Photograph I took of Johnny’s Market
May of 2012 – Santa Fe, New Mexico
Photograph I took of some of my Garcia Cousins
September 2007 – Santa Fe, New Mexico
Grandma Corine’s Funeral
From left to right and top to bottom- Marcus, Andres,
Mark, Toby, Lawrence, Michael, Julian, Jessica,
Evangeline, Melanie, Audrey, Corine, Jeremy, Jamie,
Shaylina, Miranda, Elora, Jasmine, Jackie, Isaiah
(my nephew), Thomas (my brother), Phillip, Justin, and Chris.
From the late 80s to the early 90s, I spent a large amount of time in Santa Fe, even though I was from Pojoaque. We were in Santa Fe at my maternal grandmother’s house every weekend. My grandma Corine passed away in September of 2007. I spent many hours in and around her home playing with my cousins. There were so many of us. We were all so different, still we had so much fun together. I am excited to share some of the best stories of my childhood not only with my readership, but with my cousins. I am sure they will enjoy a stroll down memory lane just as much as I.
In May of this year I went to Johnny’s Park. I’m not even sure that this is the real name of the park since it is a city park, but that was what we all called the park when we were growing up. Even today, we all still refer to the park as Johnny’s Park. That is because the park is right next door to Johnny’s Market. The market is now closed, but the original building still stands. The day I took a picture of the market there were so many memories which flickered in my mind. I miss those days. That market played a key role in my childhood. All of the kids who were at my grandma’s house on the weekend would walk to the park to play (even though I tell my nephew today that it is not safe to do that). After we played at the park, we were all very tired.
There were always a few things that we scraped our change together to buy from the market after a long hard play. Of course you know we just had to have some of the novelty candy. One of our favorite candies to buy were sugar straws. We also bought fire balls, ring pops, lemons, pickles, and anything else that would eat our teeth! The other things we always wanted to have enough in the money pool for was a Wonder Rotisserie Chicken. We also needed a jar of mayo and some white tortillas to go with that. As a team we headed back to my grandma’s and ate up! I don’t remember seeing so many smiles. Believe it or not, today I still eat rotisserie chicken like it’s going out of style. A rotisserie chicken is healthy if you remove the skin and pair it with other good things. I like to make tacos (not fried shells- no oil), chicken salad (no mayo), chicken and brown rice, or chicken wraps (on wheat tortillas).
In June I looked at the photo I took of the market several times. I decided since I didn’t know much about the history of the place I wanted to look into it. When we were small all we knew was that Harold was always working there. I think we may have caused him to get a few gray hairs back then because there were a bunch of us. We all loved that market and the park. After looking into the history of Johnny’s Market, to my surprise I discovered the owner was a Lujan! What the? I have been a Lujan since birth (shhhsss DNAerz)! Maybe I was related to the owner in some way? I don’t think so, but maybe?
John P. Lujan in Memories of War
Santa Fe New Mexican
July 10, 2005
I located the obituary of John P. Lujan. He passed away in March of 2003. His obituary said that “John was the original owner of Johnny’s Market on Tesuque Drive. He owned and operated his business from 1945 until his retirement in 1975. The business remained open until 1993 operated by his daughter (Patricia) and son-in-law (Harold Romero).” On July 10, 2005, the Santa Fe New Mexican ran a piece titled Memories of War and that piece featured John P. Lujan. It turns out that he also served his country, so he must be buried in the Santa Fe National Cemetery. The 2005 article says that Lujan “grew up in Espanola,” and he “was stationed with the US Army in Kansas City during the war.” His daughter Patricia was quoted as saying that her father “was an adventurous man who liked to experience new things in life.”
I don’t think I ever had the chance to meet Johnny, but I do know that his market will forever be remembered by everyone in my family. Even my mother Gloria (or Irene back then) and her siblings were patrons of the market! This man who “liked to experience new things,” gave the Garcia clan some of our most memorable childhood experiences. I will forever remember him for that. There is really nothing like community markets— they are one thing missing from our corporate world.
Article on Johnny’s Market
Santa Fe New Mexican
December 8, 1992