Archive for the ‘World War II’ category


May 25, 2015

Thanks for the great thank you G!! 🙂

Rethinking Life







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Kissing statue, San Diego

March 27, 2015

I love this sculpture by Seward Johnson. An amazing artist captured this moment between a sailor and nurse after WWII. I can only imagine what this man was “feeling” when he swept this woman up in his arms in real life. It’s part of Johnson’s Unconditional Surrender series. Feelings are so powerful. ~~~F

Pursuit of Life


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When It’s Real…It Hurts

December 21, 2014

A Stone to Remember

Yesterday I went to see The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. Of course it was good. What’s not to like about the mystically twisted stories born from Tolkien’s mind? There were a few core themes in this movie, but I felt the most prevalent was loss. There were several losses in this story.



The only moment which drew a tear from my eye were two moments between Tauriel and Kili. The elf and dwarf have had a star-crossed history throughout Tolkien’s writings. Lost love is always tragic. Loss is not a surprising theme which surfaces to anyone familiar with the author. Loss was experienced by Tolkien during World War I and he wrote these stories during World War II.

Legolas, Prince of the Woodland clearly loves Tauriel though she loves another. It is admirable that his character was written to support her unconditionally given this circumstance. Tauriel’s elven family doubts her love for Kili the dwarf archer, but when he dies in her arms at the end, all doubt disappears with her tears. I cried during his death.


“If this is love…take it from me, please. I do not want it. Why does it hurt so bad?”
Tauriel, head of the Elven guard

“Because it was real.”
Thranduil, the Elven King


April 27, 2014

Gotta love these “empowermints” my sis bought me. The cover features one of the most awesome female power icons of WWII...Rosie the Riveter sporting a bi flex. *Love* it!!


Mysticism: The Power of Belief

July 23, 2013
~~~Priestess of Delphi (1891) by John Collier; the Pythia was inspired by pneuma rising from below~~~

~~~Priestess of Delphi (1891) by John Collier~~~

Since the dawn of man we have been intrigued by mystics. Today we have contemporary mystics who embrace all things divine. We are fascinated by those who can see beyond. We are drawn to those who are godlike or have heightened intuition. Their insights into the unknown and their ability to heal broken souls permeates our collective consciousness, culture and history. Some may believe that mystics see through the eyes of God. Some may believe that mystics dabble with magic. Some may believe that mystics do not exist. That is something each of us must decide for ourselves. Do those gifted with divinity walk among us? That depends on what we choose believe.

Mysticism envelopes those who are on a higher level of awareness. They see things that normal eyes either will not or can’t. They are conscious of alternate realities, yet can remain grounded. A mystic seeks and gifts others with spiritual truths, and are often believed to walk a fine line between self and the divine. Only a true mystic can master the art of transcendence. There are historic accounts of mystics who could completely absorb a deity. This enabled them to heal, apprehend extensive knowledge, see into the future or the past, deliver prophecies, dream and find the answers to mysteries.

Pythia or the Oracle of Delphi, was a priestess. She practiced on Mount Parnassus, near the Temple of Apollo at Delphi which was established in the 8th century BC. It is interesting that Pythia delivered her prophecies near a Castalian Spring. Water in itself is highly symbolic and has been used to heal, baptize, birth, and replenish those who use it. She delivered prophecies from the Temple of Apollo as it is he who inspired her visions. The mystical Pythia is said to have frantically delivered divine messages which were triggered by mysterious vapors. The vapors were released through natural formations. Some say that she simply spoke nonsense, but it was likely glossolalia or speaking in tongues.

Right here in New Mexico, a record created to assist an ethnohistorian with the School of American Research captures visits by two separate mystics (Albert H. Schroeder Papers Collection No. 1972-033, Serial No. 10706, Folder No. 427~NMSRCA). In 1969, an unknown author documented “new perspectives on the Pueblos.” In these cases, both mystics appear during the first and second world wars. This is a time of need. The mystics are both men with Christ-like features. The men pray for and heal many in Nambe, Picuris, Santa Clara, San Juan, and Taos Pueblo. These mystics were called “new prophets” by the locals. They “enchanted” and “spoke many languages,” which made them even more mystical.

Today I found myself wondering if I have ever been touched by a mystic? I am intrigued by historical and contemporary mystics who have embraced or embrace all things divine. I am fascinated by those who can see beyond. I am drawn to those who are godlike and have heightened intuition. These insights into the unknown and an ability to heal broken souls is vital to our spirits. They may see through the eyes of God or dabble with magic. I do believe they exist. Those who are divine do walk among us. That is just what I choose believe.

