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PECOS, Jan. 21, 1997 - Calderon is a name associated in the minds of
many with education. Six children from the Eligio Calderon home earned
college degrees, and their children are continuing that tradition.
Eligio Calderon knew the value of formal education, which he was denied
as a child. Orpaned at age 6, he taught himself English and to read and
Working as a railroad laborer, he continued his education by reading
and taking home study courses.
Through his persistent efforts to establish a school for
Mexican-American children in Pecos, his descendants gained the formal
education he was denied and became space engineers, attorneys, investors
Several family members gathered at West of the Pecos Museum in December
to honor their forebear by donating his membership certificate in the
Masonic Lodge to the museum's Hispanic Room.
Arnie Calderon, the eldest, is the only one of the six children and a
grandson the Calderons raised to stay in Pecos. He is a longtime barber.
Salvador Calderon of Newport Beach, Calif. is an engineering
contractor. He graduated from UTEP in 1954 then served four years in the
U.S. Army before moving to California.
He said that his father was a student of the Bible as well as music and
"He was a student of the Masonic Order and used to have discussions
with visitors who would come from out of town," he said. "They would
stop in to see him and debate issues in the Masonic Order. They valued
his experience and knowhow."
The youngest child, Bertha Calderon Trevino, is a guidance counselor in
the San Antonio ISD.
"My father was a visionary that was an all-around person," said Bertha.
"On the lighter side, he was witty. He loved music...he was a fine
musician who mastered several instruments, including the violin,
trombone and piano."
She said he placed such a value on education, "I never doubted I would
continue my education beyond high school, because he had instilled this
desire from a very early age," she said.
Larry Moralez, a grandson raised by the Calderons, also attended the
ceremony. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska and is in
business as Diversified Claims Inc.
"Thanks, Pecos, for my basic education," Moralez said. "It was so sound
I was able to compete on the college level and beyond."
Hiram "Greg" Luna researched the educational system in Pecos and found
limited opportunities for Hispanic children in early in the century.
"Records indicate that the Mexican school was opened for only 60 days a
year in 1917," he said. It was named "Union y Progreso," and Mrs. S.E.
Wilson was the teacher. T.Y. Yoe was superintendent.
Twenty-five-year-old Eligio Calderon moved to Pecos in 1910, after
working as a farm worker in Balmorhea-Saragosa area, a ranch hand around
Marfa and for the railroad in El Paso.
He worked for the railroad until his retirement, seeking always to
improve education opportunities for his children and other Hispanic
Arnulfo recalls attending a school at the home of Mrs. Rafaela
Martinez, who taught arithmetic and phonics. Salon Union y Progreso was
later located in the 500 block of Walnut Street in a small adobe
Calderon was a member of «MDUL»Luz y Paz«MDNM» (Light & Peace) Masonic
Lodge located on the second floor of the Marcos Martinez home on Sixth
Valuing education as he did, Calderon worked with his friends and lodge
members toward developing a proper school for his ethnic group. He
brought attention to the inadequacies of a one-room school with no
desks, where students sat on benches.
A new Mexican school was built with Works Progress Administration funds
in 1936. Years later, it was named Earl Bell Elementary after a Pecos
Calderon's oldest daughter repeated the last grade at Earl Bell because
there was no secondary school for her to attend. Calderon pleaded with
individual school trustees to educate his daughter, and Conseulo was
then passed to the seventh grade.
She and a friend, Amalia Aguilar, graduated Pecos High School in 1942.
Consuelo (Brand), now of Atlanta, Ga. and Eliza Moralez of Austin, were
unable to attend the ceremony. Another sister, Raquel Calderon Parker,
"The memories are very sweet, and with a lot of love and fondness, we
recall how hard he worked for his family. He was always progressive and
never dwelled on anything negative," Bertha said.
"He was a wonderful inspiration. He always said, `I want you to have a
better life than your mother and I did, and you can only accomplish this
through an education,'" she said.
By listening to news on the radio and reading a Spanish newspaper
published in El Paso, Calderon kept up with world and local events.
Salvador said his father helped build and finance a community hall for
Hispanics, where weddings, baptisms, dances, Christmas parties and
receptions were held. He was secretary-treasurer of the center for over
"That union hall was also the first school for Mexican-Americans," he
said. He recalls attending school in the building.
