Maria Leyba and Angélica Turrieta
DescriptionMaria L. Leyba (60) talks with her daughter Angélica Turrieta (33) about her childhood life in a prison, growing up in New Mexico and the death of her brother Ramón.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Maria Leyba
- Angélica Turrieta
Recording LocationMobileBooth West
Venue / Recording Kit
- anecdotes (humorous but true stories)
- Ascension, Chihuahua
- Barelas, NM
- Celestino Barrola
- economic beliefs and practices
- family heroes
- family members in history
- family naming and nicknames
- Family Traditions
- family trips and excursions
- historical events/people
- Influential People
- Maria Alvillar
- memories of former times
- memories of growing up
- Old Mecia, NM
- personal experiences
- political beliefs and practices
- Ramon Barrola
- religious beliefs and practices
- school day memories
- social beliefs and practices
- Achievements and Awards
- Changes In Education
- Community Businesses
- Community History
- Corner Stores
- Earliest Memories
- First Meetings
- Neighborhood Life
- Town Life
- Traumatic Memories
- War Stories
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00:04 Hello, my name is on helica. Lucia Toyota. I am 33 years old today see is May 20th 2010. I'm in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I'm here with my mother.
00:16 Hi, my name is Maria Luisa labor and I am 60 years old. And today's date is May 20th, 2010. And the location is Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I'm here with my daughter on helica.
00:31 Hi Mom. How are you? Well actually a very good excited to get started you could get it's nice to get out of all the sun in the heat seven cool. So I have a few questions for you. And so I just want you to be as honest as you can cuz I want to learn as much about you as a kid and I have so much to tell you. I'm so glad okay first. I want to learn a little bit about your childhood about how it was to grow up on the ground of the Santa Fe penitentiary and white night when you're around Brothers do for fun. Let's see me Quita. The first recollection that I have is in Santa Fe. There was an original prison that was right downtown and I remember being a very little girl. I must have been maybe 2-3 years old and my parents. My phone was a prison cook and that's the reason, you know, your grandpa was a prison, and that's the reason that we live there and at the time the penitentiary had
01:31 Homes for some of the workers and we lived in I remember the house with a brick house and it had a little little patio in the back not very big and it had like a little brick fence in the front and that was a recollection in what I remember vividly about that house is that your grandma didn't speak English back then but she used to babysit a little girl. Who was Angela a little girl named Mimi and the little girl didn't speak a word of English. I waited speaker word of English and I still to this day can't imagine how we all were able to communicate with me. But the one thing I remember is Mimi did not like to eat. I'll meet you love to eat bacon. So Grandma would always tell us make sure Mimi doesn't eat the raw bacon, I would but I do remember later we moved back to Bareilles and then we have none double back to the old penitentiary and we move to a different house that they had that the penitentiary Krause this was a yam.
02:26 It look more like a bearing type of house and it was a very I was older than so. I have a lot of memories of that house grandma's old washing machine. We used to go outside. She kept her washing machine outside cuz it was the top of washing machine old wringer and you have to put the clothes into this old ring. It was very scary because the neighbor Neighbors daughter got her arm caught in it and I wanted to be very helpful, but I was so scared to break my arms doing this and I was probably about five or six and around that time we started school and the school that we went to the south of us was Connie Elementary and it was actually on the other side of the penitentiary and so the first day of school, I remember that I was very excited. I just stopped elated with a thought that I was going to go to school and I was going to learn things and the thought that I did speak English never even crossed my mind. I just knew that I was going to go to school and this was a really big thing for me.