Mystique and JFK

May 25, 2013
• Inside the Kennedy Mystique by Chris Matthews (Smithsonian Collector's Edition~ Summer 2013) •

• Inside the Kennedy Mystique by Chris Matthews (Smithsonian Collector’s Edition~ Summer 2013) •

Today I picked up JFK: The Ultimate Guide. The magazine is the newest Smithsonian Collector’s Edition (Summer 2013) and features 14 articles about John F. Kennedy. It was kind of expensive, but it will be a good one to save in my personal collection.

Tonight I read the introduction by Chris Matthews of MSNBC and NBC. This piece is titled “Inside the Kennedy Mystique.” I like JFK as an icon/symbol of several things, but I didn’t know that “Kennedy was a dead-serious student of history.” Really?!? At age 14 he read about WWI in The World Crisis by Winston Churchill. At age 14? I have to say that the Matthews piece alone has already made me like JFK even more. I can’t wait to read the rest of the magazine. I will write about each article I like after I read them over the next few weeks.

In the Matthew’s introduction, I learned that JFK’s father believed that his son was too shy to have a successful political career. As it turned out, “the politician would prove to be charming beyond both expectation and belief…” and that “charm made him almost irresistibly attractive to men as well as to women. It also helped him keep people at a distance.” Sounds true, and I may have known that already? Who knew an introvert could be so charming?

I have read about JFK over the last few years, but I never knew that he was very sick as a child? I was surprised to learn that he kept his medical conditions and pain secret in order to serve in the Navy during WWII. He also stayed quiet about this through his political career and while he was President of the United States of America. Kennedy had scarlet fever when he was a boy, he thought he had leukemia when he was a teenager, he had Addison’s disease and his back was very bad. The Catholic Church administered the Last Rites to JFK four times! Wow… Something I didn’t know? Matthews says that “as president, he took a half-dozen shots of painkillers a day simply to function.” He often used crutches, tried not to pick up his children, and had to be lifted into Air Force One with a forklift. Really?

I guess any politician must surround him or herself with intellectuals in order to be successful. It takes so many different kinds of people and perspectives to insure an accomplished career, in turn leaving a solid legacy. The other thing that stood out to me in the Matthew’s introduction was that JFK called his political speech writer, Ted Sorensen his “intellectual blood bank.” I absolutely love that term of endearment!

Anyhow~ I look forward to reading the other articles featured in the Smithsonian publication. I’m sure I will learn other interesting things that I didn’t know about my most favorite intriguing man. He is indeed a historical icon enveloped by mystique.

Language as a Weapon

March 21, 2013

•Navajo Code Talkers of WWII•
(Photo courtesy of

Today was special for the Navajo saviors of World War II. The Navajo Code Talkers were rightfully honored by the Daughters of the American Revolution with a new monument here in the Santa Fe National Cemetery.

During World War II the Diné language was used as a weapon. A secret code was created to confuse the Japanese by using over 200 words. Without the language of 400+ awesome Navajo Marines, the war may have been lost.

A Look at the Symbols in Bless Me Ultima

October 29, 2012

On Sunday my sister and I took our mom to the movies. This week is her birthday and she has been wanting to see the new movie Bless Me Ultima. The movie is based on a book written by Rudolfo Anaya. The novel took the writer many years to finish, and he is said to have employed spirit guides and his subconscious mind to complete this work. It was published in 1972. The book has been used in classrooms for many years because it is well respected in the world of Chicano literature. I was also very anxious to see the film because I knew it featured a curandera and that it would be filled with love, magic, history, land, nature, herbs, and witches. What’s not to love? A curandera is a female folk healer who uses faith as a weapon. She also employs good magic using herbs, spirit guides, and the power of the natural world around her. The story is not that of Ultima’s. It is the story of a young boy named Antonio Márez y Luna, an outside spectator who is contemplative of many things.

