayitos Giddings Gutierrez Labadie

had a daughter named:

Josefita Labadie    Born 1864 Died 1941

She is our 1st Cousin 3x removed  

(This simply means 1st cousin 3 generations ago)

Our Great-Grandparents Captain Juan Labadie y Sanchez and Dorotea Maria Chavez had a daughter named: 

Josefita Labadie Born 1894 Died 1918 

She is our Paternal Grandmother

My sister: Josie Ann Fajardo AKA Nita Fajardo   Born 1951

Recap: Dr Dominique Labadie born in 1738 Gascony, France first settled in St Louis, MO and the arrived in New Mexico in 1775, He married Maria Micaela Padilla, the daughter of one of the founding families of Albuquerque. They had 15 children, among them was a daughter named Josefa, One of their grandsons was Lieutenant Colonel Lorenzo Labadie. Not only was Lorenzo a Lieutenant Colonel, he was a sheriff in 3 New Mexico counties, he served as an Indian Agent for 8 years and then in his old age, he became a census taker. When I first started doing ancestry research, most of my important information came from the census he recorded in Puerto de Luna and surrounding areas in the late 1800’s and in 1900. He too had a daughter named Josefa Labadie born in 1864. She was the sister-in-law of Juan Patron who was the first speaker of the house in New Mexico. Then there was our grandmother Josefita Labadie. This is the sad part of the story. She died at the age of 24 during the last pandemic of 1918. My dad was only 3 years old and he had a younger sister. My heart has always ached for my dad because it was so obvious that he missed having his mother. I have an adorable portrait of my him when he was a baby and I am sure there would have been many more photos and stories about his life had his mother not died at such a young age. The current pandemic has made that pain much more real to me.

My grandmother Josefita Labadie Fajardo

To my sister Josie Ann, AKA Nita, I hope you know deep in your heart that you come from a very long line of beautiful souls who walk with you daily and give you strength.

Thank you Kimberly Harris, who now owns the Juan and Beatriz Labadie Patron's ranch for sharing with me stories and photos. I will forever send you, your horses and rescued animals love and light.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

In Honor of My Father

Today has been 19 years since my dad passed away at the age of 86. His mother died in the last pandemic of 1918, when he was only 3 yrs old. It wasn't until this world pandemic of 2020 that I had a clue what it must have been like for my father. His 24 year old mother died in the second wave of the pandemic of 1918. Some say my mother's uncle, Francisco Padilla brought the Spanish flu back to the small community of Puerto de Luna, NM. when he returned from Kansas City, Missouri after he had gone there to sell his livestock at market. Everyone in the community was celebrating the end of WWI. So many people contracted the virus and died in the harsh winter of 1918 that they couldn't have funerals and had to bury families in unmarked group graves.
Thinking of you and your mom today Daddy.

Written by my nephew Derek Hatley

Native son who fought for his country
Left no one behind as the bullets were strafing
Standing up to the Nazi’s and the communists armies
Better men, were born back then
What have we become since the days back when
We’re now all shitty and thin
Sucking up to things we don’t believe in
Corruption sucks, yet we are licking it’s boots thin
In a way I can’t describe now
Better men, were born back then
My grandpa would rather be
Buried alive
Than to see what has become
that came after his life
Radical fists punching up to the sky
Break the silence left behind
Let’s shout it out now
And leave it loose at the ends, because...
Better men, were born back then
Yeah better men were born back then. 
Better men were born back then
Yeah better men were born back.
In your time then. You were the better man!

Love you grandpa!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy 4th of July to My Extended Family

I created this timely blog on the 4th of July as a gift to my extended family including my children Adriane Ethridge and Christian Ethridge, my grandchildren, Dylan Ethridge, Andrew Ethridge and Jacqueline Ethridge. My step-daughter Sarah Ethridge and her daughter Emerson Ethridge. Also to my nephew Derek Hatley and his two daughters Bianca Hatley and Ava Hatley. And to my ex-husband, Davis Ethridge and my sister's ex-husband, Jack Hatley.

