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Recalling ‘The Three Musketeers,’ friends forever
Mary, Katie, and Julia stand in front of the ruins of an old stucco house that was where El Mesias United Methodist Church now stands, circa November 1949.
Apple Pie and SalsaOctober 2, 2013 3,265 views 2 comments
For a while we called ourselves “The Three Musketeers” because we spent a lot of time hanging out together. “We” were Katie Sanchez, Mary Talamantez, and me. Katie and Mary lived very close to each other on what is now Second Street. Katie’s family homestead is still standing. The house that Mary lived in used to sit on what is now Sacred Heart School property. I lived closer to town on what is now Railroad Street.
Mary was younger than Katie and me. Katie and I had been classmates since the fifth grade. We were now in high school, while Mary was still in grammar school. She looked older than her age. She was taller than Katie and me. (Anybody was taller than me.) We started hanging out together when we started going to dances at Yndo Park in Canada Verde. Katie and Mary’s dads would take turns driving us there. That way their girls would always be chaperoned. And me, well Papá and Mamá trusted that they would look after me too. My niece, Lola, would often go with us.
Like I said, we did a lot of things together. By today’s standards we led a pretty dull life. But we were having fun. We went to baseball games and to the movies at the Arcadia. When we went to the movies on weeknights, Katie’s brother, Jimmy, who was younger than Katie, went with us. He was our bodyguard. He would walk a ways behind us because we were always giggling and acting silly. He was not happy with his “job,” but he did get to go to the movies. And he didn’t have to sit with us.
Sometimes on Sunday afternoons we would walk all over town taking pictures. Once we decided to go hunting at the pastita, the little wooded area that was behind Katie’s house and was part of the family’s property. It extended to the other street which is now First Street. I don’t know what we were hunting. It was February and the trees were so bare so I doubt that any creature could be hiding there. I took a snapshot of Katie and Mary holding a 22-caliber rifle. If they had gotten a shot off they probably would have hit something or someone on the next street. I still wonder how our moms could let us do something like that. (By then Mary was in high school.) Recently I asked Katie whose firearms they were. She said they belonged to her family. There were a lot of boys in her family. Looking at the photo more closely I think that if they had fired a shot they would have fallen on the cactuses. They are pointing the guns upwards. Wonder what they were looking at.
Then there was the Peanut Festival in 1950. Back then they were held in September. We decided to dress alike. No doubt we all went shopping at Lieberman’s. We wore black jeans with a Western look and plaid shirts. We hung around in town most of the day. No wonder we looked tired in the picture. We had spent hours at the Old Fiddlers contest at the high school gym, checked out the arts and crafts booths, and walked the carnival grounds. We finally called it a day and went home to rest. I went back to town that evening, this time with Henry. We were going steady by then. Katie says Willie was just starting to take interest in her and vice versa. Katie and Mary would tease me because Henry was a farm boy. They would say that after we were married we would be coming to town on Saturdays with a wagon full of kids. Back then everybody came to town to do their shopping on Saturdays. They were wrong about the wagon, but we did end up with a carload of kids.
Katie, Henry, and I graduated in 1951. In 1953 Henry and I were married in February and Katie and Willie in May. Mary graduated in 1954 and a month later she moved to San Antonio. She married Rudy Fuentes in 1955 and had three children. They were married for 52 years. In 2007 she lost Rudy to cancer. We didn’t see much of Mary during all of those years, except on special occasions. Then we would reminisce about the good old days.
Katie and I stayed in Floresville, where we and our husbands raised our families of eight and 10, respectively. We became compadres when they baptized our Louie. At times we were too busy raising our families and didn’t have time to visit each other. But we knew we were there for each other. Like when we lost some of our grown kids, not something we wanted to come together for. But we were there for each other, giving each other encouragement and moral support.
Now that we are “up” in years, we have a little more time to stay in touch, although we stay pretty busy. Henry and I visit our compadres occasionally. It is so quiet and peaceful out there.
We see Mary at funerals, weddings, and anniversaries and other special events. If I need her to help me remember something, I call her. After all, her mind is younger than mine. She is always good for a laugh. She is planning to come to this year’s Floresville High School 50-Plus Reunion. If she and Katie and I were to try to dress alike again, we would need a “little” bit bigger jeans. Just the thought of it makes me laugh. One thing that hasn’t changed is our cariño for each other. We vow to remain “friends forever.”
Julia Castro, a retired Head Start teacher and mother of 10, lives in Floresville with her husband, Henry. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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