Archive for the ‘Hidden History’ category

Watch “Meeting World Champion Angler Norman Maktima” on YouTube

September 29, 2019

Not sure why it took me over a year to post this? I guess it was time.

One day last year we decided we wanted to check out a new brewery named Tumbleroot. We happened to run into the infamous fly-fisherman of the Pecos River… Norman Maktima. After that, we made a pitstop at the Sante Fe Brewing Company.

Learn more about Norman Maktima here…

Just Grumpy Cat

May 12, 2019

Mike O’Hearn has apparently been training at Mandrill’s while he’s filming a movie here in New Mexico. The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre is being filmed somewhere around here. I thought it was proof I’m focused in the gym and stay on track when a 4x Mr. Universe can waltz in and I don’t even notice. Too funny.

How Do You Know When You’re Ready?

June 7, 2015
image

•••Luisita "Louise" Leers~ an infamous strong woman who was a German circus acrobat. She was born Luise Krokel in October of 1909 in Wiesbaden.•••

When you can plan a week of workouts without missing anything on the A-chain or the P-chain.

When you know which muscles are actually on the A-chain and the P-chain.

When you don’t have the layout of your local liquor store memorized.

When your recycling consists of PurePro cans and not Bud Light cans.

When having a hangover means you puke after deadlifts, not after a party.

When you are ready to move off the sweat less cardio onto the gym floor.

When you stop talking about going back to the gym and start committing to it.

When you care more about being mentally and physically strong and complain less about being weak.

When being average is no longer good enough and far from an option.

When you allow nobody… I mean nobody to hold you back.

An Interest in the Undead: An Interview with Author Ray John de Aragón

September 9, 2014

An Interview with Ray John de Aragon_Logo
Ray John de Aragón has been called “one of New Mexico’s prolific Hispanic authors” and a “master of both the English and Spanish languages making him one of the top bi-lingual authors producing today.” The Hispanic American author who was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico has a rare mix of artistic gifts. Not only is he a writer, but he is an “internationally recognized santero” and artist. This man with an intricately carved professional career also shares creative energy with his community as the District Arts Coordinator for the Los Lunas Schools. Aragón is an educated man who majored in American Studies and actively participates in scholarly and artistic events.

“I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I often thought about the idea that written words possess a great power. Words can make people think. They can make them laugh, and even make them cry. Written words have changed the course of history and have directed civilizations.”
~~~Ray John de Aragón

Ray John de Aragon and Doña Sebastiana

~Ray John de Aragón and Doña Sebastiana~

Aragón’s award-winning/bestselling book Padre Martinez and Bishop Lamy (2006) has been regularly reviewed for several years. The onset of reviews is said to have spurred the Hispanic writer into the national and even international spotlight. He has been featured on streaming media and has made several guest appearances on radio and television over the years. This includes being featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Telemundo and Univision. The same bestselling book is also used by students in courses at Harvard University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Notre Dame, Stanford University and the University of New Mexico.

I am always very honored when Ray John de Aragón asks me to write about him. It is great to be respected by such an accomplished writer who is known internationally by scholars, authors and artists alike. I had the pleasure of meeting Aragón in 2011. I met him not as an archivist, but as a writer. We met a little over three years ago at the National Hispanic Cultural Center during the 9th Annual National Latino Writers Conference. For that conference, Aragón was a presenter in addition to being a distinguished guest of honor. Visit these links to read more about when I met Aragón at that conference or to read about what I have already written about Aragón.

Since I have known this author, he has published four books. This is the third that I will write about. Between the late 1970s and 2014, Aragón has written a total of 10 books. In retroflex this includes: New Mexico Book of the Undead: Goblin & Ghoul Folklore (2014); Lincoln: Images of America (2013); Enchanted Legends and Lore of New Mexico: Witches, Ghosts & Spirits (2012); Hidden History of Spanish New Mexico (2012); The Legend of La Llorona (2006); Padre Martinez and Bishop Lamy (2006); The Penitentes of New Mexico (2006); Hermanos De LA Luz: Brothers of the Light (1998); Hermanos De La Luz: Living Tradition Of the Penitente Faith (1997); and City of Candy and Streets of Ice Cream (1979).

“The story I will always remember, of course, is the one of La Llorona. I grew up with it. I was told where she had lived, and where she had died. She is an alma que anda penando, a soul in search of peace. I can honestly say that I heard her one night. Her piercing cry was like the cry of a demented woman. One would have to hear it to believe it.”
~~~Ray John de Aragón

Aragón is married to Rosa Maria Calles. He and his wife are fixtures of Valencia County and are very well known in Los Lunas. Calles is originally from Tome, New Mexico and they have four children. Aragón found his creative and intelligent match in Rosa Maria Calles, who is “a renowned artist, playwright, director, and producer.” The couple is actively involved with the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts and in 2007, Aragón was recognized by the Valencia County News-Bulletin for winning “statewide attention for art programs” as the District Arts Coordinator of Los Lunas Schools. In late 2008, the Los Lunas museum featured Aragón’s work in the exhibit “Saints and Sacred Places.” His work was again featured in 2010 for the “Nuestras Raices: Our Roots” exhibit.

