Esther Garcia – Riding the School Bus in Winter

In this segment of the Voices de Aquí series, Esther Garcia shares memories from her childhood of wild school bus rides in winter.

We are so grateful to Esther Garcia, for sharing these memories of her childhood and family; it is a gift to those listening now and in the future. Her memories add to our understanding and appreciation of the history and heritage of Questa.

This story was recorded in November 2019 during a Women’s Tea Story Sharing event at Yoga Sala in Questa; recorded and edited by Claire Coté.

Esther Garcia passed away on January 5, 2020, a month and a half after co-hosting this event. A powerful love for the people and history of her home place seems, to us, to have been a core conviction in her life. Esther celebrated and studied her roots, family and community history. She was a fierce advocate for land and water, acequias, culture and traditions. Her work and words have left a lasting mark on our hearts. We are grateful to have known and worked with her.

This summer, we’re listening together to the voices of our neighbors; every week we share a different short story from our community with Voices de Aquí. Join us for the short broadcasts at Questa Farmers Market on Sundays or here, on our website.

Huge thanks to our collaborators at Questa Farmers Market, Gaea McGahee and all the musicians at the market for allowing us to plug into their sound system to broadcast the Voices de Aquí weekly segments.

We are also grateful to our funders! Voices de Aquí is made possible by support from the LANL Foundation Community Outreach Grant, Chevron Grants for Good and Taos Community Foundation IMPACT Grant.

Interview with Bud Wilson Part 1

Bud Wilson was born in 1925 in the suburbs of Chicago, but forged his connection to the land and people of Northern NM when he was just 16, while accompanying his high school teacher on a research trip to San Cristobal. Bud served as a Navy Pilot, attended medical school and became a surgeon, practicing heart and general surgery for fifty years. He established surgical programs in New Mexico, Colorado, and India. In 1947 Bud began to buy a ranch in Lama NM and in 1985 Bud and Barb (his late wife) founded the Sangre de Cristo Youth Ranch Summer Camp, which continues to this day.

Interviewee Name: John “Bud” Wilson
Interview Date: February 20, 2020
Interviewers: Daniel Hutchison and Claire Coté
Interview Location: Bud Wilson’s Home in Lama, NM
Topic covered: Bud’s life story, Lama and San Cristobal history, Northern NM in the 1940’s, Heart Surgery, International Travel.

Bud Wilson Interview Part 1, Time Stamps
0:00 Intro

0:01 [Born approx. 1926] Grew up in the Northern suburbs of Chicago, high school student when he came to NM for the first time with his teacher, who was doing PhD research on DH Lawrence; so that took us to San Cristobal.

0:3:30 Bud worked in Kansas as a farm hand when he was 15, with an elder cousin. Put up 17 haystacks and filled a barn with hay. Teacher ran a camp that Bud helped with.

0:07:06 Summer of 1942, Bud spent time in Latir/Sunshine Valley area on his own at 16 years

0:08 Took campers on backpacking trips including to Blue Lake/Forest Service

0:14 Met wife to be in Jenny Vincent’s kitchen

0:15  1947 Helped with Jenny Vincent’s Summer Camp

0:18 1948 Bud Completed College/Applied to Medical School
Discussion with Romero Family
Took Fabi Romero and other kids to the dance

0:21 Story of becoming a doctor – heard that a young woman died in childbirth, left a couple of kids without a mom, no doctor available, saw a local need. This sealed the deal on his decision to go to medical school.

0:22 Bought Lama Ranch Camp land from Reyes Martinez, who had been living on it for some years.
0:23:30 Nickname of Reyes Martinez was “The Fox” because we would turn the water on the ditch at night

0:24:26 Bud graduated in 1943 and knew he would go into the military. He enlisted in the Navy Aircorps program. He had been selected to be a night flyer if he had stayed in the military as part of the “Black Widows.”

0:27 “We had times when we were less than careful” in training.

0:28 Night flight story – daredevil

0: 34:00  Medical School and buying land in Lama

0:38 Camp Inspiration, including horses, eights weeks with travel time

0:45 Becoming a heart surgeon – medical school in Colorado, 12 years

0:47 Research on shock and heart, Denver, CO

0:49 Time India – medical school, heart-lung machine, 1965-67

0:56 School/Life for kids

1:05 Attended Gorbachev meeting (announcement of Peristroika), 1985

1:14 Time in Sweden

1:15 Monkey pet from India

1:18 Jako the monkey, Grandmother’s

1:25 Revisiting info about childhood and college

1:32 Heart Programs in NM
Sourced his philosophy from CO partners he’s worked with – everyone was equally valuable in the group and got the same salary, very different from most professional groups at that time. Took this philosophy when he started a private group in Albuquerque. Started first heart surgery program in NM; two other people had tried to start a heart surgery before and it didn’t work out.

He started a program at UNM (called Bernalillo Indian County Hospital at the time), very under-resourced and primitive conditions. Then moved to Presbyterian help start their programs.

1:44 Sterling Edwards joined UNM after Bud left UNM (father of Wyman Edwards 1:46)

1:48 When doing the camp with Iliu Romero, Bud (while still in medical school) met the Taos early doctors, description. He worked with Dr. Al Rosen and Dr. Deveau, good GPs in Taos.

1:50 Bud’s “Open ether” fainting story when helping with a surgery in Taos in the early days

1:52 Bud’s reflections on going into medicine, going where help was needed

1:55:30 Advice from Bud “Make choices for your life that help make the world a little better….one thing after another.”

1:58 Discussion of ¼ Mile hike up to his house through the snow.

Oral History of Kate Cisneros, Part 1

Kate was born and raised in Cerro, NM, went to school in Cerro, then Questa High School, was married at 18 and soon after became a mother of two children. She worked as a cashier for much of her life and then went into cooking, which she loves. She takes seriously her responsibilities as a mother and with her volunteer work in her community. At the time of the interview, she was the co-director of the North Central NM Food Pantry.

Date of Interview: June 14, 2018
 Gaea McGahee and Claire Coté
Location: Home of Kate Cisneros, Questa
Topics: Life story, family, food pantry, community, traditional foods, family traditions, local traditions, traditional foods, food preservation, early memories, school, then and now, creativity with food

Oral History of Flavio Cisneros, Part 1

Flavio Cisneros is a retired history teacher, veteran, community leader and wonderful cook, committed to recreating traditional foods from his childhood in Questa.

Date of Interview: May 31, 2018
Gaea McGahee and Claire Cote
Location: Home of Flavio Cisneros
Topics: Life story, family, local oratorio, 1918 flu pandemic, traditional foods, local traditions, early memories, military service, education, life philosophy

(1 hour 24 mins)