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An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988
  Real People

Ray Arriola

Ray Arriola

A tribute to Ray N. Arriola

—the family of Ray Arriola

The Placitas community lost a very dear friend on September 26, 2013. Ray Arriola went to be with our Lord, leaving behind his beloved wife Mary Lou, two sons; Ray and Adrian, one daughter; Alicia, two daughters-in-law; Vicky and Tarah, and five grandchildren; Julian, Andres, Autumn, Estephan, and Jenasie. As well as his father, Willie, a brother and sisters.

Some of Ray’s many interests included; hunting with his sons and grandchildren, coaching the girls softball team for Bernalillo Middle School for 14 years, and refereeing volleyball and basketball for 22 years for the NMAA. Ray’s kindness always made the kids he coached felt that they all had special talents to offer the team. 

Ray will be remembered as a hard-working family man. Ray was the sunshine in the lives of so many. Once you met him, you would quickly become his friend. Ray rarely thought of himself, always putting others first. Whether it was a shoulder to cry on or helping pull you out of the snow.

Ray was a big part of the Placitas community. He served as a board member on the Las Huertas Land Grant for many years. Perhaps, one of Ray’s favorite parts in the community was his involvement in The Posadas de Placitas for the past 20 years. This was a special piece of his heart that abled him to give back to the community he loved so much.  He took so much pride in making this Christmas celebration a special event for his family, friends, and strangers alike.

This year, Ray’s family will continue this time honored tradition in his memory on December 24, 2013. Any who are interested in taking part in the celebration is encouraged to reach out to Alicia Arriola at 505-903-3997.

Ray was compassionate, kind-hearted, cheerful, and full of life. Despite maybe having a bad day, Ray’s smile never faded. The sunshine that he emitted will live on in the hearts of the 100’s of lives he touched. 

Ray, you will be missed everyday of forever. The Arriola Family would like to express our deep appreciation of the abundance of love, support, and prayers that have helped us through this difficult time.

Martha Liebert confers with Tony Garcia (101 years old) at the Sandoval County Historical Society’s Voices from our Past program Photo credit: Karen Lermuseaux

Voices From Our Past

—Karen Lermuseaux

It was October 20, and the DeLavy house was full of people invited by the Sandoval County Historical Society to share family history. Pictures covered the walls and every inch of the tabletops in two rooms and in the entryway. Photos of the families from Angostura, the Rio Puerco, Cuba, Jemez Springs, Sile, Bernalillo, Corrales, Placitas, and Domingo documented the daily lives of their residents

Eva Bevington talked about living in Domingo, which is near La Bajada. She had been unable to walk as a child. Her family took her to see a priest, and lo and behold, she could walk. She remembers her mother sending her to get a bag of potatoes from the trading post when she was eight years old. The train was parked there, and she could not get around it, so she crawled under just as it began to move. She has many thanks for God for taking care of her over the years.

Orlando Lucero recalled that his father Max Lucero had been young when the influenza epidemic struck in Bernalillo. Max was called upon to make caskets for all the people who died. He later told Orlando that those people had been buried around the Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church. The remains were exhumed later and reburied.

Miguel and Ida Aragon were parents to Roannie. Roannie learned his first English word when he was about eight years old—Bathroom. I remember his mother Ida being my second grade teacher, and she was really an excellent one

Life in Sile, NM, was remembered by Miranda Sapien, who said she didn’t recall there being any fences—just footpaths that went from house to house. There wasn’t much for youngsters to do, but they did have homemade swings on the trees, and, as they got older, there were local dances. She had a bachelor uncle who lived down the road, and their family visited regularly on Sundays. He often played accordion for the family, and she and her sister were often sent to his home to take him things. She didn’t like to go because the house had a funny smell and was always dark. She later watched at the fence as the authorities emptied barrel after barrel of moonshine from her uncle’s house onto the ground. He was reported to have spent a few years in Alcatraz for that.

Tony Garcia is 101 years old, and it was a joy to have him attend the festivities. His daughter and grandson accompanied him. He grew up in Bernalillo in the house that the conquistador DeVargas died in. Tony remembers his father Antonio Garcia talking about two men who were horse thieves who had been captured and were hung on the hanging tree next to his home. Antonio said it was a sad thing, and that when they took the men down, they placed their heads upon an adobe as if on a pillow and put silver dollars on their foreheads.

Sam McIlhaney remembered his mother talking about her family near Farmington. His Mother and her siblings would skate up the frozen irrigation ditch during the winters and in the summer would build a fire near the ditch and cook frogs and drink coffee made in a can on the fire. One of his uncles lost two fingers to electrocution, and Sam’s mother had taken the fingers and placed them in a matchbox to bury.

We also heard from Rudy Montoya, Filimon Aguilar, Molly Andrews, Mary Alice Sanchez, the Georgio Rinaldi family, Jim Saiz, Ken Kloeppel, Ricardo Gonzales, and myself.

Gather your own family stories, watch for the voices program next year, and mark it on your calendar.

Screaming Eagles

In 2012, lifelong Peña Blanca resident Eraldo Lucero published Echoes of a Distant Past: Screaming Eagles—Vietnam War Memoirs 1969-70.

Lucero was a good soldier. After he was drafted, he declined an opportunity to avoid the war when Senator Joseph Montoya, also of Peña Blanca, interceded on his behalf as the only son of a single-parent family. He was motivated by duty, honor, and a father who fought the Germans on D-day.

Lucero leads the reader through the hellish jungle warfare as a member of the 101st Airborne Division in the last major battle of the war. He tells the story of the daily life of a foot soldier in a surprisingly matter-of-fact way, with few complaints, and no commentary about a war that many of us view as a mistake.

Lucero was decorated for heroism and returned to his young family in New Mexico, suffering from post-traumatic shock disorder. While suffering through recurrent nightmares, he managed to complete his master’s degree in counseling, raise a family of four, and become active in community affairs. He served as president of the Bernalillo Public School District in the 1980s.

Echoes of a Distant Past: Screaming Eagles—Vietnam War Memoirs 1969-70 is available at the local libraries and can be purchased by contacting Lucero at
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