Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Hippie Chick Memories

January has always been my least favorite month. The holidays are over, days are shorter and it's cold. Putting away Christmas decorations is depressing after traditionally falling asleep on the couch during the month of December, basking in the glow of Christmas tree lights. It's no wonder that there is actually a disorder called SAD (Seasonal affective disorder)

I'm always left in a vulnerable state after the New Year celebrations have ended. This year was no different ... only worse. I flew home from a month long visit in St Louis on January 9. The next evening I received sad news from New Mexico that my friend, Linda Quintana had passed away. She had been ill, still, nobody is ever ready to hear that someone you care about is gone. She was one of those people that I had so much in common with that we could go a while without talking and pick up right where we left off. We were both passionate about our jobs working for newspapers, we loved music, art, our kids and grandkids. Not specifically in that order.

Artwork by Christina Fajardo

Linda was married to my cousin Tommy Quintana. She and I became close when I lived with my Grandma Rosita during my junior year in high school,1971-72. Tommy and Linda lived in a cute little house in Santa Rosa, NM. To me it seemed like the storybook perfect place described in the Crosby Stills & Nash song "Our House." With a garden next to the acacia on a back street of a small town. I loved staying at their house on occasion. Linda and I were both earthy Taurus girls, her birthday was May 5, 1950 and mine is May 12, 1955. If fate would have had it, my birthday would have been 5 days earlier on 5/5/55.

Apparently, according to the town crier, I was having too much fun in Santa Rosa because my parents made me go back to school in Amarillo for my senior year. It was just as well. I was able to go to school half day and work half day. I saved my money and was able to go back to Santa Rosa the summer of '73 after I graduated and rented a little adobe house on the hill.

This is the only photo I have of that house. I painted a Texas style primitive mural on the living room wall. My cousin Barbara lived down the street. On this particular day, her 2 boys, Timothy and Kris came over to visit. That summer Linda and I discussed going to Highlands
University in Las Vegas, NM. I had high hopes of what I could do with the 3 chords I could play on the guitar and my limited writing skills. My parents had very different plans for me. They came to Santa Rosa, swooped me up and moved me to Austin where I was to babysitter for my sister's 3 year old son, Derek. Oddly, it didn't dawn on me that as an 18 years old I had the choice to live MY dream. Looking back, I realize my plans were rarely taken into consideration. It took me years to realize I was what Prince Harry is referred to as "the spare to the heirs." In other words, what I wanted didn't matter because I was the youngest female in our traditional Hispanic family. I was basically there to be a support system for the family. Not to live my dream. But that is a whole other blog.

Music had always been something I gravitated to. Music lessons were never an option because from the time I was in the 2nd - 6th grade I had a little brother who was ill. In high school, I took it upon myself to learn what I could on my own. I used to sit in my bedroom at my parent's house teaching myself how to play my dad's guitar.

I had a turn table and a short stack of albums. In the summer of '71, my friend Chris Montano had hopped on a Greyhound bus from Santa Rosa to Amarillo bearing gifts. He gave me 3 of the albums listed below that became the soundtrack of my teenage years along with my sister's Beatle albums.
  • Crosby, Stills and Nash
  • Carol King - Tapestry
  • Crosby, Stills and Nash - Deja Vu
  • James Taylor - Sweet Baby James
  • Joni Mitchell - Blue
Jackson Browne was to come in the next year. Needless to say, the news of Linda's passing 2 weeks ago had all of these songs circling around in my head along with all my other memories of being a hippie chick from the Texas Panhandle living in rural New Mexico. You can only imagine the crushing surprise when the news came the week after Linda passed away that David Crosby had also passed away. 

Naturally, over this past week, I've been listening to all the old CSN music and reminiscing. The song that resonates the most is "Teach Your Children." The version on the "Deja Vu" album to be specific, because it has Jerry Garcia on steel guitar. Only now, 50 years later, "Teach Your Children" has a totally different meaning to me as a 67 year old grandmother. 

Listen to it and read the lyrics. You'll see what I mean.