Calderon took his family to church at San Pedro Methodist, where he was
"He used to play trombone when we would sing hymns," recalls Luna.
Arnie Calderon said his father got a tremendous amount of support from
church groups, both in and outside Pecos.
"He was a happy man who was strong," said Bertha. "He never felt sorry
for himself and believed in change through peaceful methods. And he
never sought credit. This is the first time he has been honored."
Salvador said the school board first offered to open a Mexican school
for only a dozen families and asked Calderon to choose who could attend.
But he refused, saying the school must be for all children.
"He had a lot of support from individuals in the English-speaking
community, but they always swore him to secrecy," said Salvador. They
said the couldn't afford to support him publicly, but they said not to
Peggy Calderon, an El Paso CPA, was the only one of Arnie's six
children to attend. Others are Michael, an oil explorer in Wyoming;
Byron, an El Paso attorney; Ruben, an administrator in the El Paso
school system, and Geoffrey, a teacher at Sul Ross State University.
Between them they have 12 children.
The couple have two children, Frank Stewart Lively and Mary Denize
Clements and two grandchildren, Tama Lynn Clements and Trisa LeAnn
They moved to Pecos in January of 1961 and resided on Duval Road for 25
Louis was a contract pumper, who later became co-owner of Canal Well
Service and Lanac Oil Company. He retired in 1991.
Pearline worked as a drug store clerk in the early years of their
marriage. She later became a full-time mother and homemaker.
A new calendar year arrived very quietly at our house, but it was
pleasant to sit watching the giant ball of light in New York make its
descent by way of television. During the Christmas week we had family
and friends to visit for several days. That was great fun.
For many years television has provided the entertainment for New Year
morning because of a fascination for the Rose Bowl Parade. This year was
no exception. We did go visiting that afternoon as friends invited us
for one o'clock dinner. Yes, the black eyed peas were a part of the meal.
By the way, where did that custom start? That is something which I will
have to check. Whether eating them really brings good luck we do not
know - many times through the years the wonder has occured "what would
have happened had we not included the peas in our meal?"
Football has been a topic of conversation on so many occasions that you
know I really like the sport but this year just about cured me of any
appreciation for the game. The bowl games used to have meaning - this
year the entire situation left me somewhere way behind. I, who used to
be so tuned to which teams were playing where, finally admitted there
was no rhyme nor reason for the number of games. Can you believe twenty
college team bowl games?
I can remember when it was really something to listen to the Rose Bowl
by radio. In 1949 we attended the El Paso Sun Bowl game for the first
time and saw the next seven parades and games (until we mvoed to Pecos).
That was really a fun time - going early on New Year morning to find a
parking place for the parade, eating lunch at Ashley's Restaurant on
Montana Street, then join the passenger car parade to the parking lot at
Kidd football field at what was then Texas Western College.
Memory fails about the Orange Bowl starting date but I do remember about
the Cotton Bowl game in Dallas. This year I did not understand why Texas
University had to play in Arizona and "foreign" teams played in the
Cotton Bowl. No one asked me about not having the Cotton Bowl parade
anymore either. Then this year saw the demise of the fabulous Orange
Bowl Parade and the extraordinary half-time show we got to be amazed by
for several years. I am still upset because there is no Southwest
Conference anymore. All change is not necessarily good.
Recently our publisher, Mac McKinnon, wrote about going to Carlsbad to
enjoy the pontoon boat tour on the Pecos River. The cruise started at
Pecos River Village which is a turn of the centry park with specialty
shops. For fifty minutes the tourists got to view the colorful
transformations which private home owners arranged for the month of
This event has gained enough interest that it was included in the
December issue of Travel America, a national magazine. The work of some
dedicated, community minded Carlsbad people has really paid off.
Everywhere across the entire country, it seems there is a renewed
interest in tradition and also a sense of pride in who we are and where
we are. There seemed to be more of a spirit of caring and sharing
noticed during this past holiday season. This truly makes for better
communities and, eventually, a better world.
For Christmas I received the book by Lewis Grizzard entitled "Southern
by the Grace of God." The chapters are complete by themselves and can be
read over and over. From the time I first discovered his newspaper
column he has been a favorite writer. I clipped and saved so many of his
columns that, when he died I felt was though I had lost a close friend.