Our Tickets to Bless Me Ultima on 10.28.2012

Photo I took of Ultima “La Grande”
and Antonio in the movie Bless Me Ultima

At first I was surprised to learn that the movie was two hours long. I must say that there was not one moment of the movie that didn’t capture me completely. We laughed and we cried as a New Mexico story graced the big screen in a way that I have never seen. I have one of the original runs of Anaya’s book. When I was a girl I remember reading the book in school, and in college we did chapter studies. I felt that the film flawlessly embodied and conveyed the heart of the original story. We all loved the film. I always feel so blessed to have people in my life who understand me. As we left the theater, I explained to my mom and my sister that I was taking notes on my phone. My mom said “I know,” and my sister said “I figured.” In some movies I have attempted to take in a notebook, but it is hard to see what you are writing in the dark and have found it much easier to jot down thoughts in draft form on my phone. One day I aspire to complete a full literary analysis of this novel, but for tonight I will deliver the symbols I derived from the film.

Photo I took of the funeral procession
of a Trementina witch sister
in the movie Bless Me Ultima

When we were leaving I told my mom that I saw so many symbols in this film. I adore my mature and intense mind. My mom was very curious about the symbols I saw, so I dedicate this to her. Maybe with any luck I will make her and my sister just as crazy as I am! If you have or haven’t seen the film, or even if you have only read the book, look deeper. In my mind, symbolism is about connection. A symbol is a connection~ usually from sight to an object or idea (with the mind)~ to a feeling (with the heart)~ and then ultimately to a person, place or thing. Following are the symbols I ascertained from Bless Me Ultima. This was not Ultima’s story, however, she embraced symbolism like no other character in Anaya’s novel does. The end of the movie brings the strongest and most poignant quote. When “La Grande” dies, Antonio laid her to rest and said “I did not cry~ her voice is everywhere.” The quote confirms a connection of all symbols in the book and film.

Symbols in the Movie

Ultima or “La Grande”~ was a symbol of love, sacrifice, life, death, land, faith, respect, acceptance, forgiveness, nature, power, protection, knowledge, tradition, and healing

Ultima’s Owl~ was a symbol of protection and sacrifice

The Moon~ was a symbol of mystery, land, time, magic, and knowledge

The River, Rain and Water~ were symbols of life, death, healing, abundance, and the seasons

The Land, Herbs, and Farming~ were symbols of home, family, tradition, knowledge, continuity, and healing

The War~ was a symbol of evil, change, vice, and sin

Death~ was a symbol of fear, evil, mortality, and immortality

Religion~ was a symbol of connection and disconnection

Our Market: Chicken, Candy and Smiles

July 17, 2012

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

Analysis of and Symbols in Hemingway and Gellhorn

June 10, 2012

Photo of Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn
at the Stork Club in New York City (1941)
Ernest Hemingway Collection (Accession Number EH05582P)
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
in Boston, United States of America

It’s hard to say the exact moment that you
fall in love with someone, but with him, I knew it
was his words, the ones I would never hear, the
private things he uttered.”
Martha Gellhorn—–

The love between Hemingway and Gellhorn was triggered by professional admiration and respect, as well as a profound connection. This inspired their professional endeavors as well as the sexual energy between them. This can be seen when Hemingway tells her “Gellhorn, you inspire the hell out of me.” The movie should have been titled Gellhorn and Hemingway, as it was really her story. It was a story of a strong and passionate female. Gellhorn was in a passionate love/hate relationship with Hemingway to the very end. The movie was about both intimate passion and professional passion.

When Hemingway and Gellhorn were preparing to go into a war zone during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), he fell in love with her persistence and drive. Inevitably it seems that those two characteristics which colored Gellhorn, were also some of those which drove them apart. They were “going to the front to fight Franco and the fascist.” As a war correspondent, Gellhorn covered several major wars. It is when she went to the arctic (Finland), and she left the home she an Hemingway had purchased together in Cuba that she began to pull away from Hemingway. He did not want her to leave him to cover that war, and he told her “stay here with me. Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”

Gellhorn’s passion was one thing which attracted Hemingway, it is unfortunate that it was also her passion which drove him away. I found an interesting theme which ran through the movie and that was passion versus control. The theme can be seen in the interactions of Hemingway and Gellhorn throughout the film, and it is also seen with the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. While Gellhorn traveled as a war correspondent with these young men, she said that they were “compelled by passion and not government.” She and Hemingway likely understood this passion as they were both fueled by both intimate and professional passion.

At several points in the movie Hemingway comes forth as a protector of Gellhorn. She is capable and is not scared to be involved with war, yet this was still during a time in which women were seen as outsiders in such an environment. In one scene, Hemingway locks Gellhorn in her hotel room when she first arrives in Spain. He locks her door from the outside for the night and by the morning, she is livid. He tells her that men would have their way with her because she was the only blonde, and that “death unleashes the beast.” She says she “gets it” and agrees that she does not trust anyone. Hemingway tells her “the best way to know if you can trust somebody, is to trust them.”

