Elizabeth Adda Robinson Ratcliffe
Family Tree
As I Recall...
by Betty Jeanne Stambaugh-Prieto
A Brief Summary Of My Father’s Family History

The Woolley and Barnett families originally came from England, and were the ancestors of my father’s mother, whose maiden name was Adda Woolley. Nathaniel Barnett was a “Minuteman” in the American Revolution, and the ancestral home was in Bennington, Vermont, where the famous Battle of Bennington was fought in 1777. Sarah Barnett and Fitzgerald Woolley lived in the old farm in Bennington, but their son, Moses Fitzgerald Woolley married Pamelia Elizabeth Harrison, a descendent of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd President of the United States, and they moved to Illinois where Adda Woolley was born. She later married George Garrison Stambaugh, and they moved to the State of Washington where they lived for many years. They retired in Long Beach, California.

The Stambaugh family originally came from the then Principality of Hannover, Germany in the 18th Century, and in the United States first settled in Pennsylvania. My father’s ancestors moved to Illinois where his father, George Garrison Stambaugh met and married Adda Woolley. As I mentioned before, after their marriage they moved West to the State of Washington, where my father Guy was born and went to school. He graduated from Washington State College with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. After a number of years ranching, training horses, participating in the first introduction of cattle into Florida and surveying for new railroads, he enlisted in the Army during World War I. He met my mother Bess Brush in Colorado, where they were married, and later moved to Deer Lodge, Montana, where my brother Sidney and I were born.

A Brief Summary Of My Mother’s Family History

My mother’s family name was BRUSH, of English and Irish descent. The Brush family settled in Virginia when they came to the United States. They are the “Southerners” of my family. They left Virginia for Kentucky, and later moved to Ohio. Three of the Brush’s sons decided to go West to try their luck at gold mining, and went all the way to California while the gold rush of ’49 was still going on. After trying gold mining for a while, they took up farming in Colorado where they married and made their homestead. John Brush had his first son in 1866, Wesley Lemar Brush, who was the first white child to be born in Colorado. Wesley L. later married Gertrude Sanderson, my mother’s mother, who had come West with her parents from Boston.

As I say above, my maternal grandmother, was a Sanderson, whose family came from England and settled in Piety Corner, Massachusetts in 1639. The family acquired their farm land in the vicinity of Piety Corner and lived there until 1850. Abner Sanderson III married Lucinda Baldwin Dow, and their daughter, Gertrude Sanderson married Wesley Lemar Brush when the Sandersons moved to Colorado for Lucinda’s health. They settled near Loveland, Colorado, where my mother Bess was born.

Betty Jeanne Stambaugh de Prieto

In September of 1989, my brother and I returned to our 50th. anniversary reunion of our High School in Deer Lodge, Montana. It was such fun, and brought back so many happy memories, that I decided to share these memories of years gone by with my family.

1989 was also the centennial celebration of Montana’s becoming a State. It had been part of the Dakota Territory until 1889, when it then became the 41st. State of the Union.

I was born in Deer Lodge, Montana on October 29th, 1923, and was lucky to get to the hospital on time because the car ran out of gasoline on the way, and dad had to push it several miles to town. Luckily, I wasn’t born on a snowdrift, since this trip was during a snowstorm. That was my introduction to a life full of fun and surprises in the Far West.

My father, Vivian Guy Stambaugh, was born in Wilbur, Washington and he graduated in 1911 from Washington State College with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. Mother, Bessie Brush Stambaugh was from Berthoud, Colorado, and went east to school. She graduated from a Young Ladies Finishing School in Boston, later returning west to teach a business course in Burley, Idaho High School.

Mother and Dad were married in Burley, Idaho in 1920 and moved to Deer Lodge, Montana, where dad managed a 38,000-acre sheep ranch. This ranch was in a beautiful valley at an altitude of 4,600 feet, or 1,400 meters, in the “Land of the Shining Mountains”. Our Mount Powell was a backdrop for my every memory of home. We were really surrounded by beauty.

