My Family History
The original blog was created Thursday, January 20, 2000. The following has been edited and rewritten for clarity.
Grandpa Andres Montoya abducted Grandma Chonita off of a ranch in Gomez Palacio, Durango, Mexico. She was fourteen years old at the time! This was akin to a marriage proposal. This was like being swept off your feet by a knight in shining armor! I have no idea if they had any form of courtship before this. He must have known her prior to riding off into the sunset with her. This was during a time of arranged marriages. This may be a folk tale, But I heard that Grandpa and Grandma crossed to the U.S. on a ferry. This could well be true because the Rio Grande was just that,, big and wide with few bridges. Records indicate that they crossed in 1910. The revolutionaries, Pancho Villa, Zapata, and various bands of outlaws were in control of Mexico. They did not think well about educated people and were suspicious of anyone with higher education or skills. I think my grandfather was a civil engineer. He was involved in the laying of the railroad from the interior of Mexico to the United States/Mexico border. He was skilled and did not fit in. He feared for his life and that of his family, so he fled to the United States. Mexico was in turmoil from 1910 for at least two decades.with divisions among the various revolutionary bands.
Grandpa and his wife wandered around West Texas, I heard, in a horse-drawn covered wagon. I can’t imagine traveling in a covered wagon. SoI will leave it up to the reader’s imagination. There were only dirt roads at the time. They made one stop along the way, in Stanton, Texas where my Dad, Andres Montoya was born. No records exist, as the courthouse burned down along with all the documents! So Dad has two birthdays. One for his own birthday. The other related to his enlistment in the Army during World War Two.
Grandpa and grandma wondered Texas, I don’t know how long, before settling down in El Paso, Texas. They set up a homestead, our home at 3204 ½ Frutas Street that soon became a duplex. It was a narrow lot. Eventually, a single home was built in front. This was where my dad and his brothers built and an adobe duplex. Uncle Raul and Aunt Mary lived on one side, and Grandma and I on the other. Other family members lived there too at one time or another. I did not arrive there until some time after February 1944, when I was born. I was too young to recall much.
My earliest childhood recollections are I two events. One of this game that I was playing with a pretty kitty. This was at Grandma Margarita Ochoa’s home on San Antonio Ave. There is where I spent my very early years. That area no longer exists being demolished by the North-South Freeway. My first memory was of my being up on a swing and playing jump on the basins. Stuffed in between the basins was this furry white cat. It was a beautiful white cat and I did not think about hurting the cat. I must have been close to four years old at the time. The second memory is of finding ants in my pants after sitting on an ant hill. Don’t know why I would ever logically do that. These two memories endured. And these tied me into my Grandma Ochoa’s home. I kind of remember living there for a while before moving to Frutas Street. I must have spent a lot of time there too because I recall playing with my uncle’s Hector and Efrain. I remember my aunt Lily being there. Most of all, I remember grandma’s sweet smelling cedar chest where she kept special linens and doilies. She made the doilies. My mom, Consuelo died when I was two years old. I must have been living here when that happened.
After my Dad came home from the war, and shortly after my mom’s death, the house at the front of the lot on Frutas Street was built. My Dad had remarried. Grandma Chonita soon after grandma took us in. She felt that Andy, my older brother and I were being neglected. And so my brother and I were raised by Grandma Chonita. Actually, we lived between families because Grandma and I live on one side of the back duplex and My dad and stepmom lived in front.
Grandma Chonita below.