Written by Louise Benavidez Sanchez. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”
In 1926, we moved to 836 Robinson Street, catty corner from Mount Caramel Church. We used to go to church everyday. Father Zixardi was our Pastor then. We attended schools at Park Street, Centennial and Trinidad High School. Big Joe, Celio, and Sophie went to high school, the rest of us went to grade schools. We has a lot of fun while we lived there. They used to have dances at the Pavilion at Central Park. It was open year round, and we would stand around and watch them dance.
I remember Pete and Mary Tarabino, they were so graceful when they were dancing. They would put the spotlight on them, they looked so beautiful. I must have been about thirteen years old, bur we lived just a block away, and we would come down and watch them dancing. They has a Merry-go-round there too and a Ferris Wheel. In March of 1927 my sister Josie and Charlie Freyta got married at Mount Caramel Church, then in June of that same year my brother Orlando and Lucy Petrucci were married also. I remember how Lucy and Orlando were in an old buggy, and they had a lot of old shoes and tin cans tied to the buggy. Mrs. Petrucci had this delicious spaghetti dinner at her house right next to the church. In 1930 my dad moved us to the ranch at the River Place. In the fall of that year I had to go to Hoehne. I was in the ninth grade. My cousins Alfonso, Mary, and Josephine Benavidez and I batched in an old house there in Earl, Colorado. The bus would pick us up in the morning, and drop us off in the evening. I didn’t like living there and I didn’t going to school in Hoehne, I was to used to going to Trinidad schools. My dad or sisters would pick me up on Fridays and bring mr back on Sunday evening. I had been in school about a month and I decided I decided I didn’t want to go to school anymore. So I asked my dad if I could quit. I wish he would have put his foot down, and made me go to school. I still have dreams about going to high school, and most of the time I have only one year to go. Well, I ended up back at the ranch, working hard like all the rest of the family. We had a lot of fun though, especially when we were smaller. We used to play all kinds of games, when we weren’t working. We used to play hide-and-seek, hopscotch, baseball, and kick-the-can. We had a donkey, sometimes she would just lay down and wouldn’t get up. We also had a mare named Goldie. We used to get the cows or just go for rides on her. She was real tame. My sister Sophie would play the piano, and we would sing and harmonize as the workers would gather around to hear us. We would make popcorn or fudge in the evenings and play a card game called “Cosina”.
We didn’t have a radio or anything, but we had a phonograph. My brother Steve would play the guitar, my dad or my uncle Moya would play the violin. We used to play spin the bottle and tell silly made up stories and if anyone laughed they would be out of the game. In those days, sometimes the neighbors would have a dance at their homes in a large room. We would have a lot of fun, even if we were all dusty when we got out of there. We also went to dances in Model. Hoehne, Chicoso or Earl. They would have a rodeo at Model on the 25th of July. It was called “Gallo Day” of “Dia de Santiago”, which means St. James Day. These days were very important. The 4th of July, 25th of July and the 26th of July, which was St. Ann’s Day. There were big dances then and some on the 10th of August that was “El Dia de San Lorenzo”.
The Hester’s Orchestra or the Valdez Brothers played at all of these dances. Chris Valdez was the very best violin player. I remember everyone at home working so hard to get the hay stacked before we had to go to the rodeo, even the neighbors would come to help, because the hay after it had been cut on the ground and it rains will spoil so they had to get it stacked. My dad raised a lot of corn and alfalfa. One time my two younger brothers Lee and Joie and I got lost in the corn field. The corn was real tall and we followed my dad and my brother, Steve into the field we stayed behind and got lost. It was time for supper and we heard the big dinner bell ringing for the men to come and eat. My sister Josie was worried because she hadn’t seen us all afternoon. She asked my dad if he had seen us and he said, “The last time I saw them they were in the cornfield.”, so she came to look for us. She kept calling for us. I told the boys not to answer because we would get punished for following my dad and brother into the cornfield. She finally ran into us, but didn’t spank us. I think it was because my little brother Joie was crying and only five years old at the time. My mother had died about a year before and Josie felt sorry for him.
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