This delightful folk tale is taken from Mexican-American Folklore: Legends, Songs, Festivals, Proverbs, Crafts, Tales of Saints, of Revolutionaries, and More, by John O. West (August House, Little Rock, 1988), and concerns my great-great-granduncle José Mauro Luján of San Elizario. His father, Don Jesús Luján (~1813-1871), built an adobe house just off the Plaza in… Read More


My 9xgreat-grandfather Nathaniel Morton was the secretary of Plymouth Colony, having arrived there in 1623 at the age of 10. As secretary, he was the keeper of the records of the colony and compiled the colony’s first published history, based largely on accounts of his uncle Governor William Bradford. The following excerpt of Morton’s history… Read More


Brand Boulevard, Glendale, 1950s

Come away with me, Lucille In my merry Oldsmobile Down the road of life we’ll fly Automobubbling, you and I To the church we’ll swiftly steal Then our wedding bells will peal You can go as far as you like with me In my merry Oldsmobile. This was the refrain of the extremely popular 1905… Read More


On an unknown date between 1946 and 1966, Jesús wrote out this account of the family history in Spanish, now (2008) in the possession of her granddaughter Gloria Joyce Hernández Alvarado in San Diego. The handwriting is difficult at times to read, and she used little punctuation or accents.… Read More


Union troops camped outside Chatanooga

In a pig’s eye. Under no condition, not at all, as in “In a pig’s eye he’ll pay me back,” or “You think he’s competent? In a pig’s eye!” This expression, a euphemism for in a pig’s ass, is generally used as a strong negative. [Slang; late 1800s].

—From The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer, 1997.… Read More


1870 Redington Mine G.J. Brayton-Stereoview

A farmer, hearing that a circus was in town, loaded his wagon with vegetables to sell there. He was excited; more than anything, he wanted to see an actual elephant. He got in town just in time to see the circus parade, led by an elephant. The farmer was thrilled, but his horses were terrified.… Read More