A story of language, customs, relationships and family love, Mis Crismes is a memoir of an Hispanic family in La Puente, New Mexico, (take a right at Tierra Amarilla) celebrating Christmas in 1956. It is told through the voice of seven-year-old Gloria Mora.
As an adult, Gloria wanted to document her experiences for her own children and grandchildren. She did so in the Spanish dialect of her small isolated village. Being the consummate teacher, she also translated her dialect of the Tierra Amarilla area into English and modern day Spanish. All three language versions appear alongside each other on every page.
Gloria regaled the FACC group with her memories growing up. When she left La Puente in 1966, her grandparents still had no electricity; no indoor plumbing, no TV, and no businesses existed in the village. She does remember clearly the morada, the church, and the other fourteen families that populated her world.
The only news received of the outside world was a monthly newspaper which detailed only local village happenings. Not much news from events in the larger were known to La Puente residents.
Before going to school in the morning, she had many chores: starting the fire in the kitchen, chopping wood for the day, feeding and watering the horses and pigs, and feeding and milking the cows. Her lunch on most days was a jar of beans with a requisite spoon, dry meat and/or a hand full of piñon in her pocket.
Gloria helped her grandparents prepare for winter by making adobe bricks, drying corn (chicos), ristras de chile, reditas, quelites, fruit, and herbs used for medicine. Gloria’s job was to enjarrar (plaster the outside of the adobe structures by hand.) Her grandmother would make a mixture of soil, sand and hay and Gloria would apply it to the walls. This needed to be done to protect the structures from the winter elements. They also made all the soap they needed for the year; it was made with lye and was used for everything needing washing from dishes, floors, clothes, bathing, hair, etc. Consequently, Gloria no longer has fingerprints.
Today, as a mother, grandmother, and retired educator, she says, “Knowing our history and culture helps us build a sense of belonging.” Gloria Mora’s presentation was given with sincere joy and a sense of immense authenticity. She will be available at our July 14th and August Picnic for a book signing of Mis Crismes.