03:26 And Grandma dress me up and gave him a little I guess was a little black a little. A backpack. They didn't have backpacks back then felt like a little bag to carry something in my brother held my hand your uncle, and we walked together. And I remember that the time that all prison was like a it look like those old castles got to like afforded. It had like guards in on the towers and they weighed down and said good luck have fun at school. Now that we know this must be a good place to go. So yes, what was it like going to school and having English as your second language? That's what what kind of challenges us when we got there. I was just getting that was so funny because we're coming around the corner and I could hear all these children and it was the first time that it dawned on me that they weren't speaking Spanish and I turned around and looked at my brother said no habla English novel and espanol and my brother said no, they speak English and I am I going to do and so he is
04:26 7 year old wisdom thought this is what you do. So he took me and he said this is the first grade light and you stand right here and you wait for your teacher to come and get you and you just stay there. So I stood there Frozen because I thought one of the movie cuz I'll miss this teacher and I don't I'm not going to ask people and it was so funny because I came in and finally the more children showed up and I was in the right line and I went with my teacher and I was so amazed that I was the only kid who didn't have a mother with her and I thought was something wrong everybody brought their mother but you know, we didn't have a mother to come with us. So I remember there were two little boys crying and crying I had no idea. Why would you cry this is a fun place to be you know, I really wanted to get up and slap them cuz I thought you said we boys and I can't just go out by myself with no mother and I don't even speak English and I'm not afraid afraid of but I didn't do that. I just thought of it but I did what my brother told me to do. He said just do what the other children do what they stand up you stand up when they sit. You said dumb so like for a long time
05:26 Like a little dummy people thought it was slow because I couldn't tell you that's how I thought you did things go visit somebody stood up I stand up. So in addition to having the Obstacle of english-as-a-second-language. You also have the Obstacle of being legally blind. Now, you have your glasses and you can see what what is when did you notice that you weren't seeing as the other kids I've never done to me that my vision was so bad. It's just that I remember at the end of penitentiary Krause the evening the other children would sit outside on the little those. All Barracks have like little steps when they would send and and look up at the stars.
06:13 But I will admit to them I couldn't see that I want to look up and think while I wonder what they're in my mind. I tried to think what is a star. It looks really nice out there the sky all black but I don't see anything so I had no idea and I wouldn't admit it. So I just pretended I was a very good Pretender and then later on the kids also like to count station wagons because actually back there and we were very close to Cerrillos Road and there really wasn't. You know the traffic there is now but the cars would intensify the kids but let's count station wagon will have no clue. What a station wagon.
06:49 So what was your what was it? Like to see a star for the first time in third grade? I had a teacher who had realize that, you know, I had some limited vision problems and she herself made an appointment at took me to an eye specialist and I do remember sitting there in that little law Chad the doctors have for you to the eye doctor optometrist and he told the teacher this little girl should come in here a long time ago. And I thought wow and when I got my first pair of glasses at Wells like while I got the Disneyland I was so funny cuz everything was like so huge the steps were like go to take a step as I was when I looked up and I could see my very first star. I was just captivated that my classmate twinkle and they're like little white LED little lights. It was just amazing. What kind of discrimination did you or racial profiling did you experience having a mother who was in Albino and father Hulu
07:49 Very, you know Mexican Indian and how did that affect you growing up as a child you see these things but and people think you're not really paying attention, but you do my mother was a Mexican albino and no one would believe that she was especially Mexican with that, you know, fine blonde hair that platinum blonde hair and those beautiful blue eyes and white skin and my father was Mexican Indian Apache Indian and he was a dark is dark could be your mother was another was different as day and night. I think it was hard and seeing how my father was treated not my mother because she was so fair. She could go anywhere because of her color. It didn't matter that. She didn't speak a word of English. The whole thing is she was blonde and she could pass for you know for white and my father on the other hand who was born in this country in a flat World War. I was discriminated against many times. It was one incident. I remember very well.
08:49 My brother was must have been about 4 years old and he was an adventurous little boy your uncle Ramon. He had gone downtown by himself. He thought he'd be a brave Boardwalk downtown from patella and the police picked him up Real Lies in a four-year-old boy. This is not a place for a child should be walking alone and picked him up and took him to their little a police station and they sat on Central police station. We were at home, but I do know they call my parents cuz Ramon was a very smart little boy he was and he spoke English and he was able to tell them what his name and they looked in the phone book and call my dad and he came to pick up my brother at the problem was my brother wasn't albino, but he did have blonde hair and green eyes. They took one look at my father and they took one look at the little boy and it didn't matter that. The little boy was yelley, Daddy Daddy to you.