Ray John de Aragon and wife Rosa Maria Calles

~Ray John de Aragón and wife Rosa Maria Calles~

It is likely that Aragón’s “professional learning and growth” again sprouted in 2012 after a short hiatus from publishing books. After becoming a Santa Fe Leadership Center fellow and being acknowledged for The Art and Experience of Leadership, the author came back full force and has published 4 books since then. His latest book is New Mexico Book of the Undead: Goblin & Ghoul Folklore, which was just released with an awesome book jacket. Like me, it seems that Aragón tends to prefer the darker side of history. Our state is filled with black stories and complex mysteries. Like most New Mexicans, Aragón is intrigued by the tales of ghosts, witches and hauntings passed on to us by our grandparents. In this book, Ray John de Aragón “recounts stories from the state’s rich and spine-chilling cultural folklore.”

New Mexico Book of the Undead by Ray John de Aragon

“Folklore is a part of who we are. It is an integral part of our being. This was true thousands of years ago and it is true today. Even in this technological age, most everyone is still intrigued by stories of witches, phantasms, vampires, and the unexplained.”
~~~Ray John de Aragón

The author says that his newest book is filled with “New Mexico Hispanic folklore” which is “full of terrifying creatures that traverse the dark shadows of the night.” Aragón says “these otherworldly beings appear when one least expects it. They are there, waiting in the darkness to strike in places we should not be at, or at times of the night that we should not be out.” His book “captures these forbidding spirits and tells their stories” that were passed down from generation to generation. One story which will be recounted is that of “Bloody Mary.” It will be her first appearance in a book published about New Mexico folklore. He says that some of the stories “are as old as the Spanish colonization of New Mexico,” and span our 400 year history here.

If you want to meet an author who believes in ghosts and says “seeing is believing,” you can pick up his newest book just in time for Halloween!! Aragon currently has three book signings scheduled for October. The first is on October 11, 2014 at 2:00pm at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Salón Ortega. The second will be on October 18, 2014 at 2:00pm at the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts. The third will be on October 30, 2014 at 7:00pm at Bookworks in Albuquerque. You can also order New Mexico Book of the Undead: Goblin & Ghoul Folklore online by visiting the History Press web site.

Revealing the Spirit of Stone: An Interview with Steve Ray Maes

January 13, 2014

image
~Digital composite by Felicia~

Steve Ray Maes is a native Santa Fean. He was born in the oldest capital city in the late 60s. Maes is a well-rounded, multi-media artist, but he has focused his creative energy on sculpting stone. His sculptures accentuate his love of nature, his love of wings, and his appreciation of culture. He hand selects each stone knowing that he will be moved to create an intricate piece once the stone speaks to him.

image
~Digital composite by Felicia~

Maes draws inspiration from his Aztec ancestors on his paternal line, while nurturing some of the artistic qualities he learned from his maternal grandfather. He started working with clay when he was just 5 years old, molding small animal figures. He also painted and sketched as a child. By the age of 13, Maes started sculpting stone. He spent countless hours watching the art students of the Santa Fe Indian School sculpt and became captivated by stone work.

Following his heart, Maes became a sculptor apprentice. He has worked for several famous artists such as Presley LaFountain, Bruce LaFountain, Doug Hyde, Van Penquin, and George Rivera, Governor of Pojoaque Pueblo. Along the way, Maes learned skill and technique from these master sculptors. From this time, he knew he was meant to be an artist, but his devotion to the arts was confirmed on a 2010 trip to Italy and Paris. Maes came away from that trip feeling connected, inspired and invigorated by the Baroque style of sculptures of Bernini, and works of the Renaissance period greats like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

image
~Digital composite by Felicia~

To date, the most sophisticated piece Maes has sculpted is titled ”Purple Butterfly.” The marble butterfly was created with stone inlay designs on the wings, which required extreme precision and attention to detail. Maes is proud of the level of skill necessary to sculpt such an elaborate piece. With the right music, a sturdy table and good lighting, he becomes lost in the creative process. A combination of skill, setting, and inspiration gave wings to this butterfly with perfectly carved facial features bringing her to life.

image
~Digital composite by Felicia~

The work of Steve Ray Maes has been featured in galleries in Sedona and Florida. His works are often custom works for private individuals. In his spare time, Maes enjoys teaching others how to sculpt and has delivered instruction to Gene Hackman. His work is unique and he takes pride in being a local artist. From childhood into adulthood, this native New Mexican has delivered energy to clay and stone with his mind and hands.

A Life Filled with Words

July 31, 2013

In August of last year one of my close friends in school emailed me. It was Becky’s 20 years class reunion and she thought about me there. Over the years there have been a few friends who have remembered my love of writing. I always appreciate those who take the time to remember. I have been writing since I was just a little girl.

I have always been over analytical, contemplative and poetic. I am a writer. Am I a good writer? Well~ I must leave that up to my audience to decide! When my friend Becky emailed me in August of 2012 she said “this weekend was our 20 year class reunion! Yearbooks and school newspapers came out! Of course your beautiful poetry was in there so here it is………. You’ve always had a way with words!”

