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 1930 I met my husband, Albert Sanchez. I was going to school in Hoehne and that is were he lived. His dad, Macedonio Sanchez, was a barber. He had his own shop and he also had a pool hall in the same building. Albert learned to play pool since he was a little boy. He was born in 1909 in Hoehne. His dad would have him stand on a soda pop box to play pool against the men that would come to play there. They also had a dance hall where they had dances about every two weeks.
His mother’s name was Eulogia Valdez Sanchez. Albert and I would see each other at the dances. In 1931, we went steady for eleven months. We corresponded a lot by letters. On April 25, 1932 we got married at the Holy Trinity Catholic Rectory where the priest live. We were married at 7:00 a.m. by Father Hughs. My sister, Sophie and her husband we our sponsors. From there we went to have our pictures taken at Aultman Studios. We had a quiet wedding, but my two older sisters, Mary and Josie prepared a big dinner for us at the River Place. My mother-in-law’s brothers, who were musicians came out to meet us about a half a block w\away from the house. They played the wedding march and formed a procession to the house. I had raised seven or eight lambs that didn’t have mothers, they were what you call “Pencos”. I used to feed them from a pop bottle filled with milk out of a pan. I would stick my finger in the pan with milk and have them suck on my finger till they learned to drink by themselves. On the day I got married, nobody fed them, and when they saw me, they followed me in the wedding procession “baa-ing” all the way to the house.
After the dinner my mother-in-law said we ought to have a wedding dance, and being that they had the dance hall and her brothers were musicians, they made plans to have a dance. I don’t know how people found out about the dance, but the hall wa packed with people, even as far away as Trinidad.
There were no jobs at the time because it was during the depression. We lived with my dad for short while. Albert helped at the ranch and I cooked and kept the chores up. The we went to live with my in-laws in Hoehne. That was where Betty, my eldest daughter was born. Albert worked at the farms in Hoehne as much as he could. He only made fifty cents a day.
In March of 1933, Mr. Staley, a rancher, asked Albert and his brother Kelly if they would work for him at this place, which was between Model and Earl. He would let us live in a little frame house and we would have all the milk and eggs we needed. He also gave them an acre to plant beans on. They raised 1000 pounds of beans in which they sold for $2.00 per hundred. We had plenty of milk and cream, butter and eggs, but we couldn’t sell the eggs because everyone was so poor. Eggs, at that time sold for ten cents a dozen, a pound of butter sold for eighteen cents. We would give most of the eggs, milk and cream away. Mr. Staley paid the boys fifteen dollars a month. We were very happy there. We had four rooms. We had very little furniture but we were living by ourselves.
In about 1935, we bought a two room house in Hoehne. We borrowed the money from Albert’s uncle, Raymond Martinez. He was a mail clerk on the railroad. We paid $125.00 for the house. It was located in Hoehne in back of the old Catholic Church across the ditch. It had about 1 1/2 lots. Later we built a bigger house. We had three children at the time, Betty, Florence, and Al. Albert worked on the railroad for a few months. In 1941, he decided to go to barber college. He went to Denver and lived at his uncles place, we joined him a couple months later and stayed until he graduated. He drew compensation from the railroad to pay his school. He graduated in August of that year. We returned home and he tried getting a job with the barbers in Trinidad, but business was so bad in those days that they could not hire him. Finally Joe Lisot hired him as an apprentice. He had a barber shop on Commercial Street. He got 40% of what he made. He made $12.99 a month. It was impossible for us to live on those wages.
In the meantime, my sister wrote us a letter saying that they were hiring men in Ely, Nevada. That is where she and her husband resided. So we got a ride with a young man that was going to Ely. He took us and our three children; this was in November 1941. He got a job right away. On December 7, 1941 World War I started. My sister said “You had better make this a good Christmas for the children, this might be our last good Christmas.” Well Albert got laid off work two months after he started, so he went to work on the railroad, but he got laid off again. He was very unhappy, he wanted to come back to Trinidad to try getting a barbering job so that he could finish his apprenticeship, and then he would be able to attain his Master Barber License.
We received a letter from my father-in-law stating that “Mr. Sam Lucero would hire him as an apprentice.” His barber shop was on East Main and the name of it was, White Front Barber Shop. (where Mode-O-Day is located at the present time) Well, we bought an old car and came home on February of 1942. When we crossed the Boulder Dam, which is now the Hoover Dam, we were escorted by a truckload of soldiers and there were soldiers with guns all the way across the dam. Before we started to cross, they searched the car for such things as guns, cameras, etc…if we would have had anything like those in our possession they would have taken it and given it back to us on the other side. It was quite an experience and was rather scary.
When we arrived in Trinidad, Albert started work right away, the kids started school at Park Street, and our lives seemed to be started in the right direction. At that time, haircuts were seventy five cents. Business was very good all during the war.
Mr. Lucero passed away in 1943, so Albert was on his own. He was at that location until the Park Floral Shop and the Barber Shop were torn down to build the Mode-O-Day store there. From there he moved to Greg Browning’s Shop on the second block of Commercial Street where he remained an employee until the Coronado Hotel fire. We finally were able to buy our own home in 1945, which I still live in.
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