Friday, 12 May 2017 01:16

School Days in the 1970s - By Ellie Dendahl

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I heard it's Teacher Appreciation Week! This started me thinking (uh oh!) about all the GREAT teachers I had while growing up (mostly) in Santa Fe Public Schools. I can't remember them all but maybe some of my FB friends can help fill in the blank spots.

Kindergarten: Mrs. Wagoner - First Presbyterian Church
First: Maura Taub - Tesuque Elementary
Second: June Alarid - Tesuque Elementary
Third: Kathy Suttle - St. Agatha Catholic School, Columbus, OH
Fourth: Earnestine Vigil, Carole Pomonis, Mrs. Simpson - EJ Martinez
Fifth and Sixth: Janice Pfaff, Sandra Purrington, Gil Torres, Betty Graham, Gary Reynolds (Band teacher) - EJ Martinez.

Betty Graham was the first and last teacher to paddle me. I was a good kid at school. Unfortunately, she had a rule of no gum chewing in her classroom. If three students got caught in one class period chewing gum, they all got paddled. The day I got caught...SIX of us were chewing gum!! I think my friend Julie Kanters was one of the six as well...We each received one good swat from her with a large wooden paddle, all in the privacy of the Principal's office.

Some of the most memorable Jr. High and High School teachers I had include: Egle Germanas, Mary Cornish, Gary Myers, Joe Mier, Helen Foster, Bob Ertmer, Jane Zinn, Steve Dilg, Valeria Allen (awesome SFHS Librarian), Sophie Starnes, Kermit Hill, Mary Barnett, Eva Ortiz, Mr. Lynch, Joyce Montoya, Nancy Mike, Ed Tafoya, Ms. Joley, and Ben Rael.

Thanks for choosing such an honorable and selfless career and giving your time, love, and creativity to so many young minds and hearts!

After thinking about my teachers names...I started to recall some of my favorite "old school" memories, too:

A few of the teachers from Tesuque Elementary School stayed on one year and continued to teach their students - despite the school's doors being closed and locked due to budget constraints (sound familiar?). The local Tesuque church became our schoolhouse. I got to ring the bell once at the end of the school day. One of the teachers lifted me up to grab ahold of the bell's rope. I couldn't ring the bell on my own, but held on, like a little monkey, while this teacher pulled the rope with me clinging to it and bobbing up and down with each "clang" of the bell. During our stint at the church, we played in the cemetery during recess - but were only allowed to play in the grassy area where no headstones (and bodies) were resting. We took field trips to Shidoni, and also to the nearby arroyo to make candles made by pouring hot wax into holes in the sand that each of us designed. There was an occasional movie night held at the elementary school. Movies were projected onto a whitewashed wall on the south-facing exterior wall of the school gym.

Fifth and Sixth grade Math classes were one of my all-time favorite classes. They were self-paced with two long boxes filled with large sections of color-coded cards. We started at the beginning of the color section we "tested into" and worked our way through it to the end and then the beginning of a new color section. It was a great feeling to advance to a new color each time! I secretly idolized Lisa Ice, Christopher Vedeler and Jeff Miller because they were in the Orange and Green sections (advanced math) well ahead of everyone else.

All of our playground equipment was built from good old American steel...not plastic. It was built to last! I loved the monkey bars the most, next to kickball! We played kickball with a red Four-Square ball. Sometimes, when the pitch was just right I could kick the heck out of that ball and make it to second or third base.

Mr. Hill was our 8th grade History teacher at Capshaw. He was a rather quiet and serious fellow. We all respected and obeyed him. Occasionally, instead of sitting in a desk learning about history, he would hold class outside on the dusty football field. Those days, we didn't need a book...we just needed to lift our knees high and march like little ants around the football field until the bell rang for the next class period. He said it was good exercise for the mind. I've forgotten most of his lectures, but I will never forget one of the most valuable homework assignments: To research our family names. We had to come to class prepared to share which country our name originated, and the meaning or reason for our last name. I think I remember Ken Romig and Mikey Baker being in my History class.

8th grade was also the first time I kissed a boy. Well..on the lips, anyway. For some reason the power to the entire school was out for a week or two. The gym was dark and after school everybody who had a boyfriend or girlfriend would walk into the gym and give their sweetheart a big ole French-kiss goodbye. The teachers seemed to look the other way, but some would police the gym and break all the love-birds apart....we were all sorely disappointed when the power problem was repaired.

I have fond memories of many of the teachers that were my actual teachers, and a few who were just cool people to know. Last night was a great trip down memory lane of my SFPS years: Art, Music, Band, After- School sports, school assemblies, Science, Math, Sadie Hawkins, Social Studies, Recess, Current Events, book reports, slumber parties, field trips, cake walks, Homecoming, school festivals, scavenger hunts, science projects, fire drills, bake sales, making suckers to pay for a trip to Europe, Prom, people stimulating our curiosity and encouraging us to question... to explore, and to imagine!

I'm grateful for ALL the people in my life who have taught me how to be a better student, citizen and wiser human being.

Thanks to ALL the teachers of the past and those who are currently holding down a classroom full of students. You deserve a summer vacation!!