Click here to see video of "Teach Your Children"

I loved CSN as a teenager because they were cute musicians from California, my dream land. Now I know they were wise beyond their years. In the 80's when I moved to Los Angeles, I used to drive through Laurel Canyon just to get a feel for what it may have been like 10 or 15 yrs earlier, when these songs were being written. There certainly was the same vibe that used to be present in South Austin back in the day.

I'm so sorry that I lost track of what David Crosby had been doing for the past few years. He continued to be a positive force AFTER his battle with drugs. I was pleasantly surprised to discover "Ask Croz" on Youtube the other day. Up until about a year ago if you had a question for David Crosby you could email askcroz@rollingstone.com or tweet your question with a hashtag #askcroz. If you felt you had a question to weird embarrassing to ask, you could send it to him.

Click here to watch "Ask Croz"

In closing these past two week have been rough on many levels. It has served as a reminder that the baby boomers produced a massive amount of dreamers, artists and musicians otherwise known as hippies and flower children who were determined to change the world. We have reached that age when the hours and minutes of our days and nights are not taken for granted. I am grateful for rediscovering Croz, even after his death. His interviews with Howard Stern are uplifting, positive and funny. I wish I had found them in the beginning of the pandemic when I was living in so much fear. He's sort of the west coast Willie Nelson. His love of music was beautiful and he truly loved sharing it was with all of us. Even at the age of 81 with many health issues, he seemed to have a positive, sweet, mellow presence with a lack of ego. I'm pretty sure there should be a bumper sticker that says "What Would Croz Do?"

Happy trails Linda Quintana and David Crosby ... I hope you find each other on the other side. Ya'll will be great friends.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

My Father's Chair

My Father, Felipe Montoya Fajardo, was a woodworker. He loved wood the way a quilt maker loves fabric. I've always assumed his love of woodworking began when he was a young man in the Civilian Conservation Corps, the work relief program that gave millions of young men employment during the Great Depression. In New Mexico alone, more than thirty-two thousand signed up for CCC camps which provided them with shelter, clothing, food and a wage of $30 (equivalent to $1000 in 2022) per month ($25 of which had to be sent home to their families.)

With so many people out of work, there was little demand for traditional arts and a good chance that some of these skills would disappear. The CCC woodworking program created an environment that helped revitalize the tradition. Craftsmen were trained in furniture making, carpentry and carving. My father said he had carved a table and several chairs yet he only ended up with one chair. If you look closely at the photo below, you will see that this chair was hand carved and put together with no nails. I had always cherish this jewel of a chair that was usually covered with paint splotches in my dad's workshop. When I was about 40 and he was 80, I asked him if I could have it. The morning of August 20, 2001 I had a dream that someone had stolen the chair and I woke up in a panic. He passed away that afternoon, at the age of 86. The dream early that morning was very symbolic that he was gone.

Handmade Chair by Felipe M Fajardo

My Dad, Felipe Montoya Fajardo

After his death, my 3 siblings and I had the surreal experience of going to a funeral home in Amarillo to make funeral arrangements and pick out his casket. As we walked through a room of what seemed like a thousand caskets, there was no question that our father would be buried in the best dark mahogany wooden casket available. He loved mahogany.

As a child, I spent hours in my father's workshop, watching him carefully mixing stains and clamping broken furniture together after I had helped him carefully apply wood glue to the surface.  It was his art. His life. When I was really young, I used to go on house calls with him because there were always nice ladies who would serve up cookies and milk while we chatted and watched my dad fix a damaged corner of a dining room table or nightside. I never realized that I was in the early training stages of becoming an artist myself.

It wasn't until about 10 years after my father died that I started researching our ancestry. I immediately learned the origins and meaning of our surname. The surname "Fajardo" was first found in the province of Galicia, Spain in the northwestern corner of the Iberian peninsula. A topographic name for someone who lived by a beech tree or in a beech wood (from Late Latin fagea (arbor) ‘beech (tree)’ a derivative of classical Latin fagus ‘beech’. 

Beech Tree in Spain

All of a sudden it made sense that my father would be a woodworker. When he was in the Civilian Conservation Corps, he and 4 others also carved the enormous double doors at the Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church in his hometown of Santa Rosa, New Mexico. I don't have a photo of those doors because they were eventually replaced because they were so heavy that when the wind blew, people would get knocked off of the stairs that lead up to the church. I understand they are now owned by an individual in Santa Rosa.

Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church
Santa Rosa, NM

Christina Fajardo 
at Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church
Santa Rosa, NM

Before I was born daddy had a furniture repair company called "F & H Furniture Repair." (Fajardo and Hernandez) My dad repaired the wood and his friend, Oscar Hernandez did the upholstering. 

My brothers Phillip and Gilbert
in front of Dad's truck in about 1952

When I was in elementary school I remember Daddy going to night school at Amarillo College to became a certified air conditioning and refrigeration repairman. He eventually went back to repairing furniture at Heath Furniture and then worked at Sears Roebuck for 25 years and even after he retired, the Sears delivery guys would drop furniture off at his shop for him to repair pieces that were too complicated for the new guy to repair. Even when had that job, he fixed furniture on the side. I still have the magnet sign that he displayed on his Ford Econoline work van.

My dad riding my horse in Manchaca, Texas
with his blue Ford Econoline van in the background.

I still have this magnet sign that he displayed on his blue van.

I often wish my parents could have lived long enough for them to enjoy all of the information I've gathered about our family on the internet. My father ordered a hardback book with information about the Fajardo surname and he had a framed Fajardo Coat of Arms on the wall of his office. He bought them in 1983 when I was busy taking care of my 5 year old, Adriane and 3 year old Christian. 

"Fajardo book bought by my father in 1983.

The Fajardo Coat of Arms

The Fajardo Coat of Arms

The Fajardo Coat of Arms

Monday, July 18, 2022

Dodge, Madrid, Page, Padilla Families - Puerto de Luna, New Mexico - Part 2

 In February I posted that I had just recently joined a Facebook group called Dodge, Madrid, Page, Padilla Families - Puerto de Luna, New Mexico 

Since then I have come to realize that the families such as the Nelson and Page families of Virginia overlap as much as the families in New Mexico like the Padilla and Fajardo families. Now I have been totally entertained by the fact that the Page and Nelson families of Virginia overlap many times over with my children's Ethridge branch of the family tree. This has lead to hours of reading about the United States' founding families of Virginia. Up to this point I had only been interested in the founding families of New Mexico.

This week my cousin, John Dodge posted that he had just visited his fifth and sixth great grandfathers’ graves in Yorktown Virginia, Thomas Scotch Nelson Senior and his son, Brigadier General Thomas Nelson Jr. 

Photo of Thomas Nelson Grave
Taken by John Dodge July 16, 2022

John Dodge July 16, 2022

That prompted me to see how Thomas Nelson is related to my children on their dad's side of the family and here's what I found.

Lucy Grymes

Thomas Nelson Jr. was born in Yorktown, Virginia in 1738 to a very wealthy family who owned a large plantation. He was sent to England for his education, as many members of wealthy Virginia families were. He graduated from Cambridge and returned to Virginia soon after. He married Lucy Grymes in 1762, a member of Virginia’s Randolph family. They had 13 children. Here is where the overlapping of our family tree begins. Lucy was my ex-husband's 2nd cousin 7x time removed. (2nd cousin 7 generations ago) which makes her my children's 2nd cousin 8x time removed. Lucy Grymes' back story is that her great-grandparents were William Randolph I and Mary Isham. Their famous descendants include many prominent individuals including Thomas Jefferson, Robert E Lee, John Marshall, Paschal Beverly Randolph, Peyton Randolph and many others. Due to William and Mary Randoph's many progeny and marital alliances, they have been referred to as "the Adam and Eve of Virginia." 

This is an Ancestry chart of how my children are related to Thomas Nelson Jr.

Here are some more photos of Photo of the Thomas Nelson Grave.

 Nelson became a planter and an estate manager. When he and his fellow signers pledged “our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor,” the men of the Second Continental Congress took that risk seriously. He gave his fortune and his health to further the cause of American Independence. 

Thomas Nelson Jr. wasn't a healthy man and the mission of independence took a lot out of him resulting in an early death at the age of 50. He also donate all of his money it to help win the War of Independence. 