Following are some of the symbols that I could derive from this film, as well as some of the quotes which I found memorable.


Music—– music was a powerful symbol in the movie. Music was a symbol of both healing and drive. The guitar was a specific symbol of healing and drive. The men strummed to come together, and they also strummed to go to battle. One of the soldiers had a guitar with a sign on it which read “this guitar kills fascists.” The same battle cry was heard continuously throughout the film, and the song was heard several times.

Whiskey—– whiskey is a strong symbol in this movie. In almost every scene someone is drinking. I think that drinking is symbolic of pain relief. When the brave Gellhorn saves a young boy crying in the street in Spain after a bombing, Hemingway tells her that she is not supposed to be doing that. In response she says “little boys aren’t supposed to see their mother bleed to death.” When the little boy (maybe 5 years old) is pulled inside and is in another woman’s arms, Hemingway gives the child a flask with whiskey. Apparently this is a gesture to aid the child, and kill the child’s physical and mental pain.

Bombs—– bombs are an obvious symbol of death, but in this film, they were also a symbol of connection. The traditional symbol could represent complete surrender, and the death/submission of egos as Hemingway and Gellhorn make love for the first time. Before this erotic sex scene, Gellhorn asks Hemingway way “is this what you want?” He tells her “this is what I need.” As they connect on the deepest and most passionate level, they become numb to the world around them as they are covered in ashes, as bombs fall around them, and as flames roar outside the window of the hotel room.

Scars—– the multiple scars Hemingway bears are revealed to Gellhorn after their first intimate scene. I think this was a very symbolic moment in the film as he seemed to reveal not only his physical scars, but his emotional scars as well. It almost seemed that his physical scars were nothing compared to the scars he suffered mentally throughout his lifetime.

Crow and Swordfish-—- there were two animals that I feel were strong symbols in this movie. There was a crow at the beginning and the end, and there was a swordfish at the beginning and the end. The crow was simultaneously symbolic of both Hemingway and Gellhorn. The crow is a symbol of intelligence/knowledge, and death. Both times when the crow appeared, Gellhorn could see a reflection of herself in his eye. Gellhorn was Hemingway’s intellectual muse, and she is reflected as such in that symbol. In the final scene, the crow appears to Gellhorn after Hemingway’s death. He appears to her as a messenger from the spirit world tapping on her window with his beak.

The swordfish is also a powerful symbol. This fish is a sole symbol of Hemingway. The fish represents his masculine energy, and sexuality with the striking phallic “sword” of this fish. The swordfish represents Hemingway’s personal battles- the battles with himself, and his battles with Gellhorn. In the beginning of the movie, Hemingway fights successfully to reel in a swordfish, and in the end of the movie, he gives up and lets the fish go. Hemingway had captured Gellhorn, but he had also released her.

Memorable Movie Quotes and My Thoughts:

Pauline Hemingway to Martha Gellhorn

My husband believes that if you kill enough animals, you may not kill yourself.”
—–I wonder if Hemingway really said that? Ironically, he did eventually kill himself.

Pauline Hemingway to Martha Gellhorn

Ernest likes to surround himself with exotic characters.”
—–Pauline could immediately sense their connection.

Gellhorn to a War Photographer

There is a human need to exert control when the world is spinning out of control.”
—–This statement was made as she seemed to be talking about both her career and her love for Hemingway.

Hemingway about Gellhorn

Bravest woman I ever saw.”
—–He makes this statement after Gellhorn hears a child crying in the street after a bombing in Spain. Everyone tells her it is a cat (?). She disagrees and runs into the street as bombers hover above. She saves the child from the street and from having to watch his mother bleed to death.


It’s hard to say the exact moment that you fall in love with someone, but with him, I knew it was his words, the ones I would never hear, the private things he uttered.”
—–This is an amazing quote. At this moment she realized she was deeply in love with Hemingway, regardless of anything else.

Gellhorn to Hemingway

Women get bombed the same as men.”
—–Gellhorn was talking about being a female war correspondent in a male dominated field.

Hemingway to Gellhorn

Stay here with me. Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”
—–Another amazing quote. When she decide to leave and cover the warfare in the arctic, she began to pull away from Hemingway. He did not want her to leave him for her career.

