I love unique childhood stories and I love how my friend Renay writes. You can almost see story as she tells it. Don’t be surprised if your jaw drops and you laugh a few times! Enjoy! -Amber
I was born to wonderful YOUNG parents. My dad (Joe Silva) was sixteen and my mom (Lydia Vigil) fourteen when they married. They lived with my grandma (Manuela Silva). When my mom was sixteen she had my sister, Marie. When she was eighteen she had my brother, Paul, and when she was nineteen, she had me. Yes, the third child, too close to Paul who was still a baby. I was known as the “cry baby”…maybe because Paul drank all my milk, or demanded mom’s attention. Three more children were born after me, a sister, Beverly, two brothers, Carlos and Eddie.
My earliest memory is of catching grasshoppers, pray mantis, toads, frogs, and lizards. I enjoyed watching them in jars. I would feed them to find out what they ate. Then after a time, I would dissect them. I found this to be very interesting. I now think I should have gone to college to be a Pathologist. As an adult I worked in UNM Pathology Department for a few years and enjoyed watching biopsies being performed on amputated body parts.
We had a neighbor who raised chickens. For some reason, they would throw some of their eggs into the field across the street from my house. One day I was making mud pies and decided to get eggs to make my batter. That was so much fun. I began getting eggs whenever I made my mud pies. One day I cracked open the egg and there was a dead baby chick in it. No I didn’t dissect it…I was so upset thinking I killed the baby chick. That night I had a dream that a huge, square mama chicken was chasing me down the street yelling that I killed her baby. I never touched another egg from the field again. I still clearly remember that awful dream.
I never liked playing dolls too much. Sally was the only doll I ever loved. When I was about nine, I was fighting with the neighbor boy, and he tore Sally’s head off. I cried and never wanted another doll again. My grandma (Eufelia Vigil) would worry about me because I liked dissecting animals and playing army, football and baseball with my older brother and the neighborhood boys. I even had my own football helmet and shoulder pads. She would buy me Barbie dolls and I would tell my mom, “I don’t want dolls, I want my own football”. This would really upset my grandma Fella. She wanted me to be inside learning to be motherly, cooking and cleaning.
When I was in the third grade a new family moved into our small neighborhood. They had a girl who was in the fourth grade. Cathy Pedroncelli was great because she liked to play sports too. Once in a while she would want to play dolls, but fortunately, not too often. There was another girl who lived on our street named Lupita, but she always wanted to play dolls and was too girly for us.
We lived behind St. Anne’s Catholic Church. Next to the church was a home for the Nuns. They were mean ladies. I was scared of them. Finally, they left and the Brothers of the church moved in. They were fun. We would play baseball against them. I vaguely remember them telling Cathy and I that we should not be such tomboys. We should wear dresses instead of pants. Every time I wore a dress to play in, it seemed I would tear it while climbing the fence. It was a shortcut to climb the fence to the baseball and football field.
Another memory of growing up on Evergreen Drive is I had to feed one of the neighbors hog while they were out of town. One time I opened the gate to the pen and the huge hog ran out. I tried to get it to go back in the pen, but it started to charge me. I somehow managed to jump the six foot block fence to the other side. Scraped my knee pretty bad and I still have the scar to prove it. The same hog got out another time while I was feeding it and chased me all the way home.
I guess I never have been good with animals. When I was about six my Uncle Bonifacio bought me a puppy for my birthday. It scared me because it would jump on me. I didn’t want the dog so my uncle finally took it back. All of us children in the neighborhood would walk to school together. At the end of the street there lived a doper men pincher dog. He would let all the kids go by except me. He would run out and sit in front of me and growl. The kids would tell me to walk around him, but I was so scared I would walk backwards all the way home. My mom would have to drive me to school with my little sibling in the car. Mom was not happy about this. Finally, the other kids decided if they surrounded me and we walked really fast the dog would let me get through. Many days I cried all the way to school because that dog scared me so badly. After a year or so, the dog gave up and didn’t bother me. I have never been bitten by a dog, but I am still scared of them.
Now my horse story. A friend from school had a horse. He came over to give me a ride. We had to bring out a chair for me to stand on so could be tall enough to get on the horse. I was sitting behind the saddle and my little short legs were bouncing and kicking the horse (not meaning to), so the horse would go faster. We ended up in a big field and the horse was going very fast so Jimmy would pull on the reins to slow him down, but I was kicking the horse, so the horse was going in circles really fast. I finally slid off and the horse stepped on me and stopped. I walked home and when my mom and sister saw me with weeds in my hair, dirt on my face, and dirty tear marks, they asked if I was okay. I said I was fine, cleaned up, and went to my room to cry some more. I guess since I was always being called cry baby I didn’t want to tell them I hurt or for them to see me cry.
I have more crazy horse stories I will share another time.
Growing up on Evergreen Drive was fun; lots of kids and kind neighbors (except for the dog and hog). Many of us still keep in touch with one another.