He was elected to Virginia’s House of Burgesses and was a very outspoken opponent of Britain and their policies toward the colonies and was one of the first leaders in the colonies to entertain the idea of an independency for the colonies. He believed that it was absurd to have the colonists hold an “affection for a people who are carrying on the most savage war against us.” On November 7, 1774, Nelson was a member of the Yorktown Tea Party. Citizens of York County, Virginia had passed a non-importation boycott in response to the Tea Act of 1773. When the British ship Virginia docked at Yorktown, enraged citizens marched onto the ship and dumped two imported half-chests of tea into the water. The boycott was an effort to pressure the British Parliament to repeal tax laws and regulations.

Nelson was appointed as a member of the Second Continental Congress in mid-1775, replacing George Washington when Washington left the Congress to go to Boston to take command of the Continental Army. He had returned to Virginia and was in Williamsburg on May 15, 1776 when the Fifth Virginia Convention passed a series of resolutions declaring Virginia was no longer a part of the British Empire. Nelson immediately carried the news from Virginia to Philadelphia where Richard Henry Lee on June 6, 1776 made the official resolution for independence within the Second Continental Congress, that would lead to the Declaration of Independence. He eventually had to resign from the Congress due to poor health.

Nelson was later appointed a brigadier general in the Continental Army and commanded the Virginia militia during the battle of Yorktown in 1781 during the American Revolutionary War. It was here that one of the most selfless acts of his life took place as he ordered the artillery of the Continental Army to fire on his home, where several British officers were headquartered. The home was heavily damaged. The surrender of the British troops at Yorktown occurred soon after.

In June of 1781, Nelson became the second governor of Virginia, succeeding Thomas Jefferson. He had to resign in November of 1781 due to poor health. By this point in his life, he had lost almost everything. His businesses were destroyed. He was owed over two million dollars by the United States government for his loans to help finance the French fleet and their aid to the war effort. He was never repaid and his financial well-being was destroyed.

Nelson passed away at his home at the age of 50 in 1789 due to severe asthma. His body was originally buried in an unmarked grave in Yorktown because of a fear that creditors may hold his body for collateral until his debts were paid. He now rests under a beautiful stone that pays tribute to him and his service to the United States, including honoring his service as a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Monday, July 4, 2022

4th of July

Today, July 4th, the United States celebrates Independence Day. in In 1776 the Continental Congress declared the 13 American colonies to be a new nation. The USA was no longer part of the British Empire. That seems like a great reason to celebrate! 

Let me tell you a little about what was going on in my personal history in the 1700's and beyond. The majority of my ancestors are from the western side of what is now known as the United States of America. In 1776 it was not yet part of the USA. It was New Spain. 

So picture this. 28 years before the Declaration of Independence my paternal 4th great-grandmother, Maria Micaela Padilla, was born in the high mountain valley of El Rito in Rio Arriba County, New Spain. It is now present day New Mexico. The exact location is 14 miles south of Abiquiú, 18 miles northwest of Espanola, 15 miles northwest of Ojo Caliente and 56 miles northwest of Santa Fe, with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east. 

With those very detailed directions being given, the present day locals will tell you, tongue in cheek, the very small community of El Rito is about 300 years northwest of Santa Fe because much of the current day population lives off of the grid. 

Maria Micaela was born into the prominent founding Padilla family of New Mexico in 1748. It was common for men to migrate from the east and marry into the large wealthy Hispanic families in the west. In 1765 a handsome 27 yr old doctor, Dominique Labadie, who had been born in Veloc, Gascony, in the southwest of France. migrated from St Louis to New Mexico. He and Maria Micaela were married on November of 1766.Ten years before the Declaration of Independence. The marriage took place at La Parroquia Church in Santa Fe, NM which was built between 1714 –1717. The very popular present day Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi was built 
on the site of La Parroquia church between 1869 and 1886 . Maria Micaela and Dominique Labadie had 15 children and they were all baptized in that church.

Fast forward to January of 1795, the French were lobbying for the return of Louisiana to France. Spain was fearful of the encroachment of the United States and France. Since Dominique was French and married to Maria Micaela Padilla, who was Spanish, their property was inventoried and the couple and their 15 children were confined to their residence for a period of time.