Another book I have been persuing lately is one that was published on
Jan. 17, 1896, the Fannie Farmer 1896 Cook Book. For many years I had
read about this book but for one reason or another never got a copy. Now
I have a re-print copy. It is based on information from actual classes
at the Boston Cooking School where Mrs. William B. Sewall was president.
Classes were instructed in three courses consisting of twelve lessons
each. To emphasize when this school was taught the first class in Plain
Cooking started with "The Making and Care of a Fire." My, today we would
question, "you mean besides turning a knob or pushing a switch?"
Fannie Farmer was persuaded to write this book by educators, pupils and
friends, not to be "a compilation of tried and tested recipes but that
it would awaken an interest through its condensed scientific knowledge
which will lead to deeper thought and broaden study of what to eat."
Much of what I learned early about cooking was by observation of work
done by both mother and grandmother. From that I can understand much of
this vintage book. When I actually began cooking after my marriage much
of my efforts were trial and error but I really wanted to learn to be a
good cook. If the Fannie Farmer book had been a part of my library maybe
there would not have been as many errors.
Reading this "new" book I have learned things that make me thing, "wish
I had known that when -."
Through the years I have collected many cookbooks, some of which I
consider to be real treasures as they have been compiled by friends in
various organizations. Now they are sort of "memory books."
Still on the subject of food - in the book, "Our Marvelous Century,"
there is an article with pictures of early advertising of foods which is
still in use. The oldest shown was the ad for the Victor Talking
Machine, or Victrola, which shows the dog listening to "His Mother's
Voice." This dates from 1904 but is not (probably) recognizable now by
many people because of the evolution of music and how it is transcribed.
From 1905 an American eagle over a shield and arrows, emblazons a
Flexible Flyer banner which identified the ultimate in steel-rimmed
sleds. A label that is still well known is the one of Gold Medal. In
1906 a pretty young woman with an apron over her pink frock held a sack
of flour. Until 1928 the Washburn Crosby Company manufactured Gold Medal
flour. The company then merged with several other companies to form
General Mills but since that time has continued to use the gold circle
with the blue printing as the product label.
Other early day ads still being used include the cute little yawning boy
holding the tipping candlestick and an auto tire and the question "Time
to Re-Tire?"; a yellow chick and the slogan "Hasn't Scratched Yet" which
pitched the gentler scouring power of Bon Ami; and the sailor boy with
the sad-faced do which immortalized Cracker Jacks.
The 1908 song, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," inspired this crunchy
confection. In 1912 the company began adding in-box prizes and in the
late 20s the picture of the sailor boy began to be seen in publications.
Morton Salt Company began using the girl with the umbrella in 1914 with
the slogan "When It Rains It Pours." Through the years the image of the
girl has been modernized.
According to this article the Breck Company is the oldest of the
cosmetics advertisers. The profile of the blue label is reproduced from
a painting of a 17 year old young woman named Roma Whitney. This is from
1937. Next listed was the drawing of women with the question, "Does she
or doesn't she, (use hair coloring?), This offend some but did wonders
for Clairol sales.
Early in this century when America was discovering it was an economic
powerhouse advertising became a surging growth industry. Some companies
began to regularly use talented artists and writers to create pitchers
for their wares; others hired one of the numerous ad agencies to create
the words and pictures that would sell their products, services or
ideas. By 1950 American advertising expenditures amounted to 5.7 billion
dollars. So far in this decade the annual figure has surpassed 100
Personally I find reading advertisements in paper and magazines almost
as interesting and informational as the regular articles. I cannot say
as much about television advertising. The sponsorship money is
necessary, of course, but being beaten over the head with repetition
soon becomes a turn-off rather than an incentive.
Fortunately, every so often, someone comes up with a cute, clever, novel
combine of words and pictures to catch your attention.
January is a busy time for many youngsters who belong to the 4H and FFA
groups - enjoyed the news of the Balmorhea show, looking forward to the
Reeves-Loving Show results. The Brown County Youth Fair was held the
week before last. I even know four entrants here so I guess I will
eventually feel more at home. Both organizations are so important for
young people, both in learning and doing.
I thought too late to do brief histories of the sponsorship groups but
couldn't find when the 4H or FFA came into being in any of my books then
I could not get to public library.
About the weather - Can anyone remember such a prolonged bad spell in
our part of the world? Just seemed we all moved to the north country.