I love to be remembered for having a way with words. Below are images she sent to me. It was amazing to see what I wrote so many years ago. I was writing for the Elk’s Call Newspaper back then. It was a student newspaper at Pojoaque High School. I really enjoyed layout and design. I am indeed a knowledge eater with a huge brain and a deep appreciation for the written word.

Poem by Felicia Lujan_1990s

~From Opposite Ends~
a poem by Felicia Lujan in the 1990s

Article by Felicia Lujan_1990s

~Do Teens Have the Narcissus Syndrome~
an article by Felicia Lujan in the 1990s

The intellect beneath the image

July 30, 2013

Loved this post!!! She was also a poet!!!
—-Felicia

Books Are Better

Marilyn Monroe was known for her beauty and glamour, but what many observers fail to note about her is that she was an avid reader and a student of literature. Among the thousands of photos that were taken of her, many dozens portray her reading books in various settings and poses — a window into the intellect that lay beneath the image.

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Digitizing My History

June 13, 2013
«~• 2004 letter from the Center for Home Movies in Los Angeles, California •~»

«~• 2004 letter from the Center for Home Movies in Los Angeles, California •~»

I finally took the time to have several Super 8mm reels of home movies professionally digitized. This is a family history project that has been weighing heavily on my mind because I knew I needed to do something to preserve the precious footage.

The reels were shot by my mom and dad in the 1970s and 1980s. I was so happy when they were given to me by my dad with a dual 8mm projector. I think my mom still has the camera used to shoot the footage. I have seen some of the movies. They are so amazing. There is nothing like seeing images of my family from so long ago. Much of the digitized footage will be imagery I have never seen before, which is extremely exciting!

In 2004, three reels of the home movies belonging to my family were preserved as part of the Home Movie DVD Project. The films were shipped to the Academy Film Archive for digitization and copies are now part of the Center for Home Movies in Los Angeles, California. That is actually the footage I have seen.

A while back I digitized a little clip of me and the twins (my brother and sister). We were apparently pretending to be cowgirls and a cowboy. Our trio was parading around in hats, stick horses, and boots. My sis was doin’ a little cowgirl stomp. It was really cute! I put that one up on the My Voyage Through Time YouTube portal.

Last week I bought a 16GB thumb drive to ship to Albuquerque. I mailed the drive today. The digitized films will live on that for a while and I will make other copies to preserve. The excitement is killing me. I can’t wait to see what’s on there!? I only wish they had sound. Once I receive the footage back, the next step will be to give everyone in my family a copy. I’m sure my new family history project will be appreciated by all!

Spirit, Heart and Mind: An Interview with Miguél A. Tórrez

April 15, 2013

Aristotle once said “if you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.” I believe that the great Greek philosopher intentionally excluded “its end” when he said this. History has no end, therefore, there are constant developments. This quote could not ring more truthful for a lover of family history. There is something about knowing where we came from that makes us feel complete. When it comes to the art of research, there is a genealogist who grew up in Ranchitos that is making major contributions to our history. This man has a passion for traditional and scientific research, which makes him a well-rounded historian.

I have known Miguél Tórrez for many years. The first time I met him he was feverishly working on his genealogy with his small boys by his side. He has been interested in history since he was just a boy, but in his early 20s he was seemingly smitten by the history of those who came before him. This was just a few years after Miguél graduated from Española Valley High School. Growing up in Ranchitos, New Mexico, Miguél was near the historic Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan Pueblo). At that time he couldn’t imagine that several years later his maternal line would be genetically connected to this type of ancestry. He says “current data tells us that approximately 80-85% of all New Mexicans with colonial roots have Native American roots on their maternal lineage (mtDNA).”

The final week I collected photographs from Miguél for his feature piece he was preparing for Holy Week. His spiritual devotion bears the deep roots of tradition. As a genealogist, learning about traditions and even practicing tradition will foster a clear understanding of what shaped our people. Miguél believes that “knowing oneself through culture and language fosters a sense of pride” and this belief is evident when you hear him lecture. I asked him why he felt that our traditions were important and he said “no matter what culture a person belongs to everyone’s culture is important because it gives people an identity.”

Santo_Niño_in_Espinosa_Colorado_by_DeSautel

~~Santo Niño in Espinosa, Colorado by DeSautel~~

By now I’m sure that Miguél has a family tree which extends further than I can imagine. He has done so much work and he is always willing to help others in need, which is admirable. Many people who don’t understand the breadth of family history are unaware of the vast collection of surnames they can be connected to. Miguél says that “just two generations back we can see our extended relations.” Between his grandparents and great grandparents he can claim the Torres, Romero, Madrid, Roybal, Rodriguez, Martinez, Medina and Trujillo surnames. He is proud to have discovered that some of his relatives were involved in very important historical events such as the Apache Campaigns and the Rio Arriba rebellion of 1837.