Hemingway in a letter to Gellhorn

Love, you poison my typewriter. Since you have left, I have had hangovers they could name battleships after. Today I remember the heat of your naked body.”
—–Each time Hemingway is shown writing in the movie he is standing up. He is never seated. This was something that I did not know about him, and I assume that this is historically accurate (which is interesting).


When there was no war, we made our own. The battlefield neither of us could survive was domestic life.”
—–Maybe this is the hardest battle of all?

All in all, I think that this movie was great. I was not disappointed at all, and I would recommend it. I think sometimes we just need to go deeper to get a full bodied feel for what we are, or what we are not absorbing. Intimate and professional passion, symbolic imagery, love and hate, and highly erotic connections…. What’s not to like?

Whiskey Dreams: Inside the Mind of Hemingway

May 10, 2012

I may be a person who reads farther into things than I should, but as a deep woman, it is really hard for me to take things at face value. Today I had two signs- they were signs that I think I needed to see, or maybe to feel. One of those signs was a post by a favored writing guru with a love similar to mine. That post reminded me that there was something that I had to do. Many of the posts on this site deal with digital initiatives and issues, which is the main reason I like it. Today I learned about a new digital initiative, and this one involves the mind of Ernest Hemingway. The Hemingway Papers are now available in a digital archive, and I know thanks to the author of Read, Write, Now.

The Hemingway Papers capture “the legendary writer’s reporting from the Toronto Star archives.” Article topics in this digital archive include: culture; sports; vices; and war. The articles were featured in the Toronto Star in the 1920s. I am yet to explore the pages devoted to “the curious case of the stolen Hemingway letters.” The site also mentions the Hemingway Letters Project which will be an attempt to digitize over 6,000 Hemingway letters over the next few years. Did this guy really have and/or write that many letters? I am madly in love with this man! Since he was interested in whiskey and rum-runners, I can’t help but wonder if he wrote best after licking the fire water?

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was a Nobel Prize winning author and journalist. His work enveloped fiction and non-fiction. His various works were published from around 1918 thru the 1950s. When Paris was liberated during World War II, Hemingway was on the beach for the Normandy landings capturing history during Operation Neptune and Operation Overlord. From Illinois, to Kansas, to Madrid, to Pamplonato, to Italy, to Paris, to London, to Normandy, to Africa, to Key West, to Florida, to Cuba, Hemingway had likely seen it all. Maybe he saw much more than he could handle? He had a seasoned life, and sadly he still never seemed to peg down true happiness. He had several brushes with death throughout his lifetime. A couple were close calls. It was sad for me to learn tonight that after escaping a dark fate so many times, his life was ultimately ended by his own hands. In 1961, Hemingway moved from Cuba to Idaho and killed himself. It is strange that though I started reading his works as a middle school student, I never knew that? This was indeed a tragic loss to the literary world. With any luck for this amazing man, they allow whiskey dreams in heaven!

The Hemingway Papers

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A Symposium on New Mexico WW2 Internment Camps: Inside and Outside the Barbed Wire

April 14, 2012

Tom Kobayashi, landscape, south fields, Manzanar Relocation Center - photograph by Ansel Adams (1943) - Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA- Image No. LC-DIG-ppprs-00244 (NOTE: this photograph was not part of the original press release)

A Symposium on New Mexico WW2 Internment Camps: Inside and Outside the Barbed WireOriginally submitted as a Press Release on April 14, 2012 by the Los Alamos Daily Post

The New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors will hold a symposium on New Mexico World War II internment camps. Learn more about the experiences of Japanese people held in New Mexico’s internment camps during World War II at an April 21 and 22 symposium. “From Inside and Outside the Barbed Wire: New Mexico’s Multicultural World War II Internment Stories,” will be in the History Museum auditorium, 10:30 am-4:30 pm on Saturday, April 21; and 1-4 pm on Sunday, April 22. Organized by the Committee to Preserve New Mexico’s Internment History, the symposium commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Santa Fe Internment Camp Historical Marker in Frank S. Ortiz Park, while raising public awareness of the internment experience in New Mexico. Tickets are $15 at the Lensic Theater Box Office, 505-988-1234, or

A New Mexico Centennial event, the symposium is co-sponsored by The New Mexico History Museum, the Historical Society of New Mexico, and the New Mexico Centennial Board, with a grant from the New Mexico Humanities Council. The New Mexico Community Foundation serves as its fiscal agent. Through lectures, film and performance, the program will explore the experiences of Japanese immigrants and American citizens detained in Department of Justice internment camps in New Mexico during World War II, focusing especially on the Santa Fe camp, which held 4,555 men over the course of the war. It will also examine the impressions such camps had on visitors and communities surrounding them. “In other words,” says Gail Okawa, one of the conference organizers, “this symposium will seek to explore the human experience on either side of the barbed wire.”

