Sandra in the 60's

Growing Up in Española


My life shakes out into decades pretty well! In 1960 I turned seven, and that's the year we moved to Española, New Mexico. We were on the way to Santa Fe, in a pickup with a tarp cover over a steel frame that made it look kind of like a cross between a covered wagon and a Grapes of Wrath deal. My dad had a teen/twentyish guy with us whose name I don't remember anymore. He rode in the back with the kids (me, Irene, and Nada Merrifield, our cousin who's my age). He was reading Casper comic books to us, but he would always say "Jasper" and we would laugh and say "It's CASper" and he would say, "I can't say 'Casper,' I can only say 'Jasper.'"

Santa Fe had no vacancies. We kept driving. Española had one motel with room, on the north side of town, the Ranchero Motel (which I just saw last week and it's still there, and still under that name). * Update 4/04: Building empty, still there, windows out. We lived there a couple of months.

I went to San Juan Elementary for one traumatic week. Then I transferred to Española Elementary. We moved to a rental house on McCurdy Road for a while, and then my parents bought an adobe house on 2.5 acres on Lower San Pedro road. We had apple trees and a horse named Kate. We had a dog named Awshoo and we had bicycles. It was great.



By the end of the '60's I had just about completed stints at Española Jr. High School and Española High. I graduated in 1970, a year ahead of my class.

But school wasn't QUITE everything. I went to church as much as possible—five times a week much of my early teen years, when I was in the adult choir AND youth choir, and GA (Girls' Auxiliary) and went to training union and Wednesday prayer meeting, and planned to be a missionary (there were three in our congregation being so designated and groomed—Martha Yordy, Tim Bryant and myself).

I was in Girl Scouts until there was no troop to be in. LaVois DeLay was our leader.

I was in 4-H and we would have made the state crops judging competition but we were too young for state, so we topped out at regional in Moriarty. We learned to arrange flowers from Sylvia Maestas.

I played clarinet in from 5th grade through Jr. High (thank you, Robert Felix), and was in all-state mixed chorus my last year of high school (thank you Sam Jamison). From an intro lesson from Ymelda Martinez and watching/hearing my mom for years, I learned to play guitar at fifteen.

Early in high school I was playing guitar and singing for the 11:00 folk mass at Santa Cruz church, missing Sunday morning Baptist services to help the Catholics (and some Catholic friends of mine) with folk mass. I was leaning toward traditional and Renaissance stuff instead of the then-current radical Catholic "folk" stuff ("Sons of God," and "Hear, O Lord...").

I had lots of bright, musical friends, many of whom I'm still in contact with either directly or through my sister, Irene.

By 1969 or so I was over the missionary urge (or at least didn't want to be a Baptist missionary—I did other sorts of proselytizing as life unfolded). Sometimes I still think lots about theology .

Growing up in Española was really great for me. I enjoyed it immensely.


Back to the "Pre-me" page ? 50's ? On to the 1970's or 1980's or 1990's or NOWADAYS ?