Thursday, May 8, 2014

The lady in red (lipstick)

There was Crescencia and Madeline ... Tomasita, Margaret and Lupita. 
And Evelyn -- my mother.

I remember spending Saturday afternoons with Mother at San Ildefonso or Santa Clara pueblo where she'd go to 'trade' with the Indians.   
(To be honest, I was wildly UNenthusiastic, preferring to hide in the backseat with a comic book.)

A shy woman by nature, I've no idea how or what prompted her hobby.  A self-proclaimed 'nervous' driver, still she'd navigate the twisty, narrow road off  'the Hill' in all sorts of weather to barter the contents of our Buick's trunk for their craft.
Long before Indian pottery became fashionable, our apartment started to fill with pottery, soft leather goods and hand-crafted drums.
A few real friendships developed.   
Over the years, mother was gifted with a gorgeous squash-blossom necklace and matching belt .... but the greatest gift was her unlikely friendship with Lupita.   
Apart from a shared birth year, their differences were many.  But, I suspect each recognized the other's tendency to look for best in people. 
Lupita and family, 1955
When or why mother stopped going, I couldn't say.   I suppose it was just one of those things.  
Then, in May 2000 an impromptu suggestion turned into something neat!
As an 83rd birthday surprise, I'd been planning a trip back to New Mexico for months.  We never could have imagined the Cerro Grande fire, would (obviously) impact our plans to visit friends in Los Alamos.   
Then, "Why don't we take a drive to San Ildefonso? Perhaps Lupita is still there."   

Instead of the almost-inconspicuous dirt road leading off the highway, here was a modern paved affair, not far from a garish casino - leading to an equally modern gift shop.   My heart sank.
Putting on my best game face, I explained our mission to an associate... who looked startled, but agreed to consult another.   Finally, an older gentleman gestured my direction: "Yes, Lupita is still here; she has agreed to see you."    

14 years later I still get a bit teary-eyed remembering the ladies sweet reunion.   Her children were summoned ..... everyone's words tumbled, one over another.    

Prior to saying 'good-bye', Lupita's son confided, "I never forgot her, you know.   I couldn't remember her name, but I'd ask my mother, 'When is the lady in red lipstick coming back to see us?'."  

Later, mother shared that seeing Lupita was the 'best' part of our trip.  I'm pretty sure they never had occasion to speak again, but fond memories never really die.  
My one and only overture to mother's passion:
My 8-y/o self traded a little girl a pack of Juicy-Fruit gum for this duck.
Tho' I've much of mother's collection, this little guy never fails to make me smile!

Wishing you all a sweet weekend!

Hugs from Phoenix,





  1. What a wonderful story. This really made me smile. I am so glad you helped them get together again.

  2. What an awesome gift you gave your mother. And Lupita. Those pieces of Indian pottery are wonderful!

  3. I know the road you speak of that she had to navigate and I'm sure back in the 1950s it was nothing like the 1990s. What a sweet thing for you to do, Myra, to try to see if you could connect with Lupita for your mom and then to actually have it come true. I can see why 14 years later you would tear up about it. I'm sure your mom treasured that time with her so very much and now I'm curious why she stopped her visits so long ago.


  4. Such a sweet story, Myra. Happy Mother's Day to you.

  5. Myra, that was your best post ever. I truly loved it.

    Happy Mothers Day. xo

  6. This is a wonderful story, filled with connections that lasted a lifetime. The memories linger. What a wonderful gift you gave your mother.

  7. Your memories made me smile and made me feel a little sad too. Love your precious photos. Happy Mother;s Day my friend! Hugs, Anne

  8. Tearing up in New York. You have the same gift of friendship as your mother. As a friend of mine once told me, "friends who make memories never go." Love and hugs to you!

  9. I just loved that sweet story Myra.

  10. Oh Myra, how swwet and considerate of you to take your mother back on a trip to yesteryear. The pottery is just so great!! I know how much work and one's own personally develope in each special piece. I enjoyed looking at the photos, and what a blessing to have them as a reminder.. This makes me feel like singing, "Oh how I love Jesus." He understands every detail of our lives and knows what is special for us. Hugs

  11. YOU WON! send me your address so I can mail your copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul Home Sweet Home. or I am on face book.

  12. I have read some good posts on the net since blogging, but this tops them. What a sweet daughter you are, I cannot imagine a better gift than a good friend still be alive at that age, and getting to see them.

    What a great idea you had to come up with,"Why don't we take a drive to San Ildefonso? Perhaps Lupita is still there." as we age, nothing is better than sweet memories reinforced with reality.
    Love you lady and wishing you cooler weather...(smile) Hugs from North CArolina...

  13. This is a great post, Myra. I feel satisfied as I read it because it was such a nice thing to do. Cute little duck!

  14. This is SUCH a great post. So glad you shared it with us.
    We, too, have made many trips to Indian reservations in search of rugs, pottery, baskets and most of all, jewelry.
    I really enjoyed hearing about the friendship between the two ladies.


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