Presenters include co-chairs Nancy R. Bartlit and Dr. Gail Y. Okawa, Dr. Richard A. Melzer, Brian Minami, Dr. Nikki N. Louis, Colonel Joe Ando (USAF ret.), Bill Nishimura, Mollie Pressler, and Kermit Hill. Nishimura is a survivor of the Santa Fe camp; several presenters are descendants of internees. “The historic symposium will be a rare chance for the community, scholars, and internee descendants to learn who the civilian detainees and internees were, how they passed their time, and how they were treated during wartime,” Bartlit said.

Contacts for this event: Michael Hice, or Nancy Bartlit,

The program schedule:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

10:30 am: Welcome (Dr. Gail Okawa, moderator)

10:45-12:00: Part I: Inside Stories

Dr. Richard A. Melzer: “Inside the Barbed Wire: Life in the Santa Fe Internment Camp”

KNME/NMHM documentary: Remembering the Santa Fe Japanese Internment Camp

Brian Minami: “Issei Poet Prisoners at Santa Fe”


12:00-1:15 pm: Lunch (on your own)

1:30-3:00 pm: Part II: Outside Stories

Dr. Gail Y. Okawa: “From the World Beyond the Barbed Wire”

Dr. Nikki N. Louis and company: “Voices from the Outside”


3:00-4:15 PM: Part III: The SFIC Historical Marker: Community Conflicts, Multicultural Healing

Nancy A. Bartlit, Carol Robertson Lopez, Col. Joe Ando (USAF ret.), Bill Nishimura


4:15-4:30 pm: Wrap-up (Dr. Gail Okawa)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

1 pm: Welcome (Nancy Bartlit, moderator)

Part IV: Personal Stories and Profound Postscripts

1:10-2 pm: Memories of American WWII Imprisonment

Film clip from Prisoners and Patriots by Neil Simon

Bill Nishimura, survivor of the Poston, Tule Lake, and the Santa Fe Internment Camps: “My Story at Santa Fe”

Q & A

2-2:20 pm: Lordsburg Camp Stories.

Mollie Pressler (local historian): “Tense Times at the Lordsburg Camp: 1942-1943”

2:20-2:35 pm: Break

2:35-3:20: The NM National Guard and Japanese American Soldiers in Europe

Film clip on the 442nd Regimental Combat Team

Kermit Hill (local historian): “Nisei and New Mexican Soldiers: A Tale Too Long Untold”

Q & A

3:20-3:50: Profound Postscripts—A Panel: The American Internment in New Mexico

Bill Nishimura (internee survivor); Brian Minami, Joe Ando, Dr. Nikki Louis, and Dr. Gail Okawa (descendents of internees); Nancy Bartlitt, Dr. Okawa (Humanities scholars)

4-4:30 pm: Book signing

Phenomenology: The Power of a Word

January 24, 2012

View of Mora, New Mexico coming from Ledoux, New Mexico- Photograph by Dr. Alvin O. Korte retired professor emeritus/ NMHU

I love it when I am pleasantly surprised by an intelligent person. Today I had an opportunity to meet and talk with Dr. Alvin O. Korte. Dr. Korte retired as professor emeritus from New Mexico Highlands University in 1999. He was a professor for close to 30 years. He knows many people from the Las Vegas and Mora area, including some of my family members. His expertise is in Social Work/Domestic Violence, however, he blew my mind with the depths of his. It is rare for me to take the time to get to know my patrons on a personal level, but sometimes I do. If I find someone interesting, I may tap into their psyche to see what I can find. I am also more inclined to befriend someone who is humble, quiet, and secretively brilliant. As I was assisting Dr. Korte, I just happened to glance down at an open notebook with a large word which caught my eye. With him, he carried a study on phenomenology. I was immediately intrigued, and of course I inquired. In the first few sentences out of Dr. Korte’s mouth, I realized his studies would definitely add some sugar to my cup of tea.

