Thursday, March 17, 2016

Book Review: MORE THAN A TICKET MEMOIRS FLYING WITH AMERICAN AIRLINES FROM PROPS TO JETS


Best Friends in Animas, New Mexico


 
To my very best friend Argie,

On my first glance at More Than A Ticket  I was thrilled to see Chapter one, A Young Girl from Animas Valley. I love coming home remembering riding the old school bus an extra hour to spend the night or weekend with you. Sometimes your mother was helping us sew matching garments. It was a time when education, honesty and integrity was uppermost. Our mothers worked untiringly to provide nutritious meals and a clean inviting home, requiring of us the preparation of table, set carefully with a clean ironed white cloth. We had the privilege of contributing to family life - - the industry of the home. I love to remember sitting around the table enjoying the wonderful homemade bread, meat and vegetables, even apple pie!! Don't forget the conversation and laughter, and the fun we had!

Our hardworking fathers, whose word was as binding of a contract, exemplified honesty and integrity; and expected the same in us, requiring respect and courtesy. I love to remember our brothers coming in with the white foamy fresh milk and working alongside our fathers.

On Saturday when we sewed or you did the mountain of ironing, we could always take a little time to play the piano and sing.

My hope as I have read your book more than once is that today’s generation could see the worth of a work ethic. It was your background that made it possible. “Get up sister and make something of yourself!” and you did.

Love,

Carol 

And that is the way it was in days gone by; work, work and then play before the sun goes down. We did not have a television, only a radio to listen to the western music as we made up the dance steps which the kids today think are new. No, we made them up in those country kitchens as we danced our lives away. The memories touch my heart in a way which only the good ole western music can trigger. Carol and I were cheerleaders together as we used our creative words to yell as our basketball team would win their games and sometimes "not."

The good looking, tall one on the back row is C.L. Hoskins.


  Chapter One

A Young Girl from Animas Valley

I grew up on a ranch in Animas Valley in southern New Mexico with my
brother, Charles Leslie, or C. L. for short. I was born in 1935 in Deming,
New Mexico, in the midst of the Great Depression, the same year that Franklin
Delano Roosevelt signed off on the Social Security Act. We were poor
of means, but I didn’t know it at the time, and I don’t remember ever going
hungry. We had little, but that was how things were for everyone we knew.
My wise parents, Al and Edna, instilled in me the values of honesty and hard
work. They taught me the importance of staying clean, keeping out of debt,
being a good citizen, respecting the flag, appreciating America, and minding
manners, including “please,” “thank you,” “yes ma’am,” “no sir,” and “how
can I help you?”—phrases that flow naturally from me now.

My parents descended from immigrant ancestors who had sacrificed and
worked hard to become part of our great United States of America. They were
self-reliant, responsible, and principled. And they had faith in God. I grew up
feeling the love and depth of belonging to a good Christian family. I made the
choice to follow those teachings.

Most often Mama and Daddy taught us by example. My Daddy taught
me to keep things in order to accomplish a task. Tasks were done with strict
discipline, a legacy Daddy inherited from his mother. She was a German lady
who understood the nature of success. So in our home, obedience to the task
was demanded and expected. C. L. knew the way out to the smelly barn to
shovel manure, and I knew where the ironing board was waiting. I would iron
Daddy’s and C. L.’s shirts way into the night with an amiable attitude, listening
to western music. We weren’t given the option to be lazy, and I have since
learned that those who do not learn to internalize discipline cannot focus and
accomplish goals.

Mama had an intuitive soul and good judgment. She taught me to think
outside the box. I can still hear her voice echo in my memory, “Sister, if you
cannot do it one way, you can do it another,” “Think before you act,” “Think
of others before yourself,” and “Do your best!” Mama wasn’t perfect, but she
hung in there and kept trying until something worked. It was hard work, but
it was worth it.

From November 1951 to August 1966, Daddy worked as a windmiller for the
Victoria Land and Cattle Company’s Diamond A Ranch in Animas Valley.
He took his job very seriously. It could be a dangerous venture, climbing up
a windmill tower to repair whatever was needed. One of Daddy’s cowboy
friends said of Daddy, “Al would tell me what he wanted to get done. He
would than tell me what he was going to do, tell me what I was going to do,
and then say, ‘Now be careful!’” When I look at pictures of Daddy I like to
look at his large hands; a former windmill helper told me that Daddy had to
cut the tops of gloves to fit his hands.