09:38 Any spices my son. Yep. I know you need to call somebody else that we don't think this little boy belongs to you and it was all based on the color of his skin. So he called Grandma your grandma and grandpa's like no puedo Creer que esta pasando. So she had to walk downtown to reclaim the Sun and tell the police. This is his son to is his real son and they just thought well that it's impossible. You know that that can't happen and there were many incidents like that that I would see my father always said, you know being a I mean simply was a color of his skin and it really it really hurt me seeing that and is throwing up about us especially but it is in Santa Fe it was different because it was a lot of angle children but invited us and we were basically what 99.9 Chicano and it was so hard to see the children who didn't speak English as well as other children whose coloring wasn't quite right for people to mistreat them in and maybe that's why I eventually became a
10:38 Cuz it was just something that really always ate at me in a minute and I probably was feeling my father's paid even though he never never talked about it. He was just laugh but I think that since being a behind that laugh was a lot of pain because some people always discriminating they didn't think he could read they did that you could ride that didn't think it had a brain, you know, even when I was very little I still remember my mother Grandma your grandma had to go by his liquor because there was a time in Albuquerque and the early fifties that Indians were not allowed to buy their own liquor and Grandma have to buy it didn't matter that. She couldn't say what she needed as long as she had that blonde hair blue eyes. That was her ticket and that was a really it was a sad thing for a child to see
11:24 When do you feel like you really felt comfortable with the English language? Like you felt all probably not till I was ten it took me a long long time because I would have to learn words because when I got home everything that we learned at school English was left at the doorstep and we didn't speak any English in our house. And and I do remember that learning things like windowsill. I remember one time a second grade teacher. I believe he asked who would like to help me wash the windowsill the little girls raised her hand and I was trying to do what they did. I raise my hand and I remember she gave me a rag and I'm thinking what the heck am I supposed to do or what? The heck is the windowsill girls kind of walked out the window at the okay, and I guess when they were going to the window and I kind of hesitated watch them a follow-up and I get close to the window and then they start cleaning the windows help at the time. I wasn't I didn't really
12:24 Out the window, so I got really busy. I'll stick it. I cleaned the entire window. The teacher was very proud of her and I begin to read and read and read and really help a lot. So how important was education even though at home. You only speak Spanish how important is education coronavirus very very important. I think because your grandmother had been a teacher in Mexico. It was almost like she didn't tell us we have to do our homework and she didn't sit there and say where you can't go out to play. So you've done your homework. It was just an expectation that we knew that that you know, and it was an expectation that we set for ourselves that we have to we were children who might your uncles and I were just children who have this in us that we have to do and it was something that I guess you love it or you don't and we loved it and we love learning that was such an important part of our lives.
13:22 So growing up in bed, but I lost it was completely different than what it looks like now and can you describe a little bit when Grandma and Grandpa bought their house would it look like and it's well, are there any families that are still invited us that were there when you first moved in one of the most interesting thing that would Amaze you make it is the fact that the streets were all dirt road despite the fact that we were only what six blocks south of downtown. We have dirt roads and just about every Familia had their outhouses. Can you believe that everybody else and I can remember being four and a half and we built Grandma obviously Grandma and Grandpa built a bathroom and we felt like we were so rich cuz we actually had the bathroom and now you see that you tighten this but just a thought that we had a bath and we were like moving up, you know, we had a bathroom. So that was the things that I remember especially in the dirt roads the water trucks.
14:22 Show me twice I'll probably twice a week in the summer to to water the roads and I running after the water trucks that I love the smell of the earth. And and I having to eat that things like that and the family's there's a lot of families that I can remember a lot of them are have passed on but the children have some of them have remained.
