Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Rest of the Story by Mary Louise Sanchez


When I was growing up, our radio dial was always tuned to Paul Harvey. Later he had a program called The Rest of the Story which showed Mr. Harvey was also a great history teacher, because in about three minutes, he told us little known stories about people, events, and things. I'd like to take you behind the scenes to give you a little more insight into The Wind Called My Name. 

 The pages and texts refer to the book and  The ANNOTATIONS are the Rest of the Story along with some pictures. 

TITLE-PAGE ANNOTATION: On the path to publication, my story was originally called Just Plain Maggie. This was a seventeen page, spiral bound story I gave my mom for Christmas in 1996. My brother Patrick drew about four illustrations. Around 2005 I renamed it Margarita's Gift, and later it became The Wind Called My Name.

Page 5 Claudette kicked up a trail of dust as she moved down the dirt roads. Abuela held her gold-colored statue of Mary, the Queen of Heaven, on her lap, but she should have been holding Nuestra Señora de los Dolores—because it seemed like our hearts too were pierced by swords.

ANNOTATION: My great-grandmother, Rufina (Maldonado) Maes brought her statue of Saint Mary to Fort Steele when she moved from New Mexico to Wyoming. It now belongs to my aunt, Phyllis (Sandoval) Aguilar Torres.

Page 12 "This is new," I said. I held my square tortilla up so everyone could see its shape. Papá smiled. "I made tortillas in the shape of Wyoming to welcome you. And square ones taste better than round ones."

ANNOTATION: To this day, my first tortilla of the batch I am making seems to be a square one.

Page 22 "They [torta de huevos] reminded me of how puffed up I was with myself and so sure I'd make a friend quickly."

ANNOTATION: This is a Lenten egg dish, typically eaten on Good Friday. It is made by mixing egg yolks into whipped egg whites with the addition of a small amount of flour. Dollops of this mixture are deep fried and topped with a red chile sauce.

Page 27 I caught a glimpse of myself in a long mirror. My dress, which used to be Felicita's reached just above my knobby knees. My hair looked like Ernesto's with the same bowl cut. 

Page 50 (a letter from Margarita's grandmother, Cruzita Cardenas Sandoval, who stays in New Mexico and is learning English.)

July 15, 1934
Dear Margarita,
          Thanks to God the family is together. I am busy with Blanca. She give me much  milk to make cheese. I sell all my cheese to the artists who paint pictures of our mountains.

ANNOTATION: As a child we visited my great-grandmother in El Carmen, New Mexico where she milked her white goat and gave us warm goat milk to drink. I was turned off from drinking any milk for a long while after that experience. However, now I wish I could get raw goat's milk to make fresh goat cheese like you can find in rural areas of New Mexico. It's delicious!
The artists I'm referring to are artists like Georgia O'Keefe who made northern New Mexico their new home. 

Page  115 She [Miss Shugart-teacher] got up from her desk and walked between the rows. "As you know, after the Civil War, some of those soldiers came right here to Fort Steele, to protect the men who built the railroad. Students, raise your hand if someone in your family fought in the Civil War."

. . . "Phyllis, you had your hand raised," Miss Shugart said. Felícita stood up and said," Our great-grandfather Jose del Carmel Cardenas fought for the Union at the Battle of Valverde."

ANNOTATION: This is one of my ancestor's papers showing he was entitled to a pension from the United States government for his service during the Civil War. The map shows where he fought in New Mexico.

Page 8 . . . and he [Alberto] sang a song called "Beyond the Blue Horizon," which he said he heard on the radio.

ANNOTATION: In my research for songs from the 1930s, I discovered this tune was made popular by Jeanette MacDonald and would have most likely still be played on the radio in 1934. The song also became popular in recent times. I played the song for our granddaughter, Emily, and asked if she had heard it. She hadn't, but I said I was going to put the song in the story in homage to her 2018 graduation from Horizon High School. My editor suggested I cut the reference, but I explained that Alberto might have tried to show how savvy he was with pop culture of the times and could have sung the song to his family. I must have done a good sales pitch to my editor, because the reference to the song stayed in the story! On YouTube, enjoy this 1930 Phil Spitalny version from the Paramont Production of "Monte Carlo". 
Beyond the Blue Horizon

Page 23 Alberto cleared his throat. "At least we have it good in Fort Steele. I read in the paper where some mejicanos from Durango who live in Worland have to pick sugar beets, if they can get work at all. They're trying to send money home like us. But many of them were sent back to Mexico—even some who were born here in the United States—just because there isn't enough work. The townspeople don't want to help them, especially since Wyoming is hurting from this Depression. They think Mexicans should go back where they came from.

            I thought about that girl asking me if I was from Mexico.

ANNOTATION: "The 1930s also saw an unprecedented deportation program that targeted those considered "aliens." This was especially acute in sugar beet communities where in many cases sugar companies and local charity organizations coordinated repatriation to move Mexicans out of depressed areas. The deportation drives disproportionately focused on Mexicans—regardless of citizenship—due to the racialized view of them as "welfare dependent" and the proximity of Mexico."

Merleaux, Sugar and Civilization, p. 248; "Mexico Offers Aid To Its Subjects," Worland Grit, January 6, 1938.

Page 55 He [Mr. Sims] kept driving north until he stopped near a big house made of pink stone. It had three levels of windows that led up to a tower. People were eating under a covered porch.

            Caroline clapped her hands. "This is where the rich Ferris family lives. Everyone calls this the Ferris Mansion."

ANNOTATION: This beautiful Victorian mansion is in Rawlins, Wyoming and was built from sandstone found nearby. When I was in kindergarten, my teacher, Miss Lila Lantz, lived there. There have been some scary stories published about the house. Later it became a bed and breakfast inn.

Page 55 Mr. Sims drove down the street and turned right. "That's the big house," he said, nodding to a building nearby. It stretched from one corner of the street almost all the way to the next corner. 

            "This mansion is bigger. Who lives there?" I asked.

              Caroline laughed. "Prisoners. That's the state prison."

            "It must hold a lot of people."

            "Yep. That's why it's called the big house."

ANNOTATION: The Wyoming state penitentiary is located in Rawlins, Wyoming. As a girl, we often sat on the penitentiary grounds in the summer where the penitentiary band entertained the townspeople. The prisoners must have had lots of time on their hands to practice their instruments! When I was in college, my parents moved to a house about two blocks from the pen. Even though I was born and raised in Rawlins and my uncle, Pete Lucero, was a guard there, I never saw the inside of the old prison until it was turned into a museum after the new penitentiary was built.

Page 97 Back in the kitchen, Mamá read the ingredients on the box [Bisquick]. "This has flour, shortening, salt, baking powder. . . . Yes it has everything we need to make tortillas."

ANNOTATION: Bisquick was invented in 1930 and was still popular in my family in the 1960s when I got married. My mother's cooking advice to me as a new bride was to have a box of Bisquick handy. I also fondly remember how my mother's eldest sister, Ruth (Sandoval) Lucero sometimes made her tortillas from Bisquick.

Now you know some of the rest of the story to THE WIND CALLED MY NAME. I hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I'd love to see your comments (hopefully positive) on Amazon or Goodreads. Please click the link to see a synopsis of The Wind Called My Name.