Letter written to Roy Jones by his Aunt Lucy Walters
(Retyped and entered here by Barbara M. Santos, April 30, 1999.)
USVA Center 8/9/57
Womens Cottage #220
Los Angeles - 25 - California
Mr. Roy Jones, Austin, Texas
Dear Nephew: I'm terribly sorry that I have been unable to answer sooner. I don't think that Bess ever paid Taxes on our old home place. I know that I used to pay the taxes. But, I did not claim the place on that account. And, when I went out there in 1933 to try to live and get rid of sinusitis which was, even then, in bad condition, I found that the taxes had not been paid since I had last paid them. So, I paid the taxes to date and sold my share to Bryan Runyon after I was sent to the Soldiers' Home to stay. It so happened that I got too well to stay there. I left "against medical advice" and I've been here and there every since. But, when I sold my share of the old home place, it was after the children (my sisters and a brother)were all self supporting. No one else would pay taxes. I wrote to each of my sisters and the one brother. They took enough time in answering to have consulted with each other before answering me and then they wrote and told me that they did not want me to have their old home. They each wrote almost the same words. So, I couldn't help but feel that they had plotted against me. So, I sold my share and tried to forget t. But, I wrote to each and told them what I had done.
You wish to know the names and addresses of your grandmother, Mary's relatives. I do not know your Uncle Kenneth's address. Your Grandmother's relatives are as follows: James Volney Walters, homesteaded and died at Lower Penasco, New Mexico. He had married mother in either Trinidad, Colorado, or in Tulaosa, New Mexico. He was born in Kentucky. He was of English descent. His grandfather came here from South Wales, England. His name was St. David Walters. His oldest son was named William (with a long name, I think it was Quintillian for a middle name). St. David was dad's grandfather. All of dad's brothers had long middle names. St. David sent back to England for an old sweetheart to become his wife. Her name was "Penelope Field" Dad told me.
Mother, your great grandmother, was of Spanish descent and was born in Trinidad, Colorado. Her relatives came from Madrid, Spain. When they came, they landed in Old Mexico. They were one of the colonies who were robbed and put into slavery on arrival by the Indians in either Vera Cruz, or some other landing place. Mother had not been born, so she could not give me authentic information. (It reads like a book, doesn't it?
On our maternal side, some call us Mexicans - which we are not! Senator Dennis Chaves told me a few years ago when I saw him in Albuquerque, that we were cousins. He claims that by the time our lineage got down to him and me, we were Mexicans (more votes). But know something that would belie that statement. The Mexicans and Indians during Mother's early life had banded together under leadership of Geronomo, an Indian outlaw, to try to wipe out all of the white people, included were Juan (WAN) Chaves's who were on a trip with several other Spaniards who were going to Las Cruces, New Mexico, from Trinidad, Colorado, the Chaves' to pick up their little daughter, Frances (Francesca) who was staying with her grand parents, the Garcia's in Rincon, New Mexico. She may have been attending school there. Anyhow, the ten, or more, covered wagons were wrecked and their people were massacred by the leader outlaw, an Indian with his Indian and Mexican followers at Massacre Hill near Mescalero, New Mexico. Later on, Geronomo told Dad and he told me that not only was that done, but he (Geronomo) had given a no-account Indian boy to Dad and Mother instead of mother's brother and since neither she nor Dad knew the boy's name they called him "JO" which Geron. told them he had named him. And he said that if ever that news got out against the Indians, he and his braves would come and wipe out the Walters family. He told me these things on his dying bed (Dad did). And this was our Uncle Joe. Our real Uncle "Josea" was stolen by the Indians. He later married a white girl he stole. Your Aunt Bess lives here at 1003 So. Beacon, Los Angeles, Calif. she is very nervous.
Nancy Brown lives at 2300 S.W. 26th St., Oklahoma City, Okla. She is your oldest iving aunt on your mother's side.
Your Aunt Metta Bailey - widow of George Bailey (he was her third cousin on dad's side) lives at 9411 Independence Ave., Kansas City 22, Missouri. She lost George on July 6 this year. He died of stroke after having been in the hospital about a week.