14:47 As far as you mentioned going to school education was definitely important and being in a bottle has having a surprised environment to be raised in how did you avoid getting sucked into any of the games are violent? How how did you rise above all of it? Well, I think I think again because we love to read and while your brothers at your uncle's and I loved we love to read I think I could see a different world and I A N. I love that other world. I love learning about other parts of the world that I had never heard of before and I also believe that. Because of your grandmother what she instilled in US was to have to be honest to be decent people and it was such an important unit was very important to her. So I just couldn't see myself. I mean I had, you know neighbors and and girls at school who smoked in and
15:47 Call them back. Then. They were called pachucos, you know, they were part of the pachucos and we just you know, we just kind of kept our distance because if they just like we live in two different worlds, we were very well aware of and and they would laugh at me and in and crack jokes that you know, you know the smart girl the smart girl The Bookworm almost you know, where are gorgeous. He has long dark hair and skinny insect taller than anybody else because even though most of the girls were so tiny and we'd walk to Washington Middle School where I remember my head wasn't like stick out because all my girlfriends were like only like 4:11, and I was already like five three
16:35 And you mentioned walking quite a bit. I'm kind of curious about how you got around in Albuquerque. I know Grandma couldn't drive as an albino. She couldn't really see correctly. So, how did how did you get around? We just we just use the bus and we walked back then in Albuquerque downtown was just bustling there was tons of stores or was three actually four to five different grocery stores all these drug stores and we just learn to walk we didn't complain, you know, we just got on that bus and we walked and that was our mode of transportation many times. I remember one really cute in when I was in high school at Grandma. It was parent teacher conferences and Grandma will always look right. I should grandma always look beautiful as she got all dressed up in a little black. I mean little brown lunch bag and then she were her her like they weren't back that. She didn't want tennis shoes, but like walking shoes and I would walk to school forever we were going and then
17:35 Before we got there she take out change shoes put on those high heels and come strutting in and look like a like a Marilyn Monroe cause she was just so beautiful and nobody ever knew that she had to change her. She was a block before what's your favorite song that Grandma used to sing or your Grandma loved A bunch of us was her station. That's what we woke up to. We didn't have a will that came later. Those were her stations. That's why she had such a beautiful voice and and our mornings didn't start unless that radio was on. That one's that radio turn in up. She flipped that radio on when you it was our sign to get up. None of this La Fontaine say, you know, you know, it was like we knew and nobody had to tell us we were very self-disciplined. I guess. That's the word and what was your growing-up? What was your funniest family moments thinking back when you did have Ramon still in your life and have
18:35 And being with Familia to meet us at the up to either Ramon staff being with my family was the most beautiful thing in the world. I was so lucky. I felt so blessed. I mean the fact that we weren't wealthy I felt Rich because I had my mother and my father and my father worked hard and my mother worked very hard and I had two wonderful brothers and we every summer we travel to Mexico to visit more Familia and then the family and Deming on the way back. So I just had those wonderful memories always together in that old 49 Oldsmobile that your grandpa drove and just going in o on trips with my family. Don't that to me was so special.
19:16 And where is Grandpa from Grandpa actually was born in the Gila Wilderness in a little town Actually. I don't even think it exists anymore. Cause Sherman New Mexico. His mother was Ida tribalize Apache Indian who actually was raised in a reservation. So she has no recollection of her her family. Other than when they get the Roundup of Apache. She somehow ended up with her brothers and sisters and the reservation her parents were murdered. And so she just assimilated to the Mexican culture and how did he get his name? So let's do you know, I don't really know. I wish I had asked back then. I know how your uncle must have the one you got his name all the different names that died and my grandma Luciana has named her children, but Celestino's I've always liked that name celestino. Burrola. Burrola was Grandma labels.
20:16 Are actually her maiden name. So all her children carry that name mortola and where is Grandma from Grandma was born in us and see on Chihuahua and she was born in that her I would have been her great-grandparents helped found in 1872 my both sets of her parents both her parents were toddlers when they left old Mesilla in Southern New Mexico the left old Mesilla in 1870 because my grandfather Galvan and my my great-grandfather Galvan in my great-grandfather alvear have had some problems so that the time they were Republicans and the Democrats had won that particular election and we're being very cruel and mean to Mexicans and the course the Gadsden purchase had changed the other the lines a day enough of now then we're no longer Mexicans now, they were New Mexican said they were you know, it was just things for change.
21:16 And they felt very unsafe in this in the new country and they wanted to go back to Mexico. So it 1872 when my my grandparents were toddlers. They along with 300 other families. There was a caravan that left old Mesilla and travel they had gotten permission from the Mexican Government to be settled and I believe it since Ian was already a little village. It's just that they that was they were all are ranchers and Farmers than this was a good place for them to go.
21:50 Largest real quick. What is your Mother's Day Maria Luisa Alvarez?
21:55 And you were named after her with her and after Grandma Maria Luisa Galvan was my grandmother. And what did she the youngest 13 children? My grandmother got Ivana was born in 1870 and my mother was her last child that she had in 1917 and she lost me to tell him in between and she actually my grandmother had two albino children. My grandmother Galvan had to and what was it? Like I know family was extremely important as it is for us now and I remember growing up and being adopted but I used to anytime my feelings were hurt. I felt sad. I felt lonely. I would always cry for my uncle Ramon and I've never I've never met him. What was it like for you as a young woman to lose your brother and how did it change the shape of your family?
