Written by Josie Theodora Garcia. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”
Josie was born in Engleville, Co. on Dec. 20, 1920, to Apolinar Vera and (Della) Maria Delfina Dominguez, and was christened Theodora Aurelia. It is unknown how she became to be called Josie. She was the second child and the oldest daughter, Ben being the oldest (deceased), followed by Antionette, Minnie, Ruby, and Vincent. The family lived in Morley, where she attended school till mid 8th grade, then made the move to Trinidad. Here she completed the 8th at Rice school.
She still marvels at how well her parents provided for their six children during the depression years, though little help was given families. She recalls taking a five pound bucket and walking to the YMCA where milk was given each morning. Her father worked a couple days a week in the mine, but he raised rabbits, occasionally a pig, and a garden. They made sausages and bacon all covered with salt to preserve it. The sausages buried in lard. Despite the hard times, she never went hungry or did without shoes or clothes.
Sometimes they were given a sheep or goat by her aunt Frances and Uncle Cayetano who owned a sheep ranch. There was no refrigeration, but somehow food never spoiled. She never felt poor, because everyone in camp was in the same position. Water was brought into the home from an outside faucet, in a bucket and a dipper was placed inside for drinking. Bath water was heated on a coal stove, also for laundry. The “privy” was outside, which usually got turned over on Halloween.
She and her siblings were very inventive in their play, finding ways to amuse themselves and making their toys. They would use discarded baby buggies, hook them together, and ride them recklessly down a hill. Fortunately no broken bones, as they usually turned over. Ben would make stilts from wood, some short some tall, and home made scooters. Out of strong, rigid wire a rod with a book was fashioned and used to push a wheel around. Tin cans were forced on shoes and clumped around on these. Fond memories are recalled of a swing someone had attached to a very large tree, made of a single metal cable with a hoop on one end. This cable would carry the swinger way out over Raton Creek.
In the winter a coal shovel or card board improvised for a sled, often water was poured on the hill to make it icy for sledding. This was also the time for jello as the bowl with unjelled jello was imbedded in the snow. In the spring or summer evenings “hide and seek”, “run sheep run”, kick the can”, “Red Rover, Red Rover” and other games were played. Baseball and marbles were also popular with boys, while girls liked to play with paperdolls, school or house. The little money that was available went for essentials and attempts to get out of debt at the company store. After the work seemed to improve, her mother became the proud owner of her first washing machine, A Faultless-wringer. What a blessing on wash day.
After moving to Trinidad, Co. and attending high school and Junior college, graduating in 1941, she married Mike A. Garcia from Aguilar (Father-Waldo Garcia, Mother-Elvira Falsetta). She taught school in Engleville and Barela, both were single teacher schools. In 1943 California beckoned, after her husband’s release from the army service. Both found employment with the Federal Government and made their home in El Cajon which is out of San Diego. A daughter Vera-Eileen was born to them on Jan. 28, 1946 and a son Michael Paul in Aug. 7, 1948. At 18 Eileen married Earl Clinton Perkins producing a son, (Todd) Earl C. Perkins III. Her second husband, Bill Schwarberg, died of a heart attack. She is accounts manager for the San Diego Union and Tribune newspapers.
Michael married Cheryl Berwald Jan. 30, 1970 and had 3 daughters: Rachel, Andrea, and Michelle. He is employed at the Naval Air Station in San Diego as Branch Manager for computers. He and his family returned from Spain (1986) after a year working with the Spanish Air Force. He was sent there to program parts for the F-18’s which the Spanish were getting from the U.S., including the computers. They enjoyed their stay in Spain and meeting relatives and had amusing and not so funny experiences. Josie and Mike have a summer home in Valdez, Co., where she teaches oil painting. Her love of painting blossomed after her retirement in 1972. Her love of travel has taken her numerous times to Europe, especially Spain where she has many relatives–from Madrid to the French border.
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