Grandma the Wife/Grandma the Other Woman

I was going over my family tree again today as two people from have told me I have the “wrong” people on my tree. One person said a record I have for Francisco Gonzales is wrong because the name on it is Frank G. Armijo. I understand why she thought so.  This is the correct record, however, because Francisco’s mother’s maiden name was Armijo and for some reason he decided to use it over Gonzales during that time in his life.  The record also lists my great-grandmother Domitila and her siblings so I know it’s them.

Another person was sure I had the Juana/Sara connection wrong.  He insisted  that Juana Ortega and Sarah J. Taylor could not be the same person.  I kind of lost my temper with that one but once I calmed down and realized the guy wasn’t in my head to know the connections. I also understood why he thought I might be mistaken.  I didn’t want to explain the whole experience on the message board I was posting to so I omitted the baptismal records of her children that show Sarah changed her name over time to Juana.

Going over my tree brought my grandma’s marriage to my mind.  She was young when she married Eloy Martinez and while he was a nice guy, he was kind of a freeloader.  He was in the service but after he got out he was aimless and my grandma didn’t want to put up with it.  She left him one day but they never got divorced, so she remained a Martinez.  She and Eloy had 2 children, my oldest uncles, then grandma met my grandpa Bernardo Garza Sauceda.  Grandpa was also already married but estranged from his wife (grandma had a great track record, no?) and he and grandma got together and had   3 more children anyway, including my mom.  There was even a time when grandpa’s wife was very sick and she came to live with my grandparents.  My grandparents worked different shifts and each took care of her while they were home from work.  I can’t imagine how awkward that would have been for everyone!  Grandma tells me she was a very pleasant person and didn’t hold anything against her which is pretty amazing I think, and grandma’s memories of grandpa’s wife are good ones.  Grandpa’s wife eventually seemed well enough to be on her own and she wanted to go back to her children so she went.  She died shortly after that.   Understandably, the children of grandpa’s marriage didn’t get along with my mom and her siblings when they were young because they felt grandpa had chosen our family over theirs.  He did in a way, even if he continued to support the family financially.  So I can’t really blame them for a lack of warmth in our relationships.

Grandpa Bernardo Sauceda

Anyway, back to grandma.  Her brother Juan “John” Manuel Romero was in the Navy and one of his buddies was Eloy Martinez.  I guess it was well-known that John had a few sisters because grandma and those sisters were constantly receiving “fan mail” from some of  John’s fellow servicemen.  I don’t think her sisters cared very much but grandma didn’t mind writing back to all of the men who wrote to her; if the letters became too invasive or a man was quick to declare any feelings because of the easy correspondence, grandma lied and said she was engaged so she could continue writing to the men so they wouldn’t be lonely.  I think she liked the attention and felt like she was doing a service to the country.  I think she underestimated the significance of letter-writing.

So one day on leave, John brought Eloy home to Santa Fe with him to meet my grandmother and Eloy proposed.  Grandma accepted to get out of her mother’s house, they got married, and had a few children.  Eloy couldn’t really hold on to a job for very long while grandma continued to work at the Luhrs Building, as she did before marrying Eloy.  After she walked out on him, he moved back to Texas.  He wrote to her a few more times and they lost touch after that.  I don’t know what ever happened to Eloy and neither do his sons.

Great-Uncle Juan Manuel Romero with his Sailor Hat

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