22:55 It was extremely hard. It was the worst thing that ever happened to us. I was 18 years old and losing Ramon was the most difficult thing of it is just terrible.
23:11 He was such a beautiful person and he he spent his life spreading peace in the body or he never fought he worked very hard to keep other pachucos from fighting little league your uncle would go up to the pachucos. And when he knew someone was going to fight you but sit and talk to them and he had a way of talking to them that they would that anger they had was gone and he had a way of putting his hand out and when the pachucos pulled out their nice he was able and his gentle ways. They would folder knives and put the knives and Ramon. San Ramon was a fabulous Runner the first he actually the first planet to the La Luz Trail and he won many statements and there are some states in the mail run and in the mile run there were records that didn't get broken for like 40 years.
24:06 And just brilliant but he was a kind of brother and he was a kind of brother that that would look after me. He always the image of him always holding my hand walking with me to school giving me those little little little things advise what to do what not to do, but he was the first person I actually told me that and I have no sisters and he became like my sister he would tell me now. You're becoming a young lady. You need to change your style of dress. You are so beautiful. Nobody has ever told me. I'm my parents are wonderful, but they never told me I was beautiful but Roman did and so when my mom died when the officer came he came and Father's Day on June 14th. Ramon was killed June 7th 1968, and it was also Corpus Christi Sunday and Sacred Heart Church was having this at parades down by Ellis, and I remember hearing the Caravan of people walking.
25:03 And your grandfather was in the kitchen bless his heart removal of tonsils and it's amazing that you love hot sauce too and he had a case of hot sauce. And he was so happy with the wrapping the gifts to say, this is for Miami Heat though. You know, I'm going to send this hot sauce and my mind will nobody ever thought I was going to get the Vietnam morning and I heard the the gate the back gate open and I stood up cuz I was studying at the time of his and nursing school and I stood up and I saw this man in this white uniform
25:43 And I remember seeing his white car and it's white uniform. His wife hat the lieutenant from the Navy would come to tell us about Ramone's death. And I remember I stood up and I stood at the door jamb and I looked and I remember I could think nothing nothing my mind went blank my heart but fly but I guess my body reacted because I turned completely quite like this Kleenex and Grandma couldn't see him. She turned and looked at me and sent me. He's dumb. He's a que pasa porque esta Blanca, and I guess I had to look at my face up and down in the mail start knocking Lieutenant start knocking on the door and he kept that you this early. And Grandpa couldn't see him cuz Grandma had a refrigerator that kind of blocked by the door. You couldn't really see out unless you was standing.
26:30 And grandpa said you mean labor you looking for the labels and the lieutenant said yes. Yeah labor and I didn't want to move. I don't want to in the house cuz I knew what he was coming to tell us my body knew but I didn't want him in and Grandpa was really getting angry at me me keep the offer La Puerta abre La Puerta San your kitten and he thought I was being very disrespectful and and I could explain to my parents if I have every breath. I can't I can't get to that door. And and finally, my father's kind of snapped me out of my I guess I kind of went blank and he said soften up West on the heat. So I finally walked over and I open the doors the minute. He saw him your brother just lost it I'll ever spear but she was such a strong woman and to see her fall apart like that was just horrendous. She literally she do you she knew that we could be to tell her so
27:19 Oh, that was so horrible and your grandfather.
27:23 All he could say was my son's okay write my son's okay.
27:29 I don't know tell if your son was killed in action, June 8th at such-and-such a time in your grab my son's okay write my son's okay, but then I got to snap out real quick because I saw my parents doing a disappearing. My mother was in total shock. My father was in his own shot and I was only 18 but I knew that I had to be strong and I had to be the one to pull the family together and my brother wasn't there because he's always been the one to pull things together. And your your uncle Exile was was too young. It was still in high school. So I thought it's up to me. So I called the doctor and I'm at Grandma taken to the neighbors came and they took her to the hospital. I tried to take care of Grandpa. I called everybody and. And they all said it was very very helpful for the last two weeks of June to us has always been there for me as a very hard month because I have all those memories up planning the funeral and and and
28:29 Helping the lieutenant. Why can't you remember his name now? But helping the lieutenant prepare everything for the funeral that would be, as soon as Ramones body could be returned to us.
