It appears the Warden had a childhood full of chores (grinding the corn for one,) fisticuffs, squabbling, tugs-of-war, being bullied by 2 brothers, one older, and one a few years younger. There was also another brother, but he was 8 years younger so was not around when the 3 siblings were “going at it.” The family lived over in eastern Arizona, the town was Morenci, and the people there worked in the copper mine. The mining company had built the town to house the miners.
Alba’s Dad was pure-blood Aztec, and his job at the mine was being a big shovel operator, which was a very important part of this open pit mining operation. Her Mom was very industrious, and had a little business going out of their home. She made fresh corn tortillas to sell to the townspeople, and there were a few other items such as Mexican LP records, silver jewelry, Mexican curios and I would suppose anything she would get requests for, and then during the Christmas season a lot of fresh masa was sold to the families to make their traditional tamales. I’m mentioning all this because I can’t figure out when the 3 kids had a chance to get into trouble because according to the Warden, her Mom had them working, working, working; grinding the corn, grinding the corn.
Señor Xóchihua, the father in this little family had added on an area at the side of the home at the behest of Mom for her little enterprise. The living room remained their private area.
When the Warden was 4 or 5 years old, she loved to collect rocks — all colors, shapes, sizes — she just loved them, and had quite a collection. I can imagine there were plenty of rocks to be found in that mountainous, desert area, and in a kid’s eyes they were beautiful.
So now Li’l Alba has this huge collection of Morenci rocks, and they are very precious to her. But what to do? Where can she keep them so the devil brothers can not get to them and do something rotten? Where, oh where can she hide her beloved rocks? She had to find a hiding place, and she searched through the house to find a safe haven — searching, searching, searching — definitely NOT under her bed, and their bedroom was out, no place in the dining room, living room was out because that was Mom’s pride and joy, always in “just so” precise order. She finally went into Mom and Pop’s bedroom still searching, searching, searching, and spied the closet door. She opened the door, and what did she spot right off the bat? A bunch of shoe boxes all stacked very neatly — just what the doctor ordered to house her collection!
Mom’s shoes came out — Li’l Alba’s rocks went in. Mom just happened to love and adore shoes, and throughout the neighborhood she was known as the “Imelda Marcos of Morenci.” — just as I am known as “Meli Marcos” with MY shoe collection. And that was why Mom had her little business going in order to support her love for shoes.
Now, a few days later, when Lupe (Mom) went into her closet to find a nice pair of shoes for church, you could hear the screaming all over that mountain side when she discovered UGALY DIRTY ROCKS in the boxes, and her adored beautiful shoes were stuck around on the floor. Later, it turned out the natives had thought all this racket had been the warning horn and there was an emergency at the mine site.
Just imagine what took place then. The culprit had to come forward, and then had to take her medicine. Yes, the Li’l Aztec Princess got her licking, then was assigned to the grinding the corn department for what seemed to be ETERNITY. I do not know what happened to the amazing, beloved rock collection.
Maybe I’ll ask the Warden one of these days.