He went on to tell me about his new book titled Nosotros: A Study of Everyday Meanings in Hispano New Mexico (due for official release in March of 2012 by Michigan State University Press). He sums up the book as a study of language, yet it is really so much more. Some of the words and/or ideas he rattled off included: dark vs. light; the language of prisoners; life and death; struggles; mortification; poetry and literature; genealogy; and other things that only a Dark Archivist would love. Dr. Korte believes that “much knowledge and understanding can be generated from the experiences of everyday life.” In his studies, he “examines how this concept applies to Spanish-speaking peoples adapted to a particular locale, specifically the Hispanos and Hispanas of northern New Mexico. Drawing on social philosopher Alfred Schutz’s theory of typification, Korte looks at how meaning and identity are crafted by quotidian activities. Incorporating phenomenological and ethnomethodological strategies, the author investigates several aspects of local Hispano culture, including the oral tradition, leave-taking, death and remembrances of the dead, spirituality, and the circle of life. Although avoiding a social- problems approach, the book devotes necessary attention to mortificación (the death of the self), desmadre (chaos and disorder), and mancornando (cuckoldry).”

In his youth, Dr. Korte was a member of the National Guard in Las Vegas, New Mexico. In talking about his service, he mentioned that he also wrote a book which takes a closer look at the history and symbology of the swastika. I am yet to learn the title of this book, however, I would like to track down the book for another patron with potential interest in this history. Dr. Korte and I exchanged conversation about a Nazi flag housed with a museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He knew the story of the flag captured in 1943 by the 120th Combat Engineer Battalion (Company C). I also referred him to a web site with a great research piece on that story. It is certain that Dr. Korte’s family history, his New Mexican roots, his interest in symbology and metaphors, and his service in the National Guard inspired that particular book. In the 19th century, Dr. Korte’s German ancestor came to New Mexico. Heinrich Korte was his great grandfather who came to Mora, New Mexico in the late 1850s. He was a wealthy merchant and rancher. In the 1870 and 1880 U.S. Census, some members of the Korte family noted paternal birthplace as Prussia.

So like I said, I enjoy meeting people who are well-versed but are not egotistic. Dr. Alvin O. Korte displays all of the characteristics constituting an intricate mind. It is interesting how just a quick glance at one word in large print- phenomenology- can initiate a land slide of thoughts. The power of words astonishes me.

Nosotros: A Study of Everyday Meanings in Hispano New Mexico
Michigan State University Press

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and Phenomenology

Cryptography: Decoding the Human Puzzle

January 21, 2012

*****Digital Composite of a Cryptogram by Felicia Lujan***** Includes five contemporary images and one digital photograph of my hand. ***********CAN YOU SOLVE THE CRYPTOGRAM?*********** Here's a hint in the form of a riddle: Espionage battles lost not won, give up the fight, if you can't go on...

Cryptograms… They are teasers. Cryptography leaves encrypted clues. They puzzle us. Replacing, transposing, and deleting letters, adding numbers and pictures, or even speaking in code, in an attempt to encrypt a secret message. During World War II the Navajo Code Talkers used cryptography to convey hidden messages. Native tongues were used to deliver messages to the battlefield. It was an “unbreakable code from the ancient language.” Even during World War I, there were tongues of Natives fighting the war. The enemy was never able to decipher the code, even as “skilled code breakers.”

A cryptogram can be a combination of oral, written, or even visual communications. One of my beloved poets was actually a cryptographer. During the 19th century, Edgar Allan Poe was obsessed with cryptographic messages. Solving a cryptographic message may take time for some, but for others, it may be easy. In 1943, W.K. Wimsatt published a white paper titled What Poe Knew About Cryptography. The paper (PMLA, Vol.58, No.3) was published by the Modern Language Association. After reading the paper this evening, I found myself wondering why Poe received and deciphered so many cryptograms in his lifetime? Maybe his obsession derived from masking and unmasking the complexities of his own mind? Cryptography is basically about being able to read between the lines. According to Wimsatt, in a publication called Alexander’s Weekly, Poe called cryptograms “enigmatical.” The actual definition of cypher means “code” or to “convert ordinary language into code.”

The Constitution was a historic newspaper published in Atlanta, Georgia. On September 3, 1899, the newspaper ran an article titled Marvelous Cryptograms of European Diplomacy. According to that article, “a perfect cipher ought to be capable of being written and read quickly. It ought to require no material key that may be lost or stolen; it ought to be capable of being telegraphed or copied; and, of course, it ought to be undecipherable to all but the initiated.” This is a topic I would like to explore in a full blown research paper in the future, but for tonight, I will close with a great quote from that historic newspaper.