Because the information that's been written in our history books and taught in our schools is extremely slanted, I have had to dig deep for my personal history. In 1776 
King Charles III of Spain gave my maternal 5th Great Uncle, Captain Antonio Montoya, 50,000 acre Piedra Lumbre Land Grant in New Mexico. Did you read anything about that in your history books? Probably not. The 21,000 acres that comprise Georgia O'Keefe's Ghost Ranch is part of the Piedra Lumbre Land Grant and is now owned by a Presbyterian Church. I won't go into how it went from being a family land grant to being owned by a church. 

I would rather tell you a little more about the Labadie family. Lorenzo Labadie was the grandson of Micaela and Dominique Labadie and my 3rd Great-Uncle. He is one of my ancestors that I have grown to know and love through my research. Lorenzo was described as a handsome, honorable man who wore many hats. 

Lorenzo Labadie

In 1851 he was the Sheriff in Valencia County where he served 3 terms. Like his friend Kit Carson, he was a sympathetic and a loyal friend of many Native Americans. In 1855 he was appointed as a U.S. Indian Agent for 15 years and gained respect and confidence seldom obtained by the Native Americans as an Agent. Under his watchful eye, the Native Americans worked side-by-side with soldiers, damming the Pecos River to irrigate crops, planting trees, and building a slaughter house. this is very close to my heart because I watched my uncles work that land as a child, growing chile and raising cattle. Under Lorenzo's watchful eye in the late 1800's they had 94 gardens spread over a 100 acre area and grew melons, pumpkins, chile and green beans. 

Lorenzo was removed as an Indian agent because he protested against the Native Americans being furnished unwholesome food by the government. I picture him in my minds eye as a honorable man, much like my father, someone who could never fully retire. In 1871 Lorenzo took out merchants license and opened a wine shop. There were vineyards and orchards in Puerto de Luna. I can only imagine how beautiful and lively it was when my parents were born there in the early 1900's.

Here are photos of the Labadie Ranch in Puerto de Luna, NM as it looks today. Lorenzo's daughter, Beatrice Labadie and her husband, Juan Patron lived in this house. It is no longer owned by the Labadie family.

Labadie Ranch House
In Puerto de Luna, NM
Labadie Ranch House
In Puerto de Luna, NM
Labadie Ranch House
In Puerto de Luna, NM
Labadie Ranch House
In Puerto de Luna, NM
Labadie Ranch House
In Puerto de Luna, NM
Labadie Ranch House
In Puerto de Luna, NM

Lorenzo Labadie was the census taker of Puerto de Luna and the surrounding areas during 1880, 1890 and 1900. Because of his excellent record keeping abilities, it made it very easy for me to become very familiar with Puerto de Luna when it was an active, thriving community. I have never seen any other census taken with such precision. There's so much family history in these documents, including records of Billy the Kid (William H. Bonney) living and working on my great-great uncle's ranches. 

During the day he kept land and cattle rustlers at bay and in the evenings when the work day was done, he taught my Great Uncle Hilario Valdez to speak and read English at the age of 7. That tells me he probably wasn't the bad guy that the history books make him out to be. Instead he was loyal to the Hispanic families who had taken him in and treated him like family. There is a book written about Lorenzo Labadie's son-in-law called "Juan Patron: A Fallen Star in the Days of Billy the Kid." 

Juan had moved his family back to Puerto de Luna from Lincoln County during the Lincoln County Wars only to be shot down in cold blood in Puerto de Luna. 
The killer was Mitchel E. Maney, a cowboy from a wealthy Texas ranching family. 

Juan had raised the money to build the Nuestra Señora del Refugio Church in Puerto de Luna. Sadly, the first mass held in the church was was his funeral. His was buried in the church. I hope to some day write a book based on the information that Lorenzo collected in the pages of his census.

The Nuestra Señora del Refugio Church
Puerto de Luna, NM

So there you have it. A very condensed version of what was going on with just a couple of branches of my family tree in the west when the original 13 eastern colonies became the United States. It wasn't until January 6, 1912, 3 years before my father was born that New Mexico actually became the 47th state. In 1776 it was New Spain.