Miguél has tracked military service on his paternal (Torres) line back to Cristoabl de Torres who was born in 1641. He seems to appreciate the fact that a grandfather named Juan “loved to tell stories about his grandparents and all of his relatives.” This grandfather was born in 1915 and had extended family from Chimayó to Cordova, New Mexico. “As a child I was given a visual of life in the 1920s with his stories of travels he and his father would take on horseback and wagon to communities such as Mora where they would travel to sell their produce,” he said. Though his grandfather practiced oral history, Miguél has now harnessed the power of documentary evidence and genetic studies.

3 generations of Torres

~~Three Generations of Torres Y-DNA~~

Miguél is currently in charge of about 100 paternal lineage (Y-DNA) kits. He collaborates regularly Angel Cervantes, the New Mexico DNA Project Coordinator/Group Administrator. This DNA project includes “the colonial expeditions of New Mexico by the Spanish in 1598 and 1693, by the Mexicans in 1821, and by the Americans in 1848.” This weekend Miguél will make a presentation titled “The Espinosa DNA Quest.” On Saturday (April 20, 2013) he will deliver a lecture at the Albuquerque Main Library (501 Copper SW~ Albuquerque, New Mexico) on the discovery of the Y-DNA genetic code of the Nicolás de Espinosa lineage (which includes 18th century branches of that clan). The presentation will run from 10:30~12:00 and is sure to be captivating.

When I asked Miguél what he wanted people to remember about him 200 years from now he said “I hope that the work I am doing will produce results that are worthy of scholarly articles and will serve as a worthy reference thus having historical relevance. As a young man I hope that I will have many successful years in doing so and that many generations will remember my name as having been a valid contributor to the preservation of New Mexican history and culture.” I guess as lovers of history we couldn’t ask for more than that right? Here is to one amazing man making a positive contribution to our communities and to the future through history.

Thrills, Magic, Health, Faith and Riches: In Pursuit of Treasure

April 10, 2013

In Pursuit of Treasure by Felicia Lujan
If I had to create a definition for the word treasure, it would not be traditional. In my eyes treasure can be many things. I don’t believe that precious metals and gems are the only physical things which possess value. For example, an archaeologist would consider old bones to be a treasure, and a historian would find wealth in certain records. An entomologist would treasure the discovery of a new insect, while a lover of code may prize a new script.

Within the last couple of years, a book by the Santa Fe author Forrest Fenn has been sought-after by treasure hunters. Thrill of the Chase: A Memoir is a book Fenn has used to drive people into a maddened search for a treasure chest the author has hidden. On March 9, 2013, a 34 year old woman from Texas was found after she got lost in Bandalier National Monument while searching for the treasure. This month, officials with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish threatened to file charges against a man they found digging under a descanso (roadside memorial or grave marker) for the treasure. What are these people thinking?

Web sites across the world proclaim the words “somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe, a magnificent treasure box is hidden. Will you find the treasure? Join the chase!” The book is only being carried by one bookstore here in Santa Fe. The delirium led me to consider the human fascination with treasure, so I decided to peer into a small part of this history.

Dictionary of Folklore Mythology and Legend

~Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary
of Folklore Mythology and Legend (©1949)~

Why are humans so fascinated with the hunt for treasures? Aside from the fact that many people are extremely broke right now, what drives them to partake in the hunt? According to the Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore Mythology and Legend (©1949), “gold has been consistently the most highly prized of metals thorough the ages…” The book says that “gold was so highly valued, it early became associated with religion. It was used to make idols, as tribute, and as offerings to the Gods.” This means that the symbolism of gold has been ingrained into humans since it was first discovered. Not only has the warm colored metal been associated with the heavens, but the Chinese “believed gold leaf” was “the most perfect form of matter; an unguent containing it was the most powerful remedy of Chinese medicine as it gave renewed life to the human body.”

I have discovered that gold was “a potent curative force” in “early medical practice,” and that it was associated with the Gods. I believe that the value of this metal is inherent in our collective memory for at least two good reasons. I found some interesting articles and books which explore lost treasures. I thought it would be great to share these stories which begin in 1902 and end in 1963. These stories shed light on the quest for treasure and the hunters who obsess about the hunt. The Dictionary of Folklore Mythology and Legend also describes hunters who “go into a trance” while being under the spell of “hunting magic.” A search for gold could not both invite and “repel” madness~ could it? For as long as many people can remember, there have been oral stories of: money walled up in houses; gold being buried in mountains; and unknown treasures which are not considered “lost.”

The Santa Fe New Mexican ran an article on July 24, 1902 in the “Special Correspondence” section of the paper. In this article, it was reported that there was “supposed hidden Spanish Treasure” in Grant County. The special report said that the treasure was hidden in an “old cave near San Lorenzo.” Apparently over the years many people tried to locate the Spanish treasure. I had to laugh out loud in the silent library when I read that the “treasure-seakers” had found many skeletons, but not any treasure. I guess if you were talking to a person interested in straight forward wealth, bones would just be worthless? On the other hand, an archaeologist would find much wealth in that type of finding.

Wealth Hidden by Baker

