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Memories of Granpa José Ignacio de Loyola Valdez

The above picture is of Grandpa Jose Ignacio Valdez. As you can see, the picture is of the 1912 Costilla Base Ball Team, which he played on. He is the man on standing second from the left.

José Ignacio Valdez was born July 31, 1891 in Costilla, New Mexico, to Francisco Valdez and Cecilia Santistevan. He was the older of two children. Grandpa “Nacho” (Ignacio) died July 27, 1966 in Pueblo, Colorado. My dad, Fermin, and Grandpa were quite close. They jointly bought property in Avondale, Colorado, and raised crops. I remember Grandpa as a fair skin man with blue green eyes. He was of average build, strong, and always well dressed. During the warm weather days, he wore a straw hat with a black hat band; he also wore shirt-arm garters to keep his sleeves up. He resembled a “black jack” dealer many times. My dad would tell us that he loved to gamble. Perhaps it was from those experiences that he chose to dress in such a way.

My grandpa outlived my grandmother by five years. During that time, we kept him company, as well as his daughters and grandchildren, until he died. I remember Grandpa as a stern disciplinarian. During spring and summer days, my younger brother and I were almost forced to work out in the field, hoeing, cultivating and irrigating the crops. I recall when I was 11 to 14 years old and working out in the field during hot summer days. He would keep my brother and me out there until he was satisfied with our work. There were times, however, when my mother would rescue us from the heat. Mom tells me of some arguments she would have with my dad over this. I think Dad wanted to take her side, but he didn’t want to offend his dad. Once, I remember my brother, LeRoy, (while hoeing some plants), we “RAN” into our house when Grandpa went into his house. We told Mom that it was too hot, so she told us to get up into the attic and she would talk to him. I wasn’t there to hear her discussion with Grandpa, but she tells me that, at that moment, she put her foot down! She told Grandpa that we would help him, but not during the hot part of the day. Finally, we were saved. So, from that point on, we would wake up early, go do our work, and come into the house during the most intense heat of the day. We would also work in the evenings when it would be a lot cooler. Those were the days! I know we learned some “character-building” ideals, but what a way!

I have struggled to find much genealogical information on Grandpa Valdez’ side of the family. I know who his father and mother were, but I am having difficulty going beyond his father. On his mother’s side, I have been able to trace to his grandfather.

In spite of the harsh treatment Grandpa Nacho gave us, I have fond memories of him. I wish I could have learned of his family from him.

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