Thursday, March 14, 2013

Who's been doing what and why

 This organizing and purging has taken a lot of time.  It's telling that a frequent comment I've been hearing is "where've you been?" or "what you been doing?"  Don't give much of an answer because "I've been dusting cobwebs off of old clothes", isn't much of a conversation starter.

Been sorting through family pictures.  Found some worth chuckles and others that have brought tears.

Then are the ones like this one of my Great-grandmother Bernardina Moreno de Villa  ( Mama Nina) and my Cousin Esiquio Villa, Jr. (Zekie). They are standing by the adobe that my Great-grandfather Luis Villa built; making adobe for home was one of the jobs he held.

Well, that's been my assumption, but it could have been built by him or one of his compadres.  None of the Villas who lived in Las Animas was financially rich.  Many of them worked in the beet fields in addition to doing light construction work.  Now that's a bit of a paradox, isn't it?  Construction in the heat or the rain of a plain is never light.

I look at the photos and like so many other folks who find photos that are a generation removed from fact givers, I find myself with bunches of questions.

Who took these photos and why are the two that come up most frequently.  How did folks who were so poor have their picture taken and then were able to retain a copy?  Our friends have suggested that the field image was commercial in nature.  Perhaps, but it's not really highlighting the beets.  Was there a circuit photographer that shot images of workers and then was paid for copies?  Was it a friend who took the photo?

The image of Mana Nina and Zekie was taken prior to 1921 in Las Animas.  There is another image of her that looks to be taken on the same day, except she is holding him.  Again, I'm amazed that folks of such limited income had these.

All of these thoughts led me to "squirrel" moments which slow down the organizing.  I want to find out  the "why" and researching facts does not help to organize last year's papers.  Time to file away the questions - for a while - so that I can finish filing away the papers.


  1. I haven't looked at my old photos for a long time. Not enough "squirrel moments," I guess.

    My dad always told me his family were "dirt farmers." Their place did look crappy--Depression, Dust Bowl. But they had photos.

  2. My dad and I, being city kids, saw plants growing in the fields we would see when we traveled to relatives or were on vacation. My mom would proudly name them off as we went along. It took a long time for me to understand why my mom had such a skill.

    Perhaps we both love photos because they've been such a part of our families for a long time?