I do not know where all of the relatives are. Your Aunt Lizzie died in a hospital in Clovis, New Mexico, in 1952. Vivian died in March of 1952, her husband died last Dec. 6. Jim died a few days after your Aunt Maude died. We got word of Jim's death the evening that I got to Lizzie's home after returning from Maude's funeral. Your Aunt Bertha died after she had been married three years, or about that long. Your two Great Uncles, Billy and Ed, died when we were all small children. Nomie Halsey died soon after World War #1. Fred Halsey's second wife had him killed and she went free. Nomie's son, Ted Halsey, killed his own second wife and himself, but after he had taken his son to another policeman's home. Then he went to a telephone booth and called the police and gave himself up, but he went into a telephone booth and shot himself dead. We are a desperate people, Roy. I am learning to write so that I can write a book about us. Reallly, I am learning to write. I have sold a few dribbles from my pen, already. If you would like to help me out, please send me a few short stories in your own words. I will dress them up and not use yours or any other real names. Just give me one important thought in the story, or more if you like. Would you like to collaborate on this writing stunt that I'm trying?
I am very proud of your Daughter's photo that you sent me. Going to frame it sometime. I'll be awaiting the time when you and your family come to see me. But, I have recently asked for a transfer to Dayton, Ohio. Dayton is far more comfortable than this place. There they do not place more than one woman in a room. Here we are from one, two, to six in a room. Those of us who are still holding on to our senses are expected to help tame down the mental (women) cases whom the Social worker thinks are ready for a taming. This system is never going to change here for Brentwood Hospital is the largest mental hospital in the world. I have forgotten how many thousands there are in Brentwood-and we of the Soldiers' Home are on the inside of the same fence. I live and sleep in dread of strangulation in my sleep. But we do try to take it in our stride ! We are not as able to defend ourselves as we used to be. I am not fishing for sympathy, Roy, I aim only to state facts. We are not allowed to have a relative or friend to stay here over night, or even eat here at all. But those of us who are on good behavior, are given a Merit card and allowed to go and come with our MERIT card until midnight. If we should be late getting in, we go to the Guard and he will let us in. Am I worting (sic) ("worrying") you with this long discourse? I hope you watch your diet and do not eat too much food. If you knew me, you would know how badly I feel about your losing a part of your stomach, for I like foods. But, I do have to watch my diet for not everything agrees with me any more.
Back to your diet. Black-eyed peas is hard on most people's digestion whether they have or not had operations on the stomach. Then, too ham or too much salt, a lot of the people here have to cut out salting or sugaring their foods at the table. You are not so apt to get too much condiment in that food which is cooked with the seasoning cooked in it, for the heat destroys a lot of it. I am not a dietician, so I should hush.
Roy, if you would like to have a diet menu, you can get a booklet free from-I think it is- The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. You didn't ask me to "Horn in" but I did it !
I misplaced your motherr's letter which she wrote to me from where she was shipping eggs. My last letter to her came back to me. Will you supply her address? Thank you.
We are already overcrowded here. Too many mental cases from the last two wars are coming in and they must be cared for, whether sane veterans are cared for or not. We may have to go somewhere else and make way for those more unfortunate than we are, until Uncle Sam can build another house. I am not worried.
Let's get back to the Spanish side of our family.
When the company, or colony, from Spain arrived in Mexico and were all enslaved, all of their money and other belongings were confiscated. They walked north, for somehow they learned that "To the North lay the United States of America." So they walked to Trinidad, Colorado. They followed noses. Now, the things I have written to you are a part of my manuscript about the Walters Family so please respect it as confidential. You will see this come out in book form as soon as it is possible for me to finish it and get it published.
I would like to hear from both you and your mother soon and often.
Your Aunt, Lucy Walters
P.S. Roy, I need some young thoughts for my book "The Walters Family". Could you supply a few "teen-age" jokes (not too much of risque) about it. You see, there is a story about an old family with young ones all along the way. L.W.