~Article printed in the Roswell Daily Record
on August 3, 1922~

On August 3, 1922, in Racine, Wisconsin it was was reported that the “lure of hidden treasure” surrounded “an old building on one of the principal streets.” The Roswell Daily Record issued a news release titled “Wealth Hidden by Baker During the War Be Sought by K. of C.” This was a very interesting story. It was reported that a “miser’s hoard of gold” was “buried there, according to pioneers.” It was apparently a “mystery, more than half a century old” that members of the Knights of Columbus wanted to solve. The article seemed to speculate that a German baker starved his wife to become rich. The reporter described her as a “gaunt, silent woman.” During the Civil War, the baker feared “the loss of wealth” so he “withdrew his savings, cashed all his securities and bonds and under cover of darkness buried the treasure somewhere within his house.” The poor starved wife wasn’t even told where the treasure was buried. The baker figured that if she was captured, she would be tortured to reveal the secret location. After the baker died, the wife searched for the loot to no avail.

In the book Hidden Treasure in the Wild West by Oren Arnold (©1966), the author wrote about “Pancho Villa’s Mountain Bank.” Here was one case amongst many cases of hidden treasure being buried in a mountain scape. “The poor people of Mexico considered” Pancho Villa a hero. According to the book, Villa had told his friends “I have some money hidden away in a secret mountain bank.” The hero assured the people by telling them “when it is needed for our experimental work here, I will go get it. Perhaps we can build a testing laboratory with it and hire good scientists. I will look into the matter soon.” What a nice thought! Unfortunately Villa was killed on July 20, 1923. Arnold’s book says that “when he had driven his automobile to a nearby town, old enemies ambushed him.” Before he could reveal the location of his mountain bank, “the harsh staccato bark of machine guns sounded, and Pancho Villa, the great liberator, fell across the steering wheel, dead.”

“Writing in a geological bulletin published by the New Mexico Bureau of Mines in 1935, K.C. Dunham told” the story of Padre LaRue’s mine. In Mines of the Old Southwest by Jack D. Rittenhouse and Rex Arrowsmith (©1963), I located information on the “Organ Mountain Silver Mines.” Arrowsmith was a geologist and gave a particular professional flavor to his account of the mines. The report said that LaRue was “stationed at a hacienda in Chihuahua (Mexico)” and that the priest “was told by a dying friend of placers and a fabulously rich gold-bearing lode in the mountains two days’ journey north of Paso del Norte.” LaRue migrated north with others to the Organ Mountains so that he could find the gold. According to the report, they located the gold, and then buried it at the request of Padre LaRue. The priest was located by the Church in the City of Mexico and he was later “murdered” by a soldier for not divulging the location of the treasure. In case number three, the secret location followed LaRue to his grave.

Treasure Land Map_Campa Book

~Treasure Land map in Arthur L. Campa’s book
Treasure of the Sangre de Cristos: Tales and
Traditions of the Spanish Southwest (©1963)~

The only thing I found in common with the small amount of stories I looked at for this research was the fact that all the men died without telling anyone where the treasure was buried. It is possible that all of these stories were simply not true. It is possible that there was never any treasure at all. Though I guess I could say that as an archivist, I do tend to value stories as a type of treasure. I do find a sort of wealth in that! The author who really put this into perspective for me was Arthur L. Campa. In his book Treasure of the Sangre de Cristos: Tales and Traditions of the Spanish Southwest (©1963), Campa published a “Treasure Land” map which focuses on New Mexico treasures. The map shows places from the north to the south (Taos, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Cuba, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Sandia Peak, Albuquerque, Tome, Magdalena Mountains, Santa Rita, Mesilla, and the Organ Mountains among others). I was particularly intrigued with Chapter 11~ “Natural Phenomena and the Growth of Legends.”

It is more than safe to conclude that the value of treasure is inherent in our collective memory for several reasons. Campa said that “legends are an interesting product of folk society, the origin of which dates back to pre~Christian days, to Greece, Babylon, and the valley of the Nile. They are so deeply imbedded in the cultural texture of the folk thinking that today, as in the days of the Greeks, even geological formations assume anthropomorphic shapes and are indued with the attributes of folk heroes.” Contemplating the forces which drive humans to insanity can be a good way to peer into the mind. Where are are these behaviors and beliefs rooted?

The treasure Forrest Fenn says he buried may or may not exist. We may never know. Maybe Fenn will take the secret to his grave like so many did before him? Then again “a simple story may be gradually embellished with whatever attributes are important to folk, and with whatever concepts are current and acceptable at the time when it begins.” According to Campa, “very often the actual fact or historical account that gives rise to a particular legend may be totally forgotten, lost, or modified to such an extent that only the legend growing from the original happening survives.”

A Lady, A Hero and Hooks

March 5, 2013

A Lady, A Hero and Hooks Logo by Felicia Lujan


Today I took the day off from the gym because I had a few errands to run. When I was leaving work two people caught my eye in the lobby. There sat a gentleman and a young lady caught up in their own creative world. I was immediately intrigued by the duo and wondered what they were up to? I decide to approach them on my way out so that I could ask. My first question was “are you making jewelry?” As it turned out, they were “tying flies” to snag Pike in Pilar, New Mexico. I told them “my brother is a fisherman and he would love you!” Hum? They had set up shop in the lobby of my building and they were working away.

