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When I was a little girl my Uncle Rafael Sena bought me this cute, chubby Indian bank. He told me that the little Indian girl looked just like me; his Indian baby girl or "mi India." I was a chubby little girl when I was young.

See the pictures. LOL! He, of course, said it very lovingly.

I would put change in my Indian bank. One year I wanted to take my money out of my bank, and I had to use a knife to cut the hole bigger at the top of my bank. My poor bank still has the hole in her head. Ouch!!!! I always, always think of my Uncle Rafael Sena when I put my spare change in my doll bank. He was a very special uncle to me.

Well, I am almost 70 years old, I still have that Indian bank, and I still put my change in it for the year.

I have carried that Indian bank with me since I was little girl and would never, ever give it away.

You know, I never think, even to this day that there was anything meant racist, or that I was different from this doll bank, as I call it. I just loved it and I still do. Now, that I know that I am 43% Native Indian or Indigenous, it makes me even more happy.

I hope you enjoy my story and my pictures.

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This event is being held on April 29, 2023, San Elizario, TX (FREE ADMISSION).

These two places are recommended:

  1. Best Western East El Paso, Clint, TX, phone number: (855) 516-1093, or

  2. Casa Piro (air bnb), Socorro, TX only a one bedroom one bath adobe house.

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Emily was born in Romeroville, New Mexico. Just a small town outside of Las Vegas, New Mexico. She was born at home and was raised by her parents, Jose Catarino Romero and Victoria (Lobato) Romero.

I asked my cousin, Emily why she decided to join the military? She stated that she was eighteen years old, had graduated from high school and wanted to go to college. She did have a few scholarship offers; however, her parents couldn’t afford to send her to college. She understood, but she still had to figure out what she needed to do to get a job. She had a good friend from high school that had joined the Marines; so, she decided to join the Marines. It was her friend who gave her the incentive to join the Marines. The disappointing part of joining was that she did not get stationed with her friend. They had separate assignments.

She stated that she wasn’t sure what her parents would say about her joining the military. She thought her dad would be the person who would not support her decision, but it was her mom. She stated that her dad told her that she should do what she thought was best for her. She was so happy he supported her. Of course, her mom was just worried about her young daughter going off to the service and being far away from home. After all, she was a young lady (18 years old) and right out of high school.

She stated that this was one of the best decisions she ever made. She grew from being a "naive" young lady to a mature woman. Emily experienced meeting so many new people, places and cultures. She left Las Vegas, New Mexico, then off to South Carolina, then to North Carolina, and then finally Washington, D.C.

These were definitely new experiences. She was so excited about her job, making new friends, and that she was earning an income and had benefits.

Emily served in the U. S. Marine Corps from September 8, 1955 to August 16, 1957 as a Private First Class.

She entered boot training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (M.C.R.D.), Parris Island, South Carolina. She was assigned to the Woman Recruit Battalion, Platoon 12-A while stationed in Parris Island, South Carolina.

Group picture of Platoon 12-A.

After completing boot camp, she was transferred to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Her position at Camp Lejeune was handling the coding for bill of lading. It was a tedious job; with lots of paperwork, but a necessary part of supporting the mission of the Marines and other military agencies.

Emily was then transferred to Washington, D.C., where she worked in the “Disbursing Office.” Her position was to handle all the paper work for new recruits and other personnel being transferred to another location.

Emily, was given a “hardship honorably discharged” from her position in Washington, D.C. on August 16, 1957.

Emily stated that she really enjoyed the military and it was a great experience.

I just want to add that I was so proud of her and what an opportunity for a young lady of her age to leave home for the first time and join the Marines! Wow! What an accomplishment for her at her young age. My mom (Della), always had her military picture hanging in our home. She too was so proud of her niece, Emily.

This picture is: starting from left to right of Emily (top left), her mother, Victoria (Lobato) Romero (top right); her Grandmother, Melquedes (Madrid) Lobato (bottom right); her Great Grandmother, Refugio (Encinias) Madrid (bottom left) and Emily's son.

I told Emily that she comes from a great line of strong and independent women.

Emily Romero Barela and I, Lynda (Sena) Kouba are first cousins.

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Welcome to the GSHA Blog. This is for YOU to share your genealogy news.  Share your stories and  photos. You can send them directly to the GSHA Blog Editor, Lynda Martin-Serrano.

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