Flavio shares the letter requesting his Mother's Hand in Marriage

In this recording and images Flavio Cisneros shares a Letter that was written in February, 1925, requesting the marriage of his mother, Corina Gonzales (later Cisneros) to Francisco Cisneros. The letter was scribed on behalf of Francisco’s parents (Adelaida Montoya Cisneros and Gavino Cisneros who could not write) to Mclovio Gonzales and Rosita Velasquez Gonzales (Uncle and Grandmother of Corina Gonzales and her wards after her parents died in the flu epidemic in May 1918). The letter is written in phoenetic Spanish. Below are scans of the letter and its translation. (Click on any image to see enlarged versions.)

Thank you, Flavio for sharing this treasure!

Camphor Bottles from Lovedia Quintana Cisneros [Audio]

Loveida Quintana Cisneros shares bottles of whiskey infused with camphor, a traditional medicine for common ailments.

Loveida Quintana Cisneros brought these bottles to a Community Memory and Story Sharing Event on July 8, 2018. The event was organized by Questa Stories and the Questa History Trail and held at the VFW Hall in Questa. In this audio recording, Loveida talks about the bottles of whiskey infused with camphor from her mother used for common ailments.

Celestina Arellano Martinez’s “At Home Shoes” [Audio]

Celestina Arellano Martinez, originally from Costilla, owned two pairs of shoes; these were her “At Home Shoes.” They were shared by her granddaughter, Jeannie Sanchez Masters on July 8, 2018 at the VFW Hall in Questa at the “Community Memory and Story Sharing” event organized by Questa Stories and the Questa History Trail. Listen to Jeannie’s brief description in the audio recording below.

Gathering Thoughts after Gathering Memories

In the middle of  summer 2018, when the land was bone dry and we dreamed of summer storms, the Gathering Memory: Object, Photos, and Story Community Workshop was held at the Questa VFW Hall. How many people would come on a Sunday afternoon, organizers wondered? Twenty? Fifty?

On July 8, 2018, the VFW parking lot filled to overflowing and more than a hundred people filed in with objects of significance – photos, shoes, lamps, quilts, love letters – along with their stories.

Participants sharing their objects and photos on July 8 at the Gathering Memory Community Workshop. Click photo to enlarge.

Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez, former New Mexico State Historian and native son of Questa led the event, inviting participants to bring a special object that held a memory about a person, moment or place, or a photograph that could be used to tell a story. He asked that people bring the name of one ancestor whose life held special meaning to them. The idea behind these particular requests is that storytelling engages and strengthens a community’s sense of itself, that we all hold a piece of history, and that community members are community historians.  

Left: Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez, presenting an eloquent introduction. Right: Room full of workshop participants.

At the height of the event, the wished-for rain arrived; everyone applauded until their sounds were drowned out by the drumming of the torrential monsoon. The wealth of stories, and the depth of individual and community history shared that day was as heavy an outpouring as that summer rain.

Questa Stories was there as well, to collect local stories for the online community archive. (Thank you, Sarah Parker for your diligent recording and editing – pictured at left.) We scanned images, recorded audio and took photographs of people with their objects. Now our work is to collate this collection and release individual stories as blog posts.

The day after the event Gaea and Claire sat together in Claire’s yard to reflect on this experience and the potential and purpose of the Questa Stories Community Memory Project . They recorded this audio.     

Audio Time Stamps
00:00 – Introduction
00:30 – Where did you grow up?
01:00 – What do you love about this place?
02:15 – Love of New Mexico, Discussion of Place
04:15 – What is Questa Stories?
06:20 – July 8 Gathering Memory Workshop, Rainstorm
06:45 – Extending an invitation to contribute stories, more description about Questa Stories
10:00 – Community Archive
10:30 – Diaspora Community
11:00 – Questa Stories includes surrounding communities – Cerro, La Lama, Costilla, Amalia
11:54 – End

The July 8 event was hosted by the Questa History & Community Trail (QuestaTrail.org) and its sponsors: New Mexico Humanities Council, Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area, and the National Park Service. The Questa History & Community Trail is a project of the Questa Creative Council, a non-profit organization (QuestaCreative.org).

This post has been re-posted on the Manitos blog, a digital Resolana (gathering place) for people, histories, and stories of northern New Mexico.

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
Interviewers:
 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 Carrie Leven

Carrie has lived in Questa for the past 25 years, where she works as an archaeologist. An active member of the community, she participates in annual acequia cleanings, trash pick-ups, and volunteer days, and likes taking photographs of nature and community happenings like the Healing Fields and the restoration of St. Anthony’s church.

Date of Interview: April 20, 2018
Interviewers:
 Gaea McGahee and Claire Coté
Location: La Sala, 2331, Hwy 522, Questa
Topics: Seasons, seasonal events and rhythms, acequias, archaeology, trails, Kiowa Trail, Forest Service, Earth Day, St. Anthony’s Church, El Magre

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
Interviewers:
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)