Happy 4th of July!

You are related to Thomas Jefferson!

In case you have forgotten the reason we celebrate the 4th of July, the Americans were fighting for their rights as subjects of the British crown in 1775. By the following summer, with the Revolutionary War in full swing, the movement for independence from Britain had grown and delegates of the Continental Congress were faced with a vote on the issue. In mid-June 1776, a five-man committee including Thomas Jefferson drew up a formal statement of the colonies’ intentions. The Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, written mostly by Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.

I made the primary discovery last week that my ex-husband, Davie and Nita's ex-husband, Jack are coincidentally cousins. They grew up on opposites ends of Texas and met one time at my wedding in 1977. It is uncanny that Nita and I would marry cousins, wouldn't you say?

As I was leisurely having my morning coffee and reading Facebook posts, I found a photo of my nephew, Derek and his two daughters and decided to download it and place it on Ancestry. com. The ancestry website notified me that there was some updated info in the Hatley lineage. I've spent a considerable amount of time in the past ten years researching my side of the family yet I've not done much research into the Ethridges because I didn't have any leads. But this little hit on the Hatley lineage lead me to an unexpected discovery and/or gold mine. After several hours of research, I discovered that Jack Hatley and Davis Ethridge are 5th cousins. My first clue was finding a woman named Sarah Elizabeth Ethridge born on June 15, 1841 in the Hatley lineage. After about eight hours of research I traced both the Ethridge and the Hatley lineages back to Thomas William Etheridge I born in England in 1564.

This information opened another can of worms. I discovered that Captain William Ethridge was married to Judith Marmaduke and then I noticed that her mother was Judith Randolph. The Randolph family is a prominent Virginia political family.The first Randolph to come to America was Henry Randolph in 1643. His nephew, William Randolph later came to Virginia as an orphan in 1669. Because of their numerous progeny, William Randolph and his wife, Mary Isham Randolph, have been referred to as "the Adam and Eve of Virginia ." The Randolph family was the wealthiest and most powerful family in 18th-century Virginia.

President Thomas Jefferson was the great-grandson of William Randolph and is the second cousin seven generations back of both my ex-husband Davis and Nita's ex-husband, Jack.

Yeah.... the 3rd President of the United States who oversaw the Louisiana Purchase leading the United States to double in size during his presidency.

I'll go into Robert E Lee being the great-great-great grandson of William Randolph at a later date. Today isn't the day to talk about the commander of the Confederate Army of North Virginia in the Civil War.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been - Sad News From New Mexico

Just when I thought our country couldn't feel any more divided, ugly and violent, there was a shooting yesterday outside of the Albuquerque Museum. A petition to remove the statue of Juan de Oñate in front of the museum had been circulating and then a protest followed with protesters trying to remove the Spanish conquistador statue. 

There's no doubt in my mind that the multitude of protests due to wide spread social injustice in our country caused this issue to resurface. History repeats itself and the upheaval of current day America mirrors what was going on in the 1600's in New Mexico. The common denominator always goes hand in hand with having a demagogue leader. I never dreamed I would live to see the division and protests in my country and it is touching each of us on a very deep level and bringing up the hurt and betrayal each of us have felt to the core. Whether or not each of us are aware of it, we all have the memories of our ancestors stored in our DNA. 

La Jornada Sculpture
Women and Children
Click on photo to enlarge
La Jornada Sculpture
Women and Children
Click on photo to enlarge
La Jornada Sculpture
Click on photo to enlarge
La Jornada Sculpture
Front Center -  Juan de Oñate
Click on photo to enlarge

La Jornada Sculpture
Click on photo to enlarge
National news doesn't often cover the issues of the southwest. Issues I felt that Beto O'Rourke was very familiar with and was trying to take to a national level. Nobody on the east coast wanted to listen. It isn't their personal story. The story of their journey began at Ellis Island in 1892. Our journey was long before that, with the Oñate expedition of 1598. He has been seen as a heroic figure who lead the colonization of New Mexico and others view him as a killer who repressed and enslaved Native Americans. So here it is, bubbling over again. People still in cages at the border and now the raging Oñate controversy on national news. 