I had a few ancestors who were in 13 colonies. I just discovered in the past couple of years that my family tree has a couple of branches who are direct descendants of the United States founding fathers. My children are 2nd cousins 8 times removed from President Thomas Jefferson on their dad's side. William Randolph I and his wife, Mary Isham are my children's 9th great-grandparents in the in the Ethridge lineage. I had an Aunt Marcelina Padilla Page who was also married into that lineage so there are some Page/Nelson/Dodge families that cross back and forth from my mom's side of the family to my ex-husband's family. This is very typical for those of us in New Mexico but my ex-husband was born in Houston, TX. I'll save that story for another blog. The funny thing is, my mother moved me far, far away from New Mexico so I wouldn't marry a distant cousin and I married a distant cousin anyway. hahaha!

This Independence Day, I am just going to visualize independence from this modern day madness we call our government. I'm praying for many, many needed miracles. Women's healthcare is at the top of my list.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Canary Islands Descendant

I belong to a group on Facebook called "Canary Islands Descendants Association-San Antonio." I belong to the group because the Fajardo branch of my family is from the Canary Islands, Spain. My 8th great-grandfather, Miguel Fajardo was born in the Canary Islands in 1591. A photo of this historical marker was posted yesterday because on July 2, 1731, the original 16 families began to lay out a village in San Antonio de Bexar.

Canary Islanders Historical Marker
San Antonio, Texas

In 1971 this historical marker was placed in Main Plaza in San Antonio. My history is so very different than the history I have celebrated my entire life. 

The Founders Monument
In front of the historic Bexar County Courthouse

On March 9, 2019. Bexar County, in partnership with the Canary Islands Descendants Association, unveiled the Founders Monument outside of the Historic Bexar County Courthouse. T
his commemorative project, by artist Armando Hinojosa, consists of five pieces. There is one Female and one male Canary Islander, one Native American, one Spanish friar, and one presidio soldier - representing the founders of our community.The Canary Islander on the right leaning on a cain is modeled after a distant cousin of mine named Paul Garcia.

Paul Garcia with statue modeled after him

The figures in the monument, created by Laredo artist Armando Hinojosa, represent the four founding communities of San Antonio - American Indians, Canary Islanders, Franciscan friars and Presidio soldiers. As early as 1691, Spanish explorers recorded insightful information on various American Indian tribes in the area, whom the Spanish collectively referred to as the Coahuiltecans. Later tribes included the Lipan Apaches, the Tonkawa, and the Comanches. Colonial settlement began in 1718, with the establishment of the Presidio San Antonio de Béxar and the Mission San Antonio de Valero (now called The Alamo).

In 1731, Spanish immigrants from the Canary Islands, (Spain) settled in the area and formed the first organized civil government in Texas, founding the village of San Fernando de Bexar adjacent to the presidio. The mission, presidio and villa communities worked hard to maintain their individual identities but eventually began the process of working together to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. Through marriage and business ventures, the soldiers, mission natives and Canary Islanders joined together to form a solid foundation that would persevere through many tests and conflicts.

The monument located in front of the historic Bexar County Courthouse in the heart of San Antonio. This area is commonly referred to as Main Plaza but for hundreds of years it was known as Plaza de las Islas Canarias.

It just so happens that my cousin, Michael Padilla is in the Canary Islands and posted amazing photos yesterday. Happy Canary Islander Day!

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Father's Day

I have to say of all the good dads I have known, this dad takes the cake. He has fought harder than anyone I have ever know to be a father. Imagine rebuilding your life after a divorce, 825 miles away from your home town and family that you love in Texas, just to see your children for 4 hours a week for 4 years. It's gotten better only because he has stayed in court and spent thousands of dollars just to have the God given right to spend more time with his children. Andrew has chosen to live with his dad and Jackie gets to spend 2 weeks with her dad this summer for the first time in her 7 years of life. Nobody should have to fight so hard to be a father. Your children will remember that you were there for them Christian and that is worth more than all the gold in the world.