Mondays for Me ~ Geronimo III

TucsonMy husband and I had been married about 7 years when he was offered a job in Phoenix working for a magazine. After a lot of thought, we decided it would be a good move for us. I had lived in Tucson, AZ most of my life, and I was excited about living in a bigger city. However, I knew I would miss a lot of things about home. The week before we were to move we decided to visit all of our favorite places in town. We had a busy week, but we also had a lot of fun.

On the day before the move, we decided to take a drive out to one of aguaro_National_Park_East_Entryour favorite places, the Saguaro National Park that was just west of Tucson. It isn’t your typical type of Park, instead of trees, it has thousands of 95-foot tall Saguaro cacti sprawled out over the mountains. Old Tucson Studios is located right in the center of it. Many famous movies and old television shows have been filmed there. My two favorite ones are “The 3 Amigos” and “The High Chaparral”. At the entrance to the park is a stone wall on each side of the two-lane road with a large sign stating all the rules. As we approached the entrance we noticed there was a new addition. There was a large tepee on the side of the road. The sign in front said ‘‘Stop and visit Geronimo III in his tepee. Grandson of historical Apache chief Geronimo I.’’. Out of curiosity we pulled off the road and went up to the door. Next to the chair by the front door were 2 signs that said ‘‘No smokin, no drinkin’’ and ‘‘Introducing the grandson of Chief Geronimo. This man is full of history, wisdom, and love for all mankind. Photographs $2 a pose.’’

3 generations of GeronimosBefore we knocked a voice boomed, “Come in”. When we entered the tepee it was like walking into the past. Apache rugs were everywhere. On the wall, as you enter his tepee, he had hung the things he valued most in life. A framed letter congratulating him on his centennial birthday, signed by Nancy and Ronald Reagan, and a picture of the presidential pair, also signed. And bigger than the mementos from the president and the first lady, much bigger, an ancient photograph of this man as a baby, riding beside his grandfather–Geronimo. The tall Apache entered the room wearing the traditional dress of the tribe. Before we could say anything to him, Geronimo III looked at George and asked “Why do you have a mustache?” All George could say was “What?” Geronimo then explained that he knew George had Apache blood in him and that it is a disgrace for an Apache to have facial hair. He then introduced himself as Geronimo the third, grandson of Geronimo, the great chief. He invited us to sit on some old chairs, and he told us a few stories about his Grandfather and tales of a few years spent learning at Geronimo’s side. We bought a few items from him and we left.

We can’t say for sure that this man was really the Great Grandson of USGeronimo, but it was an interesting experience. The next day we moved to the Phoenix area. About 2 weeks later my husband came up to me while I was doing dishes and said, “I’m going to shave my mustache.” I laughed and told him to go ahead. He had said the same thing to me almost every day since we met Geronimo III. Before I had finished with the dishes he came out of the bathroom, and he had shaved it off! I started screaming because he looked so different. He said he really thought about what the Apache had told him and he decided to do it. My husband George is Hispanic and both Yaqui and Apache Indian! He never mentioned that to the man. It has been 27 years since this happened and he still keeps clean-shaven.

Geronimo III died on February 2, 1995, at the age of 115.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Monday’s for Me ~ Beware, I Warned You!

sagu06Back in 1960, we had some relatives come to visit us in Tucson, AZ. To be totally honest, I don’t remember who they were or whose side of the family they belonged to. I have only met them this one time, and what I do know is there was a husband, a wife, a son about my age, and a daughter who was in her early teens. So, you may ask why would you write about people you don’t remember. Well, I may not know their names but I sure remember the visit.

I know they had made their first trip “out west” from the mid-west. It20190530_114710_Film3~2 was wintertime in the desert, and they were amazed at how warm the weather was. For us, it was a little chilly at about 63 degrees. The incident I remember most was us packing up stuff to go and have a BBQ out at one of the campgrounds in the Saguaro National Forest. The campground had been made by the young men who participated in the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the early 1930s. Our plan was to cook hamburgers and hot dogs over the open fireplace and eat chips and potato salad, then spend the rest of the day hiking in the desert.

SaguaroI remember how excited these people were to see such tall mountains and the large variety of cacti that dotted the sides. They were in awe at the Saguaros that stood over 40 feet tall and had multiple arms that didn’t even begin to grow until the cactus was 75 years old! After we gave them specific instructions such as “don’t run in the desert”, “kick over any rock and look for scorpions before you pick it up” and “be sure to bring your canteen of water with you”, we headed out. All we heard was horrifying screams because his bare legs were covered with the cactus.

The only way to remove the pods is to use two sticks and grab them Cholla cactusand pull hard away from the person and yourself. If you’re not careful, they will “jump” onto you. After you remove the pods, then you have to use tweezers to pluck the needles out. It is both painful and time-consuming. Thankfully, my mother always carried tweezers in our first-aid kit.

This incident has stuck in my mind all these years and I can only assume this has also stuck in his mind also.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Monday’s for Me ~ My Brush With Death

Inkedhome map_LIWhen we moved to Tucson, Arizona from Missouri when I was 11 months old, my parents bought a house in a new subdivision in the southwest area of town. Well, to be accurate, the area was still in the county at that time but by the time we moved away, it was in the city limits.