I am torn. The issues in New Mexico are very personal and complicated for me. I am 71% Spanish/European descent and 29% Native American. My ancestors were both the oppressors and the oppressed. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the Oñate expeditions yet I find his tactics disturbing. He was operating in the name of Christianity, outlawing the rituals of the Native Americans that had been practiced for centuries. He was eventually banished from New Mexico and convicted by the Spanish government of using "excessive force" against the Native Americans.

Juan Oñate leading the way at the La Jornada Sculpture
Click on photo to enlarge
You know those members of your family that you would just as soon not claim? Juan Oñate is one of them, but I have a list of them. Oñate was married to my 3rd cousin 9 generations ago, Isabel de Tolosa Cortés de Moctezuma. She was the granddaughter of my 1st cousin 10 generations back, Hernando Cortes. You know, the Spanish conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire. And her mother, Isabel Tecuichpo de Moctezuma was the daughter of the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma. It seems that raping and pillaging was a widespread practice to gain power.

So when you look at the whole art installation, it is very symbolic of what was truly going on. Oñate marching forward acting as a conquistador while the women and children were simply living in involuntary servitude to the powers who were in charge. If you think that protesting and voting doesn't work, think again. We have come a long way.

Juan de Oñate
La Jornada Sculpture
Click on photo to enlarge
Oñate colonized New Mexico in 1598 then in 1599 he wrote to the viceroy of New Spain (present day Mexico) and requested additional soldiers and families to help strengthen the colony that had been established.  In the year 1600, sixty-five Spaniards and twenty-five servants were recruited, including women and children. The families from this second wave of colonization were my ancestors and the ancestors of most people with Hispanic roots in New Mexico.

Here is an example of some of my ancestors that came on the expedition:

My 9th great-grandparents, the progenitors of the Baca family of New Mexico. Capitan Cristóbal Baca III and his wife Ana Maria Ortiz Pacheco y Coronado. They had three daughters and two sons.

There are an estimated five million descendants from Cristobal Baca and Ana Ortiz. Almost anyone who has a lineage of seven or more generations in New Mexico are descendants of one of the many Baca lines, if not several times over.

My 7th great-grandparents, the progenitors of the Chavez family of New Mexico. Pedro Gomez Duran y Chaves, and his wife Isabel de Bohorguez Baca. She was the daughter of Cristobal Baca and Ana Ortiz. They had one daughter and two sons.

My 8th great-grandparents the progenitors of the Montoya family of New Mexico. Bartolome de Montoya and his wife Maria de Zamora  They had three sons and two daughters. 

Plaques with names of my ancestors
La Jornada Sculpture
Click on photo to enlarge
I could go on and on, but you get the gist. Yes, the multi-figure art installation titled “La Jornada.” (The Journey)  pays homage to a man that committed atrocities in the name of Christianity. But it also pays homage to other men, women and children. My ancestors. Most of whom I assume were innocent. I am very sad. It's the only place I've ever been where I saw rows and rows of plaques with the names of my ancestors who were the founding fathers of New Mexico. It stood prominently in front of the Albuquerque Museum. It's sad to negate the contributions that the expeditions made to New Mexico's history. Oñate himself was an ugly demagogue but there's a positive side. They brought horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, irrigation, wine and mining.

Woman, child and pig
La Jornada
Click on photo to enlarge
I took the above photos of “La Jornada” on my last trip to Albuquerque. I never dreamed it would be the last time I saw it. I choose to see the beauty in these photos of women, children and animals who I am sure were doing their best just to survive. I honor those who made the long journey. I pray that we learn to live together in peace.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Spanish Influenza of 1918 - Coronavirus 2020

I haven't written in my blog since August, 2019. No reason in particular. Now that I have been sitting in quarantine with my thoughts for 6 weeks, due to the world wide pandemic, COVID-19, I've decided it's time to write about how deeply I feel about our situation.

