Of Eastern New Mexico
Family News Alert:
James Armijo passed away earlier today, January 26, 2010. He was the son of Steve and Precy Armijo. 1956-2010
Memories of Grandma and Grandpa, Mom, Junior, Charlene, Tara Lynn, John, Jeff, CeCe and Tweety.
A trip back in time to the days when our parents were children and Grandma and Grandpa were young parents living on a Ranch in De Ramadero, New Mexico. Featuring Music by Sal and Sidro Garcia from the cd "Back Where We Started From."
Josephine Armijo Johnson recorded this in Nashville in 1978. Country and Western. "Look But Don't Touch."
John Armijo is on the flip side of the record with "Johnny Was A Casanova"
The Armijo's of eastern New Mexico in 1990.
La Casa De Louis Armijo
In memory of Frances and Louis Armijo.
Antonio Armijo (Welo) and Marina Armijo (Wela), our Great Grandparents, never met before their wedding day. The marriage was arranged by their parents. Marina was only 12 years old and Antonio was a teacher who taught her everything she knew. Antonio Armijo’s family were all well educated and had money from livestock. He had studied to be a doctor and was also a Justice of the Peace. He performed countless wedding ceremonies, and Marina was a midwife who delivered hundreds of babies in the surrounding area. They were very generous people and had a store in Derramadero, New Mexico. During the Depression, they gave out hundreds of dollars in credit to people who could never afford to pay them back. The debt that accumulated was a substantial amount of money back then and Welo and Wela finally had to close the store.
Antonio and Marina had two children, who both died, and they couldn’t
have any other children of their own, so they adopted Louis Garcia(Grandpa) when
he was only a year old from Marina’s first cousins Christina and Joselino
Garcia. They also adopted one girl, Pancha and raised Jose Sanchez
Jr. also known as Jody.
Louis Armijo and Frances Lucero were married in Encino, New Mexico, in 1928. Louis was 19 and Frances was 16. They moved to Derramadero and lived on a ranch after their marriage. Their first daughter, Josephine, was born in Encino, New Mexico, two years later. Steve, Teri, Laute, Mary, Angie, Eddy, and Josesito were born in Derramadero and Cecelia was born in Vaughn, New Mexico. The times were hard and medical treatment was not readily available in rural areas. Teri died at the age of 4, Mary died when she was about a month and a half old, and Josesito died shortly after birth. The deaths were the most sorrowful thing the family had to endure. When a death occurred, Grandpa had to build the coffin and dig the grave. The neighbors helped too, and some of the family would decorate the inside of the coffin with whatever material they had available while the rest of the family prepared the body. They usually had Mass about once a month, when the priest came by. If anyone had died, the priest would bless the grave. The family’s tithe came from their harvest.
One day the younger children were out playing and Grandma Frances was
hanging clothes out to dry when she saw an unfamiliar man coming down from
the mountain. She told Angie and Laute, who were only about 4 and
5 years old, about the stranger and they ran inside and hid under the bed.
She hurried to finish hanging the clothes so she could go inside, too.
Wela was inside cooking lunch. Grandma rushed in and told her and
Welo that a strange man was coming down from the mountain.
The man then knocked at the door and Welo greeted him and invited him to come in and eat with them. The man had long wavy hair and a beard and was olive complected. He was dressed in shoddy clothing and looked like a tramp carrying a large bag. After he came inside and sat at the table, Wela gave him a large plate of rice and beans and some tortillas. Welo asked the man where he had come from. The man replied, “I come from Everywhere.” Then Welo asked, “Where are you going?” and the man said, “Wherever.”
He never looked them in the eye.
His gaze was fixed up toward the sky or down toward the ground. He
ate a large meal but spoke very little. After the meal, he thanked and blessed the family, and picked up his bag and left. The family went out to see which direction the
man had gone, but he seemed to have disappeared. Welo asked the
surrounding neighbors if they had seen the man, but no one else had. They
all thought about how much the man had resembled Jesus.
Grandma and Grandpa played records on a hand-wound RCA Victrola and danced to the music for entertainment. When Grandpa brought home the family’s first radio, everyone gathered around and listened to it. The radio was battery operated, because they had no electricity. It had a big round dial, and Grandpa said to Grandma, in Spanish, “Look at that dial. In later years you will be able to see people perform and dance there.” Grandma laughed and said, “Que se me figura.” (or, sarcastically, “Oh Sure!”) She didn’t believe him, but he had predicted television.
During those years, Grandpa Louis labored as a farm worker, building fences and maintaining the lagoon so the livestock would have water to drink. In about 1937 he went to work for the WPA, building roads and bridges and digging ditches. In the 40’s he helped to build the highway between Encino and Clines Corners. Later he went to work for the railroad as an assistant manager and had his own crew.
After Welo died, the family moved to Portales, New Mexico. Wela
died in February of 1963. Grandpa Louis retired from the railroad
in 1966 at the age of 53. He then continued to work as a concrete
finisher and contractor until he retired permanently in 1975 at the age
of 62. Even after that, he continued to work by helping the family
with whatever he could; he also took some of the children and grandchildren
out to hoe weeds or work in the broomcorn fields.
Eddy Armijo, Johnny Gonzales, Israel Payen, Jimmy Gonzales, Louis Armijo and Steve Armijo
All his life, Louis Armijo was blessed with a musical talent. He could pick up any instrument and play it by ear. His favorite was always the accordion, and he played the saxophone regularly for many years. In the 30’s and 40’s, he and his band played for dances, weddings, and parties. He formed a group called “The Rocking Flame” which included Eddy Armijo, Johnny Gonzales, Israel Payen, Jimmy Gonzales, Louis Armijo and Steve Armijo. They played at weddings, election campaigns, and special occasions until the original group broke up.
Grandpa never gave up on music and always kept a band going. Over the years, he had many, many band members and taught several people how to play various instruments. Eventually his daughters Josie and Cecelia joined the band and they played regularly at Carosco’s Bar and Elsie’s Bar in Clovis, New Mexico. The band also played for countless weddings and parties and at the county fair.
Grandpa Louis Armijo has won several medals in the Senior Citizens Special Olympics in various categories and has received a certificate from the Governor of New Mexico for outstanding citizenship. He was honored in the Pioneers Day Parade and was accompanied by Grandma Frances, Josephine, Angie, and Cecelia.
The Armijo Sisters, left to right: Josephine, Cecelia, Angie
Written By J. Armijo with contributions by Frances Armijo, Josephine Johnson, and Angie Gonzales. Design & Layout by J. Armijo. Published: July, 1995
The Armijo Coat of Arms
Songs by Sal & Sidro Garcia from the CD "Back where we started from..."
Video: The Decendants 1 & 2
The Armijo Family Celebrate the Birthday of Grandma Frances - "Mi Ranchito"
The Louis Armijo Family story entitled "Americana" now on DVD. December, 2006
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