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 remember that my mother’s eldest sister, Ruth (Sandoval) Lucero sometimes made her tortillas from Bisquick.



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. I guess the prisoners 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. I never saw the inside of the old prison until it was turned into a museum after the new penitentiary was built.

Wyoming State Pen


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.

Ferris Mansion



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.

Civil War pension application



Page 50 (a letter from Margarita’s grandmother, Cruzita Cardenas Sandoval, who stayed 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 find in rural areas of New Mexico.

white goat


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 have been 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. IMG_0007She 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. IMG_1038My 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 might have sung it to his family. The reference to the song stayed in the story!