When the quarantine began, I approached it with fear and grief. Fear because I am over 60 with a heart condition and grief because I couldn't get my grandmother, Josefita Labadie Fajardo off of my mind. She died 102 years ago due to the Spanish Influenza of 1918 when an estimated 1/3 of the world’s population was infected  – resulting in at least 50 million deaths worldwide. I never imagined with the incredible advances we have made in medicine that we would be facing a pandemic in 2020.

My grandparents - Josefita Labadie Fajardo and Doroteo Chavez Fajardo
My father, Felipe Montoya Fajardo, was only three years old when his mother died. This I know, he spent his whole life with a huge hole in his broken heart, looking for his mother's grave. He never found it. After my dad had passed away, I read  that so many people had died in the winter of 1918 that the victims had to be buried in unmarked group graves. It was too risky to have funerals.

My Father, Felipe Montoya Fajardo when he was a baby

My Father,  Felipe Montoya Fajardo when he was a boy
The Spanish Influenza had showed up on the west coast of the United States in the Spring of 1918. Then the curve had flatted, however when WWI ended, on November 11, 1918, people came out of quarantine to celebrate and the second and worst wave of the flu hit in the winter of 1918. That is when my grandmas died. It didn't stop there, it hit again in 1919. 

Have you ever wondered why it was called the Spanish Influenza? It was a misnomer. It didn’t start in Spain. During WWI Spain was neutral so censorship wasn't impose the press. France, England and the United States newspapers weren’t allowed to report on anything that could harm the war effort, including news that a crippling virus was sweeping through and killing the troops. Since Spanish journalists were some of the only ones reporting on a widespread flu outbreak in the spring of 1918, the pandemic became known as the “Spanish flu.”

Notice the cat had a mask on as well

As fate would have it, just a few weeks prior to the COVID-19 quarantine, I was chatting on Facebook with my friend/prima, Jasmine, who lives in Santa Rosa, NM. A friend of hers chimed into the conversation and we ended up chatting for a long time and it felt like another one of those God sends that I happen onto once in a while. 

Her name is Kimberly and she said "I think I have read your blog on your ancestry. You are descended from the Labadie family. I am fascinated by that family. I live on a piece of their property, between the hemp farms." 
I replied "Oh Wow! Yes, my paternal grandmother was Josefita Labadie. I didn't know there were hemp farms in Puerto de Luna! I am totally fascinated by that lineage of my family as well. I never knew anything about them until I started doing research because my grandmother died of the Spanish Influenza in 1918 when my dad was only 3 yrs old. I discovered so much of my ancestry from the census taken in Puerto de Luna in 1900 by Lorenzo Labadie, but he had such an amazing life before that. He was a Lieutenant Colonel. His daughter, Beatriz was married to Juan Patron, another very interesting person. There is a book written about him called "Juan Patron: A Fallen Star in the Days of Billy the Kid." 

Beatriz Labadie Patron and Juan Patron

Then Kimberly wrote "That was the best book! Sadly the Labadie homestead was bought up. They have built a huge four story CBD processing facility. They have basically destroyed the beauty of the ranch. However, Lorenzo’s original Adobe is still there. Plans to tear it down were abandoned. Now they know they historical significance of it. The people who owned this land and who sub-divided it, were obsessed with Lorenzo Labadie as well. The wife did a ton of research on him and passed it on to me. It is all stuff you have found, Im sure. Richard Delgado said my place is where Juan Patron and Beatrice lived. I found Roman’s grave and Beatrice’s next to him at the cemetery on Reilly Road.