While I ran one of a few scheduled errands I couldn’t help but think about these two people. Who were they? Why were they tying flies? Were they grandpa and grandchild? What was their story? I know I love history more than running errands, and by this point I can probably add more than coffee because I made a mad dash back to work. In a split second I had decided that I wanted to know more. I approached the busy workers with a smile while asking many questions. It is always so refreshing to meet new people who want to share their stories. In a short amount of time I had learned all about these people. I also set up a phone interview with the gentleman for this evening.

~Dr. Dinwiddie and Jamie Groves Working~ Photograph by Felicia Lujan_3.5.2013

~Dr. Dinwiddie and Jamie Groves Working~
Photograph by Felicia Lujan_3.5.2013

Since the first of the month I had been contemplating which woman I wanted to research and write about in honor of National Women’s History Month (2013). The more I thought about that particular young lady, the more I realized I should focus on a woman who is currently making history. I was so amazed that a 24 year old woman was so mature, caring, creative, and patriotic. This special woman and her hero/mentor/grandfather figure had a worthy story to tell. This month is indeed Women’s History Month and the Library of Congress is featuring an exhibit titled The Women of Four Wars. Ms. Jamie Groves and Dr. Stu Dinwiddie are honoring our wounded warriors in a very special and unique way which is right in line with that exhibit.

Jamie Groves and Dr. Dinwiddie are not related. These individuals just work together to help disabled veterans, still Jamie thinks that Stu is “the granddaughter that he never had.” For the last six months, they have been tying flies and giving them to Albuquerque veterans as part of Project Healing Waters. The mission of that organization is dedicated “to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active duty personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings.” It is such an awesome project that I was so honored to learn about. Dr. Dinwiddie is also a disabled veteran who now uses his time to help others along with his youthful partner. He has become Jamie’s mentor by teaching her to fly fish. Dr. Dinwiddie said that he was taught how to fly fish at 14 years old and that he learned from the son of Aldo Leopold!

~Jamie Groves Tying a Pike Fly~ Photograph by Felicia Lujan_3.5.2013

~Jamie Groves Tying a Pike Fly~
Photograph by Felicia Lujan_3.5.2013

~A Jamie Groves Handcrafted Pike Fly~ Photograph by Felicia Lujan_3.5.2013

~A Jamie Groves Handcrafted Pike Fly~
Photograph by Felicia Lujan_3.5.2013

Jamie truly is a rare woman. At 24 years old she is contributing to the well being of those who made a difference in New Mexico history by protecting our freedom. She is passionate about what she does and insisted I didn’t take her picture until she “was working” and showing me the Evergreen Hand. The Evergreen Hand is a special tool invented and developed by Jesse Scott to assist disabled veteran fishermen. I was astonished to learn that Jamie will be teaching wounded warriors who have lost a hand or arm how to tie a fly with one hand. After watching them for a while, I don’t think I could tie one with two! This wonderful woman told me proudly that she sits on one hand to practice. This is how she knows that she can teach others. Dr. Dinwiddie told me that Jamie was touched on a recent visit with wounded women. Her participation in this project makes a world of a difference in a male dominated sport/hobby.

I am always so intrigued by the hidden history of our community. These two people are involved in a project so worthy of a mention. I was honored to take the time to learn so much. I learned about a lady and a hero making a difference in the lives of our wounded warriors one hook at a time.


Custom Crafted Rods by Stu Dinwiddie

Phone: 505.470.3673

Email: rsdinwiddie@plateautel.net

Contemporary Traditionalist: An Interview with Andrés Armijo

February 16, 2013

The Contemporary Traditionalist by Felicia Lujan
In a modern world filled with instant gratification, busyness, and over stimulation, it is easy for us to become lost in all of the bells and whistles. On February 8, I had the chance to sit down with one man who is on a mission to forget the bells and preserve tradition in creative ways. A deep love of his origins drives Andrés Armijo to travel the world and New Mexico in search of stories. Andrés has been an intrinsic part of the University of New Mexico for over 20 years. In 2010, an interview with Andrés was uploaded to YouTube by UNM Live. The man with an affinity for education discusses the “dynamic tension between past and future” as evidence of that passion can be seen strewn about the walls of his office.

When the Albuquerque native with roots in Valencia County speaks of his childhood it becomes clear that he was destined to be fascinated by history. He tells a story of being captured by a photographer in 1974 while he was looking into an incubator at a local science fair. There was a distant light of a fresh memory while he remembered that day. Andrés describes himself as an ever curious child. The photograph he told me about was published in the Valencia County News Bulletin, and that childhood curiosity may have engaged Andrés in ways which forever changed him. That spark for didactic is evident as he feels that his greatest contribution to UNM has been the “satisfaction of knowing” that he was “able to encourage and support students in education, creativity, arts, language and culture.”

Andrés Armijo in Embudo, Tecolote, and Jarales, New Mexico (2006-2012)

Andrés Armijo in Embudo, Tecolote,
and Jarales, New Mexico (2006-2012)