When a windmill needed to be fixed, Daddy was in charge of seeing that
done. It was too far from town to get new parts, so Daddy would design and
weld a new part, which often worked better than a new one would have. Once
a mechanical engineer, having watched Daddy at work, said that he was outstanding
and clever with his mind and hands. Sometimes Daddy would even
invent what he needed if there wasn’t a tool available on the market.

Before he was a windmiller, Daddy worked from April 1939 to November
1951 as a machinist in the Kennecott open pit copper mine in Santa Rita, New
Mexico. He welded in overalls which he always managed to keep clean. He was
a machinist by day and a mechanic by night, working on cars at home. While
Daddy worked and welded, Mama sewed gowns for the wives of the Big Bosses.

Mama was a professional seamstress. She taught herself to sew and earned
a degree via mail from The Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences,
a division of the International Correspondence Schools, in Scranton,
Pennsylvania. My memories of our kitchen table are of it covered with her
coursework for dress making and designing. Mama taught me to sew as well.
I remember the hours I spent on the sewing machine—and the hours more
ripping out the wrong stitches. But my Mother’s tutelage paid off. After we
got electricity, I made the most lovely of lovely prom dresses in my room. I
still have two of Mama’s textbooks which I display on my dresser, Sewing for
Profit and Decorative Stitches and Trimmings.

Our home had six rooms. Two of the bedrooms were made out of adobe
bricks. One of them was mine, and I had painted it yellow. These rooms were
very old and unique, with very thick walls which provided adequate insula-
tion. This form of building had been used by the Indians and Mexicans for
hundreds of years.

Because the walls were so thick, the window sills were deep enough for
various potted plants to sit on, and they gave a colorful touch to my yellow
room. Through the walls, my brother and I would always say good night to
each other and our parents; our bedrooms were so close we didn’t need to lift
our voices to more than a mere whisper. How I loved my small, charming old
adobe bedroom. I loved our whole home! There was no telephone or electricity,
but we had the warmth of a gas heater to keep us warm. We drank raw
milk and lived off the land, the “Land of Enchantment,” where the power of
nature is amazingly stated and graced with beauty both on the land and in the
sky, my home!

C. L. and I had a wonderful childhood, and as we came of age we attended
New Mexico A&M in Las Cruces, now known as New Mexico State Univer-
sity. I have some great memories of that time, including yelling my lungs out
while the Aggies played ball on the basketball court. One of those Aggies was
C. L. who was there on a basketball scholarship. I also loved western dancing.
When we’d go to the dances, C. L. and I would show off our dance routines
that we originated in the kitchen back at the ranch. The kids at college thought
I was going to the dances with two guys; my date would dance with other girls
while I was “kicking up a step” with my brother. We danced the hours away in
our stylish clothes—western shirts for C. L. and skirts, blouses, and dresses for
me—which had been sewn for untold hours by Mother for us so we could look
our best at college. Some of those skirts were made out of chicken feed sacks.
Back in those days it was really good material, and I felt like a beauty queen.

Around this time I learned about and joined The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints. I was drawn to this church because it embraced and taught
the values with which I had been reared, and my heart was touched by the
emphasis placed on families, family history, and compassionate service. It was
a change, but in some ways it was no change at all. I credit my parents for the
solid foundation of faith upon which my life has been built.

I’m so grateful for the environment in which I grew up. Each morning,
as Daddy would light my bedroom heater, he would encourage me with the
greeting, “Sis, get up and amount to something!” This was the standard
of my day, my year, and my life. He taught me the lessons of obedience,
industry, and independence. I listened to his words of common sense—how to
perceive, understand, and judge things are emblazoned on my spirit.

One of the highlights of my childhood and growing up years was the summertime.
Every year, my parents worked hard and saved money so we could
go on a road trip highlighted with National Parks. We would jump waves,
get stung by jelly fish, have sand fights, race on beaches, talk to people, make
up games, and argue about who saw the ocean first. We would visit family
and get to know distant cousins during Fourth of July celebrations where
we’d nearly burn each other with our sparklers. We visited museum after
museum—sometimes boring and sometimes exciting. And we’d admire the
many glaciers, mountains, rivers, and streams that cover our nation. I learned
to love an adventure. My heart was always looking for another way to see the
world, and sometimes I would wonder, “Where will I find my path of adventure
and independence?”









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