Having been born and raised in Missouri, the son of a farmer my Dad loved to grow things. In Missouri all you have to do, or so it seemed, was to put some seeds in the ground and something would grow. It didn’t require a lot of care and watering, just weeding and some fertilizer. Our house was located on a corner lot. The street was actually a “u” shape so if you were to drive by our home you could see every part of our yard. He decided to make an oasis in the desert! It was a shock to my Dad when he decided to plant some fruit trees, and they died within the first two months. He also planted grass seed and nothing came up. He ended up having to do something he had never done before….go to a garden shop and ask what to do!

Over the next few years, Dad really did make an oasis out of our yard. Cactus-Rock-Garden-Design 2We had several large trees and one tall palm tree. He was able to successfully grow 2 peach, 1 plum, and 1 apricot tree. He made flower beds along all the exterior walls, and he finally gave in and planted a cactus garden. We were the envy of the neighborhood because our entire yard was lush green grass. We had a common chain link fence that ran between us and our neighbors on two sides. Dad planted a hedge that ran the length of the fence to provide a little privacy for us.

hedge 2I used to spend my weekends out in the yard helping my Dad. I was probably more of a nuisance but I thought I was helping. I would pretend I was a princess and I would walk around my kingdom looking for treasure. Sometimes I would hide one of those penny machine rings in the bushes and then be excited when I would “find” it. This came to an end one Saturday morning when I had my brush with death.

I was about 6 years old and I was helping Dad in the yard when I thought I saw one of the rings I had hidden in the hedge. I immediately went into princess mode and I walked around acting like I was out for Mantis_Mantisa stroll because being a royal was really exhausting and I needed a break. I walked over to the hedge and stuck my hand in to grab the “ring” but I didn’t find anything. When I pulled my hand out there was this huge, green, alien sitting on my little finger. It bent its triangular head and bit me. I screamed, threw my hand up as hard as I could, and ran to my Dad! He grabbed my hand and the alien was still attached, so he pulled it off, threw it on the ground, and stomped on it. I got hysterical, convinced I was about to die.

It took a while but I finally calmed down, but then I got mad. My Dad was laughing at me. He then explained that the alien was actually a praying mantis and that it was harmless. He inspected my finger and confirmed there was no bite. I would live!!

Confession time, as old as I am, I still have a strong aversion to praying mantis.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Mondays for Me ~ La Fiesta de Los Vaqueros

rodeo picIn February every year since 1925, Tucson, Arizona has held a Rodeo and a corresponding parade. Back when it started, the town was still considered a frontier town. The first Tucson Rodeo was held in the middle of Prohibition. With so many visitors expected, decisions were made to clean up the town. Arizona State Prohibition Director Frank Pool led a force of federal officials to town two weeks prior to the rodeo. The Arizona Daily Star reported that 25 stills were captured and an estimated 3000 gallons of moonshine destroyed.

When it first started it was a 3-day event. The first day began with a 2-mile parade Parade 2through the downtown area then turning south toward the Rodeo Grounds. Since its inception this parade has been the world’s longest non-motorized parade and the largest outdoor, midwinter rodeo in the United States. Each year the procession grows and it includes such old horse-drawn vehicles as buckboards, surrey’s (with or without fringe on top), western wagonsstagecoaches, and Conestoga wagons. All floats are pulled either by hand or by horses and of course there are many cowboys and officials on horseback. There are also many marching bands. The highlight of the parade is the float carrying the “Rodeo Royalty”. After the parade, everyone goes to the Rodeo Grounds for the actual event.

As a young child, I always looked forward to the parade. The Rodeo/Parade ran cowgirl mefrom Friday through Sunday. Since this was a major event for the town, on Friday we could wear our “western” clothes to school. Back in those days girls were not allowed to wear pants or shorts to school so it was a treat to wear jeans! In the 1st and 4th grades our class rode the school bus to Downtown to watch the parade. Another exciting thing to do for a kid who only lived 3 blocks from the school! When we returned to school we would have a picnic type lunch in the classroom, then spend the remainder of the day learning the history of rodeos’, Vaqueros (cowboys), and the western way of life.

rodeo pic 2As an adult, I took my 3 children to the parade and to watch the rodeo. My Dad had taken us a few times when I was younger and I wanted my children to experience it also. When I was 20 years old I participated in one of the marching bands, playing my clarinet. I gained respect for all those who perform in those bands. It wasn’t easy to march at a brisk pace, playing a wind instrument for 2 miles. Today the Rodeo is a 7-day event and still draws thousands of rodeo fans each year.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.


Monday’s for Me ~ Isn’t That Special?

Me1Remember the Church Lady from the early days of “Saturday Night Live”? She definitely was a little strange. I do remember a couple of women at the church I grew up in resembling this character. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only strange thing about the church. As a young girl, I didn’t realize it. We had only attended this one, so it wasn’t until I was 19 and started going to a totally different style of church that I realized how different it was.