28:41 And knowing of Rome one just for your stories and threw my kinship from being adopted. I've never really felt a part of anything except for Ramon, right and discovering now, he was way above his time kind of considered like a modern-day geek if you would into yoga into eating healthy. What can you tell me about his daily, you know growing up being the only sister with your brothers was very unusual for his time. He was a gentle soul. He woke up very early as a young boy by the time he was 12 years old he woke up at 4:30 in the morning cuz he was a a deliver the papers and back them. They had to wrap them with the spring. They didn't use rubber bands like they do now and they draft them and then when he was little old at 13, he got her old race scooter and he would deliver his papers. He always did yard work. He was an excellent student. He was very gentle he loved.
29:42 Which is amazing that you know, that's the way life goes because in many ways it's weird how you're adopted and yet you will have his coloring his hair was a little lighter in his eyes look Greener, but yet how you are loved animals and you love yoga and you love eating very holistic that was very similar to Ramon's way of doing things to he would have been so proud of you me. What would you say? What do you think he would say if he could see both of us now?
30:11 He would be so happy. I think that his when he was in Vietnam. He had found a he love children and I think that's the reason I gravitated to children because Ramon always loved children and that's what he wanted to be when he returned from Vietnam. He wanted to become a teacher. He had found a little boy an orphan little boy in Vietnam. Then Kim was 10 years old and have no parents adored this child and he wanted to bring them back with him. And I remember when Ramon was killed as much as it pains me. I meant as paid for this child this little boy who had found someone who loved him and wouldn't bring them back. I would do anything move mountains to bring them back. And now there was no one to bring them back. I always wonder what happened to Kim.
31:01 Do you know his name. All I knew his name was Kim and he if Kim were alive now if he survived that horrible War there can would probably be I would say about 50.
31:14 And one final question I have for you as an artist in as an amazing mother who I adore with all of my heart, you do a great job painting pictures of everybody struggle daily struggles in life in the body. Oh, you know incarcerated life through words everybody considers. You kind of like the video Madonna. How would you want your legacy to be? Well, I think basically I think all human life is worth something.
31:49 And I think just the fact like like what we're doing now, you know preserving life Humanities beautiful and I think I got that from my family for my brother and in adopting my children, you know, it was just that there's something there that is so beautiful and the Legacy I leave is just that love that begin with my parents, you know, and and I remember that love they had for you and I think the love we have for all of us. And again, I think you know just having a time like this. That's why this point I'd like to really thank storycorps for allowing us to have this time the space to share our stories to preserve people's lives their culture that are valid and despite the poverty despite the Discrimination despite whatever we all of us have had to live through that we have have we have something we are something and that we're moving forward. We're not being, you know stomped out because
32:49 We won't allow that and I want that to be the voice that people understand that that we are beautiful people and and we have a beautiful light within us. So thank you. Thank you for everything and thank you, and I know my brother Santiago Twitty at the wouldn't even would love to have been here to ask you some questions, but I just want to let you know that we are so blessed that you picked us out of all those little kids out there and you gave us a beautiful life, but thank you but a blessing for me.
33:26 We're having a school experience in a prison.
33:33 You mean the children in the school? They were our classmates believe it or not. Even in the 50s in Santa Fe. There was already so many Anglo children that no one spoke Spanish except us, but the teachers work really hard to keep us from speaking our language. In fact, I had a third grade teacher who came up to me once and told me she says, you know, Maria you do live in America.
34:03 And I said da I don't say anything. I just looked at her cuz I was taught not to respond. You you're very polite to adults whether you disagree that or whatever and she just said you live in America. So you need an American name?
34:17 And she changed my name temporarily to Mother Mary Mary Lou labor, but that wasn't me and my brother had already told me where we will never let anybody change our name so when we came back to but I loved it was a very hard thing because the teacher the principal at asked me what my name was and I had a I hesitated because I was so afraid cuz she was Angela I said, what do I tell mrs. Richardson of I say Mary Lou will she accept me or if I say Maria? That's my real name. Will it be okay, but when I said Maria she said Oh, what a beautiful name then I thought wow, that's okay. But already all the kids in the Sand by Ella. No one had a Spanish name because it had already been kind of far brainwash their parents that they have to give them Angela names.