Beatriz Labadie's Grave

And Lorenzo's grave is in Puerto de Luna. I am trying to find the truth about my house. It was a ruin that someone enlarged in the early 2000’s. It makes sense it was Beatrice and Juan's house. I’ve often wondered where all the Labadies scattered to. Most of the other old families have a presence here. The location of Lorenzo’s Adobe is the second drive way coming from Santa Rosa on the west side of the highway before Blue Jay Rd which is where the Delgado’s live. There are county dumpsters at the gate." 
I wrote back "Oh my goodness, this is very touching! I have lived in Texas most of my life so I haven't had the opportunity to do much physical research. It is really very cool that you live there. I would love to see photos!"

Present day Labadie Ranch

Kimberly posted this iris photo on
Easter Sunday, April 12
Not knowing what it would mean to me.
It was the 15 year anniversary of my mom's passing.
Mom and Dad always had iris plants in their yard.
Mom and her iris plants - Amarillo, TX
My mother used to mention the Labadie family on occasion when she talked about her uncles who were politicians in New Mexico. I wish I had paid closer attention to the stories she told. After my grandmother Josefita died, my grandfather, Doroteo remarried and started another family so my grandmother's memory was all but erased, except from the heart of her only son Felipe. 

So I started doing my own research about 10 years ago. My Great-Great-Great Uncle, Lorenzo Labadie was the census taker in Puerto de Luna and surrounding areas in the late 1800's to the early 1900's. I discovered some of the most important information from these documents. I always felt like I had hit a jackpot of information if I found a census taken by Lorenzo because all of his census documentation was very accurate and legible. He not only knew everyone in each household, he was related to all of the ones that I was researching. I felt like I grew to know him, late at night as I drank tea and combed through his well recorded documents.

Lorenzo Labadie's House as it looks today
Nobody lives there.

The census in Puerto de Luna in 1900 was a huge find for me. I found that my Grandmother Josefita Labadie and her sisters were living with her mother Dorotea and her stepfather, Antonio Montoya in Puerto de Luna. Up to that time I thought my grandmother was a Montoya but it listed all the children as step-children to the head of the household, Antonio Montoya and they all had the last name Labadie.

A Portion of the 1900 Puerto de Luna Census

Lorenzo Labadie lead a very active life. He was born August 10, 1825 in the Rio Grande Valley, south of Albuquerque. He was a sheriff of Valencia County, then a sheriff of Santa Fe. He then became an Indian agent for several tribes. Then my favorite part of Lorenzo's life, in 1871 He got a merchant's license to open a wine shop in Puerto de Luna. It's not hard for me to imagine the grape vines and orchards along the Pecos in Puerto de Luna. And then at last in 1880 - 1900 he was the census taker. The documents he recorded confirmed the stories I had heard that Billy the Kid had taught my great Uncle Hilario Valdez how to read and write in English, in the evenings after the ranch work was done when Hilario was 7 yrs old. He was also the Post Master of Santa Rosa 1884 - 1898. Lorenzo died on August 10, 1904, in Puerto De Luna, New Mexico and was buried there in the El Calvario Cemetery.

My thoughts now, six weeks into quarantine. I am so grateful to have a safe home and groceries. I thought I loved HEB before but I love them even more now because they have provided curbside pickup for groceries. I have been impressed with most of my family and friends and our effort to flatten the curve by staying home. I think with greater awareness of how viruses and pandemics work, along with better healthcare, we have a better chance than they did in 1918, even if we are working against a president who urges us to not trust the press and has followers who believe the pandemic is a hoax. I feel badly for those areas with dense populations like NYC who rely on public transportation. I am grateful to all my musician friends for the streaming concerts on Facebook and ZOOM conversations with friends. I am grateful for everyone who has checked in on me by phone, text or Facebook. I am grateful for the essential workforce who has continued to work such as healthcare workers and those who work at the grocery stores and pharmacies. I pray that this pandemic takes a downward turn by May 15 so my son can reopen his restaurant. For now I am home, watching lots of movies, eating lots of home cooked meals and feeling grateful that in this moment I feel healthy and I have a cat. And to all that read this please stay safe, stay home as much as possible and be grateful in every moment.