On the day of our interview, Andrés was in Santa Fe to recruit students from Capital High School for a special program with UNM. The Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media Program (IFDM) is intended to “integrate filmmaking and digital media, build a native New Mexican Hollywood, train the citizens of New Mexico, and foster research.” From the outside, Andrés seems like a perfect fit for the contemporary program with a mission to enlighten natives of his state. It is a modern program with a particular place for a man who refers to himself as a “traditionalist.” In his time at UNM, Andrés has had several official titles. Among those titles are Senior Academic Advisor, Senior Program Manager, Lecturer, Director, Academic Advisement Specialist, and Program Coordinator.

Andrés has indeed gone through many titles while at UNM. Of all those official titles, the one Andrés may have the most pride in may be the more personal title of Family Historian. He recalls being bitten by the genealogy bug as he questioned his mother about a 1919 photograph. The photo was of his grandmother and grandfather. Andrés asked his mother why his “grandmother wasn’t smiling” and “was standing” while his “grandfather was seated.” He was only a boy at that time, but has turned into a man who lectures others on the care of their family memories. On March 16, 2013 at 10:30am, Andrés will present Historical Family Images and Artifacts in the Albuquerque Main Library Community Room. The presentation promises “a creative approach to visualizing and narrating” family history and genealogy.

Andrés Armijo and Flamenco Dance

Andrés Armijo and Flamenco Dance
with Maria Benitez Club (1996-2002)

In 2010, Andrés published Becoming a Part of My History: Through Images & Stories of My Ancestors. A UNM professor called the book “a perfect model for anyone interested in knowing about themselves and their world through research into genealogy and photographic collections.” It was intended to be “a personal journey into the author’s past, but it is also a fascinating account of family life in New Mexico, neighborhoods in Albuquerque, the rites and rituals of Hispanos, how a family through the ages pictured itself, and how all this information and reflection enlightens the author.” Energized by the exploration of his roots, Andrés has a new book which is set for release by LPD Press/Río Grande Books later this year. The book is titled Por Constancia/So that it may be validated: Family History in the Río Abajo. The book will have research on the Candelaria, Bernal, Gallegos, Barreras, and Nuanes families amongst others.

Andrés Armijo in Paris (2010)

Andrés Armijo in Paris (2010)

When asked what he wants people to remember about him 200 years from now, Andrés seemed surprised. As an archivist it is second nature for me to contemplate the hidden history each of us unknowingly leaves behind. How will we be remembered? Several centuries from now our relatives will be looking for us. Before we are gone maybe we should leave more than a census record or a property deed? Take the time today and write down intimate thoughts about yourself. What is you favorite food? What color do you like? What are your favorite memories? Maybe if we save these notes, future generations can learn that much more about the people they came from? In any case, Andrés wants to capture the fact that he is “passionate and considerate.” He also wants to be be remembered as a man who was “intrigued and curious about his past and the world around him.” He said “I hope that will be reflected in my work.”

For more on Andrés Armijo you can visit: http://highnoonarmijo.blogspot.com/

Inner Strength: Fit for Life

January 26, 2013

Inner Strength

~~Barbara Massey~~

~~Barbara Massey~~
Bodybuilding Competition in her mid 40s.

It isn’t everyday that I get a chance to interview someone while I am in the gym. With a short amount of time and so much to do it is difficult if not impossible to even speak! I almost always opt to deliver a quick wave “hi” to those I know while my headphones blast into my ears. One day last week I took the time to have an interview with Barbara Massey. She mentioned that she had recently won an award, so I thought she should be acknowledged for that. While we huffed and puffed on the treadmill, I tapped into the hidden history of this inspiring woman.

For over a decade I have know Barbara. Honestly, since I do very little talking at the gym I have never had a good chance to get to know her on a more personal level. I have been using my web site to feature people who I feel have an interesting story to tell. This is a great way to bring personal stories to a collective audience in a unique way. While I was a journalist, this was always the kind of writing I enjoyed most. This gives me a chance to learn, while honoring the accomplishments of those who deserve to be recognized. And so begins the story of Barbara Massey who recently received a part-time staff Excellence Award from the Santa Fe Community College.

~~Barbara Massey~~

~~Barbara Massey~~
Bodybuilding Competition in her mid 40s.

Barbara is a personal trainer here in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I see her almost everyday as she attempts to whip men and woman into shape. I think that her awesome personality has made her a good fit for many of her clients. She is easy going, but teaches her clients about strict form and proper nutrition. It is no surprise that this former California surfer girl also ran track, pushed through marathons, studied dance, and fought real fires. The epitome of inner strength and fitness, Barb competed in her first body building competition when she was in her mid 40s. She was almost a decade older than I am at that time and so it is short of amazing that she was in such beautiful shape.

The first personal memories I have of Barbara are tied to Body Pump. Several years ago a group of Santa Feans decided to take classes to become certified Body Pump trainers. I guess we had a wild hair! The weight-based program has a focus on group fitness. The program is sponsored by Les Mills International, but was created by Phillip Mills in 1991. The classes are 60 minutes long and work eight muscle groups while listening to predetermined music tracks. The classes were instructed using free weights and barbells, so Barbara was a natural fit. I don’t believe that Body Pump had anything on her American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certificate, and her American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certificate.

