Benavidez Memories – Part 1

Written by Louise Benavidez Sanchez. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”

After mother was laid to rest, my sisters, Mary and Josie took care of us until my sister, Maxine, who we used to call “Max” came to live with us. My sister, Mary was engaged to my brother-in-law at the time that my mother passed away. They were supposed to have gotten married in March, but due to the death, they postponed the wedding until June. I remember one Sunday, my sister, Mary had invited her fiance to come and have dinner at our house. She baked a real nice cake with white icing. She and my sister, Josie went to church. She left the cake on the table. Sophie and I were alone. We ate most of the icing off the cake, when my sister came home and saw the cake, she got real angry with us, and asked “which one of you ate the icing on the cake?” Sophie said, “I didn’t” and I said, “I didn’t.” “Who ate the icing on the Cake?” We didn’t, so she got the strap and said, “you girls kneel down, I’m going to find out who did this.” She said: “Louise, did you eat the icing? I said, ‘no, I didn’t’, so she said ‘Sophie, did you eat the icing’? She said, ‘no, I’ll say I did,” but I didn’t. No, she didn’t spank us, but she gave us a good talking to.

In May of that year, our house burned down, so my dad took us to stay at the Savoy Hotel, then rented a house on West Main Street. There used to be a swinging bridge on West Main Street over the Purgatory River. We used to have to cross the bridge every day on our way to Holy Trinity School. I was in the 3rd grade at the time; Sister Marietta was my teacher. I had gone to the first grade at Sister’s School. Sister Rose Ambrose was my teacher then. I remember when I made my First Holy Communion at Holy Trinity Church. We had such beautiful processions in those days. All of the girls would be dressed in white with beautiful veils, and the boys were dressed in navy blue suits. My mother had brought me a beautiful pair of white shoes. She had me try them on, they fit small, but I said they fit good. I guess I thought they wouldn’t come in a larger size. I remember how they hurt my feet. I attended 2nd grade at Columbian School, before we moved to West Main Street.

My sister Max and her husband, Felipe Sanchez and their two children came to live with us. Felipe was the boy that my parents had raised. He married my sister after the First World War ended. My sister Mary and her husband, Leo Gonzales were in their own place. My sister Josie was working at the ranch well, in January of 1925, my brother-in-law, Felipe Sanchez, was killed in an automobile accident. He was going to go to Aguilar to look for a job in the mine, so my sister “Max” his wife asked him if he would run an errand for her to the grocery store on East Main Street at the Felix Cordova store, where the Honda Shop is now. The streets were real icy, and on Main Street where the Sebastiani store was, the car skidded and hit a wagon load of hay and turned over. He was killed instantly of a broken neck. This was on January 24, 1925, just one year after my mother had passed away; so my sister and her children lived with us from then on. She was pregnant, when her husband died. On July 4, 1925, she had her third baby, Philip.

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