My grandma, Beatriz Arellano Valdez was my father’s mother. She was born March 6, 1896 in Costilla, New Mexico, to Luciano Arellano and Margarita Manuelita Mondragon. She was the second oldest of six children. My grandma “B” as we affectionately knew her, died when I was an eighth- grader, on Christmas Eve 1961. I recall that it was a sad and sorrowful Christmas Holiday for our family. To see my dad (my hero), cry through the holidays, was tearful for me as well. I know in my heart that Dad was her "consentido".
My parents moved to Avondale, Colorado from Costilla in 1950, and my father's parents followed us to Avondale, shortly thereafter. Together, my father and his father bought five acres in Avondale, which had two houses. Our young family of four moved into one, and my grandparents moved into the other. Living next door to my grandparents allowed us (my brothers and sisters) to see them every day, and this was good. Most New Mexican families were, and are, connected to their extended families, so, this was not new to my parents.
I had just turned fourteen years old in December of 1961, when Grandma B died. I remember her as a kind, generous, and loving lady. She always shared her homemade desserts and candy with us. Grandma B was a short lady, with rather dark skin and blue green eyes. Her hair was always pulled back and she wore a kind smile. Grandma, a comforting woman, would always stick up for us kids; especially when Grandpa Ignacio, also known as, “Nacho” would make us cry. Most of our family photos show Grandma B with her grandchildren. She had twenty-three at the time of her death. She and Grandpa Nacho had fourteen children, ten of which survived to adulthood. There are many cousins in the Valdez side of my family, we are still close to this day. This picture is of my paternal grandmother, Grandma B and some of her grandchildren. It was taken at our house, in 1959, in Avondale, Colorado.
As I research our family tree, I wish I could have known more about her and her side of the family. Her side, the Arellano’s, is quite intriguing. Arellano family stories tell that Mariano Arellano (Grandma's great-grandfather was one of the "primero poblador" of Costilla, in the late 1840's.