We started attending Park Ave Disciples of Christ Christian Church in Tucson, AZ right after my family moved there when I was 11 months old. Of course, I don’t remember much about it until I was about 5 years old. My first memory was sitting in the second-row pew with my parents and sister. The young kids had to wait until the singing, oldladys singing 2offering, and communion was completed before going off to our Sunday School class. On this day we had a “special music” time and two women in the congregation got up to sing. I have to be honest, as a kid, I thought the music and songs we sang were boring! I had high hopes that this would be different. The music began and it really wasn’t that bad. Then one of the ladies began to sing….she hit a high note that could break a glass and it was way off-key. By instinct, I threw my hands over my ears and my face cringed. My mother tried to pry them off, but I was determined that I would do anything to protect my ears from this noise. My mother was so embarrassed. I knew I was going to be in trouble, but I didn’t care. Those extreme high notes these women were singing literally hurt my ears.

The second memory was when I used to go with my Dad to the church on Saturdays. He did this for quite a while and as a 6-year-old I really didn’t care what he was doing, I just enjoyed being away from the house. I knew he was constructing a small building out of brick in the south parking lot, but I didn’t know the purpose of it. After a couple of Drive in churchmonths, we quit going on Saturdays. Each Sunday we would drive into the parking lot and see the little building just sitting there. We had been raised not to ask questions, so I never asked what it was for. One Sunday morning my mother woke us up early and said, “Go get in the car.” My sister asked her if we needed to change out of our pajamas and she told us no. My dad was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and my mother had on her housecoat and slippers. Bewildered, we just rode in the backseat watching for a sign as to where we were going. Imagine my surprise when we pulled into the church parking lot! We drove toward the little building and we saw that someone had installed polls with speakers on them, just like at the drive-in movies! We were going to church service in our car. When my dad placed the speaker in the car window I could hear the pastor talking through it. It was standing inside the building talking on a microphone. A man came around handing out hymnals and we sat in our car and sang to the music coming through the speakers. Then he came back around and took up the offering. We had a bag of coloring books and other things to keep us entertained in the back seat, so my sister and I pulled it out and began to play. I could hear the pastor talking but I didn’t pay attention. After he finished, they gathered up the hymnals and we drove home. We had been to the new Drive-in Church! From that day on we only went inside the church for services during our hot Arizona summers. The rest of the year we “went to the drive-in”. My parents loved it as they could smoke during service and I can tell you one thing, I got a lot of reading time in.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

One of My Favorite Saturday’s ~ Tucson, AZ ~ 1965

childhood-memories1One of my favorite memories of our time in Tucson was on a crisp clear Saturday morning in January. We often took drives out to the desert for picnics or to just hike around. I was about 10 years old and I loved walking in the desert!

On this particular day, we headed west out of town. Nothing but desert and a few houses20200208_122054 in that direction, so I was excited believing we were going to be hiking. When we got to Kinney Rd my dad turned right and immediately pulled off the road. There on the side was a very old man dressed like a miner from the 1880s. He had an old buggy with a canopy top and a mule, and he had an enormous long-horned bull tied to a hitching post. My mother was so upset. She couldn’t understand why my dad would drag us all the way out here to look 20200208_122114at these nasty animals. My dad had learned to ignore her “rants” and he asked if we wanted to get out and take a picture with one of the animals. I yelled “Yes” and jumped out of the car. My mother said “No, we need to leave” but my dad acted like he didn’t hear her. So, I got my picture taken on both of them. I couldn’t believe my dad let me even though my mother said no.

Old Tucson 1When we got back in the car, he said that’s the first surprise. Now let’s get on to the next. We rode in silence until we pulled into the parking lot of Old Tucson Studios! I let out a scream and jumped out of the car and my mother and sister absolutely refused to get out. My dad just said, “We will be back” and he took my hand and lead me to the box office. My dad was greeted by the ticket holder who called him by name and let us go on through. Once inside we rode the rides, watched the live gunfights, looked through the gift shops and got ice cream. Down at the end of the dirt road, there were red cones blocking the way. Do not enter signs were posted everywhere. I got a little nervous when he started walking in that direction. I was gripping is hand tight! We just walked on past the signs and cones and when we got to the other side of the tall wooden fence, I could see it was a movie studio lot.

My Dad worked construction the entire 11 years that we lived in Tucson. He workedOld Tucson 2 for MM Sundt Construction and this company had the contract to help expand “Old Tucson”. It had become a famous Movie Studio and with more and more westerns being filmed there was a need for more buildings.  I didn’t know it at the time, but we were at his workplace. He proudly showed me around the sets, and he introduced me to a lot of people. I got to see “behind the scenes”. It was great.

When we got back to the car, my mother and sister never said one word to us. As a matter of fact, my mother had moved to the back seat, so I quickly jumped in the front. All the way home he told me stories about the filming of some of the movies and TV shows. He had met John Wayne several times when he was there filming Rio Bravo and he had met most of the cast of Rawhide, Wagon Train and The High Chaparral.

It was one of the best days I could remember!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.