It is true that Poe’s skill as a cryptanalyst were not that of a professional, yet his native power was far beyond the ordinary, and as a litterateur who could solve ciphers he was in a position to add to cryptography the glamour of illusion.” Illusion… Reading between the lines… To see or not to see? You decide!

American Indian Heritage Month- An Indian Technique- Code Talkers Use of the Native Tongue for Secure Communications

Edgar Allen Poe and Cryptography by R. Morelli

Domain of the Golden Dragon: Soldiers and Mermaids of the Far East

November 26, 2011

I spent the larger part of my day continuing work on the processing, rehousing and description of my family papers. It is taking a bit for me to complete this task since I have so much stuff. I purchased acid free folders and boxes to rehouse my collection, and will use pencil on the folder tabs. I guess it was a productive day. I got through the tentative description of close to 50 folders. I have about two cubic feet of records to work through and have finished going through about one quarter. In archival terminology, the collection is classified as an “artificial collection.” That basically means that I have manually collected records, and artificially created a body of research materials. At this point, I have instituted a rough arrangement with penciled folder numbers (just to make sense of what I have). Before I finalize the ultimate resting place of each folder within the collection, I will impose a more meaningful arrangement for physical control of the materials. The physical arrangement will likely be by lines (paternal, maternal) and then possibly by surname. Using the spreadsheet I have created, I will then impose intellectual arrangement by sorting and creating series and/or sub-series for the records (likely sorted by record type, place names, and date). My spreadsheet captures the following: folder no.; surname(s); type of record 1 (sacred or secular); type of record 2 (notes, census, sacramental, white paper, book, web resource, etc.); line (maternal/paternal); description; place names; date; and other notes of importance (including primary record citations when available). Later I will be able to visibly see connections and/or holes in my research by sorting in various ways.

The one thing I was reminded of today while working on this project was my mom’s father. My grandpa died before I was born, and so I never met him. Filadelfio Narciso Garcia was born on September 9, 1914 (Chacon, New Mexico). Though his name was Filadelfio, my grandpa went by “Phil” for the majority of his life. If he were still alive, there is so much I would ask him. It is impossible to determine personality from documents. What I do know is that my paternal grandfather was a Virgo (like me). He was also part of the sixth astrological sign of the Zodiac. I wonder if he (like other Virgos): was a lover of literature; was captivated by details; and adored history? I may never know? I am learning more about this interesting man, but there is certainly more to know. Some of the records I processed today once belonged to my grandpa. He was a Tech 5 for the United States Army in World War II (Company B- 1st CP). His separation papers (honorable discharge) declare his place of separation as Fort Bliss (TX). He was just under 6′ tall. This is where the height on my mom’s line comes from (except for me LoL). One of his specialties was cooking! Ahhhaaaa… That’s where I get it from! His “decorations and citations” included: the American Theater; Asiatic Pacific Theater; and a Victory Medal. I wonder what happened to the medal? Now that would be a find! I think mermaids, dragons, spirits of the deep, and well anything from the realm of fantasy is super cool. I thought I would share a certificate of his I rediscovered, and fell in love with again today. There are also a few photos which are relative to my grandpa’s service.

The certificate is from the Domain of the Golden Dragon (International Date Line) Ruler of the 180th Meridian. The full color certificate was given to my grandpa on February 7, 1946 at a certain latitude and longitude at sea. He was a soldier on the S.S. Marine Swallow, and likely filed away the certificate in his personal belongings right before he returned to the United States on February 15, 1946. The certificate is what the Department of the Navy (Navy Historical Center- Washington Navy Yard) calls “unofficial,” still it is intricate and gorgeous. Apparently, sailors, soldiers, and marines were given the certificate when they passed the 180th Meridian. I also have some 5×7 black and white images of soldiers getting on and off the S.S. Marine Swallow while carrying their bags. Unfortunately, there was no metadata on the back of these images, so I am making an educated guess on the date they were taken. I do wonder if my grandpa took the photographs? If so, he was “documenting” history! Wow! My grandpa Phil passed away in 1973. He died young of a heart attack, and sadly he never got to see my face, and I never got to hear his voice (even as a baby)…

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I didn't have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.

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