35:05 How long did you live within the prison up to the age of 10? Cuz we would go back and forth. My mother being an albino had a very hard time and she don't have a hard time. We live in Santa Fe downtown with the prison was right downtown right there on Cerrillos Road because she could walk everywhere. But when the prison in 1956 when I was about seven years old, the prison was transferred way out of town and and she could not. There was no way that she could get to town back then. I mean now it's totally different you've seen it there wasn't 7-Elevens didn't exist. Where would she get a girl's sweet? She had to wait till my father could go and take her and he only got one weekend out of the entire month off. He didn't get every weekend like you people not get every weekend. He only had Saturday and Sundays once a month.
35:56 Do you ever feel awkward or did you think it was just normal living in the present? It did that. You are my brother's don't talk much about it. But I felt something was really wrong growing up there seeing these men incarcerated seeing them treated like especially that was really obvious to me when when they make the big move from downtown Santa Fe to the new Penitentiary because saw the men were transferred and cattle car and I remember seeing that and actually I didn't see it lie because we weren't allowed to go there but we could see the TV and I remember thinking but they're not I was only six seven years old thinking he saw humans. Why do we have to transport them like cattle? They're not cattle and there was something very very it just bothered me to see that. Humanity could be
36:49 So ugly and yet the ones we came in contact with in the new Penitentiary. They they were the ones trustees were allowed to come and clean your yard. That was very friendly and we never had any fear of them. We just know that in our house. We have two phones one with a direct line to the prison. So when there was somebody with a skate they would call us but we never really were afraid. We were just joking though because they will hit him over the head, you know, and it just happened several times. But nothing, you know, we were never really threatened. They would just go a different direction. But yeah, it was a very very especially when there was an execution. My father being the prison Co ketchup you have the food for all these people, you know, I mean the people were going to dye it and it was like that knot in my stomach like talking to eat. I mean, I really wanted to say but why are you even bothering and the funniest what will funny is the worst for me was when there was once a cool guy who wanted to rub
37:47 He want it for Thea's.
37:49 He wanted our food in a beans if you know, you know are red chili and my dad's been chiladas and my dad could do all that but he couldn't make the tortillas and I remember him coming home and telling my mom. Hi, Maria Luisa butter sauce and tortillas tortillas for that. I was going to die and my mom or your grandma you develop your where that stop stop. Stop stop and I remember sitting there and listen to Grandma's very in her hand. It was like just that pay knowing that she was going to have to make this man was going to die, but that's what he wanted and then grab that would describe and you know, you pretend like you on your child, will you learn to listen with your head turned the other way so they don't think it was about your listening ears and how they would bring in the Executioner and they would pick him up someplace at some point. He was brought in the minute. They picked them up and we'll put black hood over him cuz nobody nobody could know who he was because you also have to
38:49 Remember that the imprisoned element some of them are very very powerful and if they found out who it was that could go back with his entire family so that the Executioner was never divulged to anyone and at the time that had a gas chamber and the worst mistake my father ever did he showed us a gas chamber when that prison open? They had he took us on a tour. That was the only time I got to really see the inside of it and the gas chamber was actually at the bottom of this is the old penitentiary that's no longer used and there were three tiers of men and there were like, it was just horrible and they were way at the bottom and so when a guy was executed all everybody in prison would quit eating for several days that was a way of showing it was Unity with her fellow man who was killed my last question. But how do you think that influence just your outlook on life and you've spoken so beautifully about just like humanity and I'm having that you talked about in your in your poetry that you
39:49 Well, I think I decided that I could do to I actually became over religious because I have to believe that it was something they are, you know as a young child. I you know, I can fathom Def and inhale in all that horrible thing that people talked about so I became so super religious because I believe that if you'd we're going to die at least you had to go someplace nice and I still believe that and it made me want to be a better person that made me want to take care of people that wanted me to to nurture like I begin to believe that if I bet if we were nicer to people maybe we won't have prisoners if we get things in a nicer manner treated everybody with respect. Maybe they wouldn't have to live away. They had to live even as a child. Those were the fonts. It's crossed my mind.
40:36 Well, thank you very much.
40:41 This has been really nice for us.