The sun is shining here today but temperature is very low and more cold
predicted. I commented to a Brownwood native "we didn't usually have
such spells last so long in West Texas." She replied that we don't
either. Anyway, one main topic of conversation has been weather.
The Brown County Medical Center has organized an auxiliary group called
Senior Friends which I have joined but it has not taken off in great
leaps yet. They have monthly luncheons, game days, are starting craft
classes (weather cancelled the first one of these). The Outpatient
Center building has classrooms. I have met quite a few people - just
hope some will become friends.
Before another column time arrives we will have had Mardi Gras,
Valentine's Day, President's Day, besides Groundhog Day, the Chinese New
Year, probably something I have missed. Today, it has been only 67 years
since the planet Pluto was discovered.
On Jan. 4, 1790 President Washington delivered the first State of the
Union address. On Jan. 11, 1964 for the first time, the U.S. Surgeon
General warns of the dangers of smoking (people are going to do what
they want to do).
In 1925 Mrs. William B. Rose of Wyoming became the first female governor
in America. In 1923 on Feb. 16, Howard Carter opened the tomb of Pharoah
Tutankhamen in Egypt. We could have celebrated on Feb. 13, the day the
first public school started in 1635, Boston Latin School.
What classic TV series debuted in January of 1952?
Since I can't write to you as friends I love I will use Valentine Day as
the excuse (or reason) to include me in my admonition, please - Love One
SEADRIFT, Texas - Hettie Mae Walker was recycling long before it became
The 88-year-old Seadrift resident has been making toys, games, jewelry,
trinkets and all kinds of fun stuff from things that might have ended up
in the trash for years.
``I don't throw anything away,'' says the woman who is known as Aunt Mae
to everyone in town, and a multitude of others who came under her rule
during the 32 years she taught school.
From rolled newspapers, she makes batons and picture frames; dryer lint
becomes the stuffing for soft balls; juice cans become attractive foot
stools and the list goes on and on and on.
Colored paper is a prized commodity. Rolled tight and strung with tiny
nuts it becomes a necklace.
``I started making things when I was 6, sitting in front of my
grandmother's fireplace,'' Mrs. Walker said. ``I had a rocking chair.''
``No. I don't throw away anything. You can tell by looking at my
It is neat and orderly. There are boxes upon boxes, each carefully
labeled with its contents. Brown paper bags are ironed and stored for
future use. Clean plastic jugs of all shapes and sizes hang from the
In one corner, there is a tall stack of mattresses made from cotton
samples Mrs. Walker gleaned through the years. They're great for slumber
parties, she said.
But that's not all. There are two houses behind hers that are crammed
full of things Mrs. Walker plans to use someday, says her great-nephew
``You don't take a can of Coke in her house. She'll take it away from
Mrs. Walker's friend Nancy Henson nods in the direction of four antique
ironing boards. ``We don't have trash,'' she said. ``Nothing is thrown
But what does one do with burned out light bulbs and cigarette lighters?
That's a complex problem. And until an idea strikes Mrs. Walker's fancy,
they'll remain in storage.
But Mrs. Walker doesn't keep everything. Each Halloween, she opens her
sprawling screened-in porch overlooking San Antonio Bay to the kids of
the town. They are invited to pick and choose from tables loaded with
the handmade geegaws. Last Oct. 31, 500 of them came. Each was allowed
to take home eight items.
That's 4,000 things ... all made from something that might have ended up
in a landfill.
Mrs. Walker and her husband, the late Doc Walker, had no children. ``We
loved children. We wanted them, they just never got here,'' she says.
Her hands are never idle. When she gets too tired to continue to work
evenings, she turns to crocheting - something that does not require keen
eyesight. Hundreds of potholders and pillows are the result. They too
are labeled and stored in boxes for Christmas gift-giving.
One passion she no longer pursues is oil painting, but her work is
displayed on every wall of her home. There are portraits of family and
friends and landscapes and seascapes.
On a chest in a bedroom, dozens more are in a tall stack. And what do
you suppose they are painted on? Canvas or art board? No way. Mrs.
Walker uses the backs of cereal boxes and the like.
On Nov. 12, during the national recognition day for recycling, Mrs.
Walker was honored by the city of Seadrift as the ultimate recycler.
On the occasion, she said, ``I've had a good life. All my life has been
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