Growing up on a farm that used POWs for labor, and rural living.
Tape 1, Side A
Ms. Dean begins by describing her early years on the farm locate north of Las Cruces. She describes the use of German POWs to pick cotton during the war. She recalls that her mother would not let the children go outside. She tells the story of finding a signet in a field near Hatch, NM, and then remembering that it was the insignia marking the location of the German POW camp. She was eight or ten years old during the war. The family farm stayed in her family until her father's death in 1982. Her brother got the farm after her mother's death in 1983. The brother eventually sold it to the Franzoy family in the early 1940s. There is a brief discussion about the chili market.
She recalls that when the family first moved onto the farm, they lived in a jacal, a small hut with a thatched roof and adobe walls. Her father later built an adobe home. Electricity did not become available until the 1950s.
She recalls that her father was a very proud man, and although he felt they were poor, the family always had enough food and clothing. The family planted a large garden every year, sold corn to different communities and also went hunting. In addition to the garden, the family also had turkeys, chickens, pigs and milk cows.
Dean recalls that she took the bus to school in Hatch. It was a long walk to the bus stop. Although the school had big classes, everyone paid attention and learned to read and write.
The family social life included having friends over for meals. Holidays were spent with family. Ms. Dean's best memories of growing up on the farm are feelings of peace. She remarks that the farm was pretty and they had a good life. She fondly remembers her father as having a good sense of humor, thus making life fun. He let the children win when he played games with them.
Her father would take corn to Hurley and produce to the mines in the area. Her mother would keep Dean in the house to clean, but her father had wanted a son and so he would put her to work on the tractor or she would pick cotton with her mother. She did not like to milk the cow "because she always hated it."
When asked for her views on the future of farming in the area, she says that the land is being depleted and good farmland is being taken up as residential property.