Biographies/People (85)

Thursday, 06 February 2014 23:03

THE WALL THAT HEALS

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Hermanos y Hermanas;

The Vietnam Veterans of America / Northern New Mexico Chapter has been asked to host "The Wall That Heals," It is a half scale replica of the Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C.  The "Wall" is coming to Santa Fe, New Mexico on March 24, 2014. The memorial will be available for viewing 24 hours a day, through March 24th at 6:00 a.m. at Fort Marcy Ball Park, located just North of the Old Taos Highway and will be open to the public with no charge for admission.  The "Wall" is scheduled to arrive in Santa Fe on March 18th, at approximately 1:00 p.m.  Welcoming Ceremony scheduled for March 20th at 11:00 am. and Honoring Ceremonies scheduled for March 23, at 11:00 am.  Other activities include: Taps at dusk, reading of the names on the wall, and a candlelight vigil.  The Key note speaker for the Honoring Ceremony will be Jan Scruggs, Founder and President of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. During the ceremony Mr. Scruggs will pay tribute to the New Mexico Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans 'CALL FOR PHOTOS' Project. They will be recognized for their success in collecting the photographs of the 398 New Mexicans whose names are inscribed on the Wall. Mr. Scruggs will also acknowledge that New Mexico was the first to collect all  the photographs of its Fallen Heroes. MAY THE GOOD LORD BLESS ALL OF THEM.

Friday, 27 December 2013 19:10

Our Tia Mercedes Trujillo of Centinela/Chimayo

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Mercedes Trujillo of Centinela near Chimayo was affectionately known as Tia Mercedes to those near and dear to her.  She was the sister to Jacobo Trujillo, master weaver and father of Centinela/Chimayo Historian Patricia Trujillo Oviedo and award-winning master weaver Irvin Trujillo of Centinela Traditional Arts, as well as a grand-Tia to LA IT Director, who created the beautiful Santuario photo we used as a Voces Christmas cardVictor Archuleta, all Voces members here.  
 
Mercedes' mother and my great-grandmother, Epimenia Ortega Jaramillo, were sisters.  Adored by the family, Mercedes was known to many of us as "Tia".  My mother was very close to her her whole life.  As a child, I would love to sit and just hear the two of them converse in Spanish.  I appreciated the preciousness of those special moments as they discussed their lives growing up in Chimayo--la gente de antes, como concinar la comida, y caminando de carro a Santa Fe*, all special memories to the two of them. I also enjoyed that, since she was many years older than my mom, it made my mom feel like the child in their shared memories long ago.  We visited her often in later years as my two sons were growing.  They had a gifted opportunity, in the long journey that was her life, to know her well--a life in that area of Norte New Mexico which is rapidly becoming extinct.   They will forever hold dear those memories spent with Tia. 
 
She never married and lived in the same house she was born and raised in all her life--a thick adobe farm house in Centinela, next to Chimayo, with a large property of apple orchards and fields of chile and corn she labored over.   Tia Mercedes is the story of that area and of that era.   
(In these two photos she is working near her family home as she did her entire life.)
 
In later years, Tia primarily used a few rooms of the big farm house.  You entered through her large kitchen, the room where people gathered to socialize in days gone by.   She always had a large pot of food cooking on the stove ready for the many visitors who stopped by to visit with her.  In later years, her bedroom, which also served as her "parlor," with bed covered with homemade colchas and small sofa and chairs, was where we sat and conversed only in Spanish, her primary language.  Those who visited her were close friends and family, some living nearby and others who had moved to far regions of the country, all wanting to just be in her presence--our humble yet powerful Tia, representing the journey and the story of our heritage.
 
Always neatly dressed in her long dress and apron, hair nicely twisted, Tia always wore her silver earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, ready to greet her visitors.  On her bedroom walls, she displayed dozens of framed family photos, including the annual family Christmas photo I would send her each year.  I once asked her how she arranged her wall with those photos.  There seemed to be some logical order.  She replied with a smile, "Bueno, aqui en esta pader, estan todos lo que todavia estan vivos; y en la otra pader, los que estan muertos." ("Well, here on this wall, are all who are still alive; and on the other wall, those who are deceased.")  Later, I would tease her upon visiting telling her I had come by to make sure my photo was on the right wall.
 
We visited her often, a must for us, during long summer and Christmas visits from California, where my two sons, Ben and Zachary, were growing up.  Now both living in NYC, amongst their most cherished childhood memories are visiting Tia Mercedes, visiting in her bedroom/parlor and transfixed in listening to her speak in Spanish de la gente de antes,  como concinar la comida, y caminando de carro a Santa Fe*, undying memories, woven into the tapestry of who she was.  At the end of our visit, they knelt before her one at a time, as she made the Sign of the Cross y en espanol gave them the bendicion, blessing them with good health and safe travels through life.  It has worked.
 
Tia passed a few years ago just short of her 100th birthday.  She would be humbled to know how adored she still is and, for those of her who got to know her intimately, that she will remain one of the most powerful relationships of our lives.  Bless you, Tia.  We miss you.  We need you.  But we know you are taking care of us from above.
 
Con amor,
Tu familia
 
*the people now gone, how to cook our food, and traveling by car to Santa Fe
Friday, 15 November 2013 03:16

OUR VETERANS

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For the last few days, my computer has been down and out, but all is alright now and we are friends again.

I want to congratulate all the Voces members who shared all the photographs of our Veterans with us; perhaps you may feel that you don't need to be thanked, however you have my sincere thanks for honoring this Brave and Honorable Veterans. I also want to say "muchas gracias con todo mi corazon" also to the Women who served Our Country in the military, including the 11,000 Women who served in Vietnam. The soldiers would say that the "best looking women in Vietnam was an Army Nurse"

God bless Army PFC Lori Piestwa, who was the first Native American Woman killed by enemy action. God Bless Capt. Christel A. Chavez, co-piolet of a MC-130H, transport aircraft. The aircraft crashed in Puerto Rico during poor weather, on a training mission. Capt. Chavez was a graduate of Albq. High School and the Air Force Academy class of 98. She was the daughter of Tom Chavez, Director of Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. May God Bless all of women warriors.

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