Friday, 28 April 2017 20:53

The Wedding at Three Cities of Spain

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In the 1960s, my favorite hangout and date place was a coffee shop on Canyon Road called The Three Cities of Spain.  It was owned by Bob Garrison and Dave Munn, and, lin addition to having a fine dining restaurant, they presented an ecletic mix of entertainment, the likes of which Santa Fe hasn't seen since they closed in the 1970s.  It was there that I first saw the movies of W.C. Fields, Busby Berkeley, Buster Keaton, and all of the great films of the 1930s and 1940s.  They also presented a steady stream of folk musicians like Ian and Sylvia, The Dillards, Spider John Koerner, Dave "Snaker" Ray, and Tony "Little Sun" Glover, Utah Phillips, and Ramblin' Jack Elliot.  An enormous Italian espresso machine dominated the east wall and they served various pastries, a world-famous cheesecake, and coffees.  The room was about 20 by 50 feet, held about 20 tables, and every seat was fantastic.  I never missed a show and got to know the musicians pretty well, as they played there more than once.  I was playing guitar and singing then and I learned quite a few songs by watching them.

This story is about the most memorable night I spent there.  It was New Years Eve, 1965, and the artists were a young folksinger from Portales named Gary (I forget his last name,) and Ramblin' Jack Elliot.  Although they had no liquor license, Bob and Dave turned a blind eye toward patrons bringing in their own liquor.  Even me and my date, although I was 20 and she was 18.  Jack played 2 sets that night and by 12:30 in the morning almost everyone had left.  Remaining were Dave and Bob, me and my date, Gary and his date, Jack, and a Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court.  We were all quite drunk and Gary kept kissing and cuddling his date.  We were teasing them that, since they felt so strongly about one another, they should get married.  Suddenly, Gary got down on one knee and proposed.  She accepted.  We discussed what to do next, when the Supreme Court Justice said that he would marry them right then and there.  I found a napkin and a pen, drew up a primitive wedding license, and had them sign it, with Jack and me as witnesses.  (Did I mention that we were drunk?)  Then, with Jack playing The Wedding March on his guitar, the Justice (who almost fell down several times during the ceremony) had them recite their vows and pronounced them man and wife.  Suddenly, Gary sobered up and asked if this whole thing was really legal.  He was quite worried.  The Justice assured him that it wasn't, but I've spent the last 50 years wondering.

--Mike Lord

Friday, 28 April 2017 16:25

El Vecino

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Friday, 14 April 2017 00:34

Holy Week - By Gloria Mendoza

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Remembering my Mom today and all our neighbors and relatives that lived in our neighborhood.

The week before Easter we went to confession. We would go shopping for our Easter outfits. We would spring clean the house. We went to church each day for Holy Week. On Holy Thursday we would all go with my Mom and Aunt to the Santuario. However starting early in the morning we would visit each church in Santa Fe, pray a rosary at each church and light a candle. We would then visit each church on the way to Chimayo. We would arrive late afternoon, visit the posito, get Holy dirt and holy water. When we got home we would cook some Lenten foods early for Good Friday because we needed to be done by noon time. On Friday morning we woke up early and started cooking immediately. We had to finish by 11:00 am. My mom would have a tray with small crystal clear bowls lined up. We would serve some of our food into the small bowls and then cover the whole tray with a tea towel embroidered by my Mom, starched and ironed. We would take a tray to all our Aunts and Uncles who lived in the neighborhood. Then we had to finish by noon time because all radios, music and disconnected phones were shut off for the Holy three hours. We would kneel in front of a nicho that our Santo Nino de Atocha sat with candles lit, rosaries, scapulars and other small tokens surrounding him. We prayed a rosary and other prayers led by my Mother and Grandma. My Grandma’s prayers were in Spanish. We could not talk or do anything for those three hours. After our three hours we continued to deliver trays of food and finally sit to eat our meatless Lenten Meal when Dad got home from work. I have continued this tradition for 50+ years.

Sunday, 02 April 2017 19:19

Northern New Mexico Folk Art

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I believe that folk art comes in many different mediums.  Paintings, carvings, sculptures, weavings and others.  Folk art also includes the written word.  A quintessential example of this is the book "Lo de Mora" written by Manuel Alcon.  Sr. Alcon, a native of Mora, educator and World War II veteran, meticulously compiled this book over a 40-year period of time.  The book is a very detailed history of Mora which is one of the most beautiful communities in northern New Mexico.  He was inspired by his father, Ben who kept a daily diary and encouraged him to attend college and his mother Rosaura who instilled in him the love of reading.  Sr. Alcon, well into his nineties, should be congratulated for his accomplishments.

The book had a limited print run and there are some copies still available.  If you are interested in purchasing a copy, you can email Sr. Alcon's granddaughter (and my friend), Allegra Pacheco at:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The price of a copy is $20 plus shipping costs.

Saturday, 01 April 2017 17:23

Underground Pit Cooking in New Mexico

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When I was growing up in Tesuque, every fall my father would host a party for all of his friends and their families.  He would cook a quarter beef underground.  This method of cooking in New Mexico was thought to originate with the pueblos and then passed on to the Spanish.  The method was quite simple. A large hole was dug and lined with rocks.  A large fire was built and allowed to burn down to coals.  Whn the coals were ready,they were removed,  the wrapped food was placed in the pit, the coals were put back into the pit, a cover was placed over the food, and the whole thing was buried.  After several hours, the pit was dug up and the food was served.

My dad used the same method, but the materials were updated.  His hole was lined with brick, and the cover he used was old roofing tin.  At 3:00 on the morning of the party, we would fill the pit with firewood and let it burn.  In the meantime, he prepared the beef.  He salted and peppered it and wrapped it in cheesecloth.  He wrapped several layers of wet burlap (which had been soaking overnight) around the meat and secured it with baling wire.  4 hours later, when the coals were ready, they were removed from the pit, the meat was placed on the bricks, and it was covered with the roofing tin.  The coals were shoveled on top of the tin and everything was buried with the dirt.  It took 8 - 10 hours to cook.

The photo is of my dad (right) and Herman Barkmann pit cooking at the Santa Fe Winter Sports Club in the 1960s.

--Mike Lord

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