~~Barbara Massey~~

~~Barbara Massey~~
Mandrills Gym, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Excellence Awards are given to people who are excellent for a reason. Barbara Massey is genuine a model of inner strength and fitness. For a woman in her 60s she is a cut above the rest. Not only does she strive to enhance the lives of her clients, but she also makes every effort to improve herself. All of these things make Barbara a special woman who is worthy of our recognition.

Ray John’s Historical Gem

October 15, 2012
Hidden History of Spanish New Mexico by Ray John de Aragon

Hidden History of Spanish New Mexico by Ray John de Aragon

Autograph of Ray John de Aragon

Autograph of Ray John de Aragon

In the first week of October I received Ray John de Aragon’s newest book in the mail. “Hidden History of Spanish New Mexico” is sure to be a gem. At first glance, the content list is all inclusive. The book has a beautiful jacket and contains a wealth of valuable stories. Some titles on his content list include: The Different Faces of the Iberian Peninsula; Reconquista; Aztecs; Chief Joseph; and the Bataan Death March.

I found it curiously coincidental that one of his historical nuggets was titled “The Black Plague,” because today I did refer to myself as “The Black Death” (well to some anyhow– haha—). Ray likely knew that the first section I would turn to would start on page 98. I did read “Curanderas” first. Curanderas are natural healers who also draw on the power of prayer to help the sick and cursed. On page 100, I found a small handwritten note from Ray which read “my great grandmother Dona Catalina who delivered me…” Apparently Dona Catalina Mondragon de Valdez was a noted healer in her day. This woman is also a likely place where Ray and I intersect on a genealogical level as I have both the Mondragon and Valdez surnames on my maternal line in Mora, New Mexico.

Other interesting images include: a penitente and his family in Las Vegas, New Mexico (ca 1879); Margarito Romero and his family in El Porvenir. The Romero family owned the Romero Mercantile Company in Las Vegas; artwork by Ray’s talented wife- Rosa Maria Calles; religious icons and imagery; and an image of Colonel Manuel Antonio Chavez “El Leoncito.”

Ray best describes his new book in the last paragraph of his introduction when he says “many roots created the one tree we call Hispanic, with branches that spread throughout the world. Understanding these roots and branches, and having a deeper insight into Hispanos in New Mexico and their place in a history that is mostly concealed, is what this book is about.” This book will definitely shine on as a gem for centuries to come.

Ray's Great Grandmother was Dona Catalina Mondragon de Valdez a Curandera from the Mora Valley-pg100

Ray’s Great Grandmother was Dona Catalina Mondragon de Valdez a Curandera from the Mora Valley-pg100

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Marilyn Monroe Will Visit with Writers in Santa Fe

August 28, 2012
Post cards for the 2012 Tony Hillerman Writers Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Post cards for the 2012 Tony Hillerman Writers Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico

I am so happy and so honored to receive an official request to be a part of the 2012 Tony Hillerman Writers Conference team! This will be my second year. Last week Jean Schaumberg paid me a visit and dropped off some conference post cards. She told me that she and Anne Hillerman would like to have me back this year. Jean asked me which days I would be willing to work? Well— of course my answer was **everyday!!

This year, the conference will run from November 8 thru November 10. It is such a magical event filled with books, pens and paper, computers, connections, and great minds! The conference inspires me to push forward with my unique ways of expressing myself both in writing and orally. This particular conference has been bringing upcoming and successful writers/authors together since 2004. Jean (also of the School for Advanced Research) and Anne (Tony’s daughter and a former New Mexico journalist) are the women behind WordHarvest and the writers conference. The conference is hand tailored by these two phenomenal women.

Tony Hillerman passed away in 2008. Since I am always wondering about the man behind the legend, I decided to learn more about him. I have been taking the time to read through some of his early work as a journalist with a daughter who followed in his footsteps. I knew he was a reporter for many years when he was young, but I didn’t realize the vast amount of knowledge he had with regard to New Mexico politics in the 50s and 60s? It seems that was his cup of tea! He moved from writing about politics to writing award winning mysteries. This morning at 6:00am, I received an email from WordHarvest titled This Just In! Hillerman Writers Conference Updates. The newsletter said there will be a special event to remember and honor Mr. Hillerman. The presentation will be delivered by his daughter Anne and photographer Don Strel.

In the Bravos: News from WORDHARVEST faculty and alumni section of the email, I was super excited to see novelist/author David Morrell making a return with new research on *my* woman! It’s a sign!!! Ahhh— who believes in those things anyhow eh? Still— I am beside myself…. I met Morrell last year here in Santa Fe. He is the author of the bloody and intense Rambo. Morrell “is also a former professor of American Studies.” He will deliver his newest cultural-icon essay titled Marilyn Monroe: Legend and Tragedy. The only thing missing from this particular conference will be JFK, which in all reality is the real tragedy…

________________________

For more information, visit http://wordharvest.com/

Wordharvest Writers Workshops | 1063 Willow Way, Santa Fe NM 87507 | Phone: 505-471-1565

________________________

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