Our ranch was very big and self-sufficient. The home ranch, where we lived, had many special buildings. There was a cookhouse and dining area, the “bunk” house where hired hands slept, the commissary where extra supplies were stored, the harness repair shop, as well as the horseshoeing barn where the horses were shod; their horseshoes forged in a roaring-hot open fireplace. These iron shoes were nailed to the hoofs with special nails.

The cows were milked in their special barn where they stood still with their neck in a sort of vise so that they would not move around. In an adjoining room was a “separator” to separate the cream from the milk.

Across the road from our house was a pretty little pond, which froze over in the winter, and became the “Ice Pond”. From it, the ice was sawed into big squares, which were stored in the “Ice House” and covered with sawdust to keep it from melting in the summer. This sawdust was collected from the logs sawed from the woodpile near our house.

We also had a big vegetable garden planted with all sorts of vegetables. A little stream ran through it, and we would pull up carrots, rinse them off in the stream, and eat them freshly picked. We even had a “sod cellar” where the root vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, turnips and onions were stored during the winter.

The “hired help” varied throughout the year according to the necessities of the season. Spring was “lambing time” when the ewes were brought in from the range to have their lambs. The sheep normally stayed on the range in bands of 1000 or so, and were cared for by one sheepherder and his dog. At lambing time, each ewe was put in an individual pen until her lamb was born and later turned loose and the lambs would play. They were adorable. One year Sidney and I each raised a lamb by bottle-feeding it. One was black and the other white, so we called them “Night” and “Day”, naturally.

Wool was an important product from our ranch, and this was sheared off the sheep in the summer. Itinerary crews who traveled around the country were hired for this work. The men brought their families and lived in their tents near the bunkhouse during the season. This shearing was a very specialized job, done with big clippers or electric shears, and the fleece was cut off all in one piece. It was then gathered into a bundle and tied into a ball with heavy twine. It had to be thrown up into a platform where two long gunny bags were hung and held in place with two iron rings. Inside the bag a “stomper” packed the fleeces down with his feet, and when a bag was full it was sewn up and rolled away to be shipped to market. However, if the price for the wool was too low, the bags were stored upright in a barn near-by until the price was right and they could be sold, and we kids used to play “hide and seek” jumping down in the spaces between these bags.

Summertime was “haying time”. Montana has very little rainfall, so crops are watered by an irrigation system. The water comes from snow in the mountains, and when it melts, it runs into streams, lakes and reservoirs. From there it is channeled through ditches to fields where it’s needed. We raised alfalfa mostly, which was mowed in the summer and stacked in big haystacks to be distributed to the livestock in the winter.

The hectic summer activities on the ranch kept our father very busy, but Sidney and I looked forward to vacations with our friends. Sometimes our families rented cabins at different lakes around the State; I specially remember vacations at Rock Creek Lake, Seely Lake and Flathead Lake. One year we drove to Yellowstone Park, and what an experience that was! Another year we went down to Long Beach, California to visit Grandmother and Grandfather Stambaugh. We would walk to the beach from their home, and swam in the ocean for the first time!

Sidney and I found a baby owl in the mountains near Rock Creek Lake one summer. We couldn’t find his nest, so we took him home to care for him. He was all white and we called him “Hoot”. Unfortunately, he died several months later after we fed him some ground meat, which must have had salt in it. This upset us very much. Another summer Sidney brought home a water snake and I had to help him feed it rolled up lettuce leaves. Luckily, it escaped. Another time he bought a chameleon from a circus that came to town. Sid put a string around its neck, and with a safety pin attached it to his shirt, or sometimes to a curtain to watch it change colors.

At the beginning of September, all thoughts turned to school and winter activities. The most important dates in my mind were my birthday and Halloween. Next came Thanksgiving, and then Christmas! Winter meant snow and sleighing or ice-skating. When we were in “Grade School”, we didn’t have to do home-work; that only started in High School.

We used to have ice-skating parties at the frozen lakes, with big bonfires to roast hot dogs and marshmallows. Sleighing parties were organized with a group of friends getting together on the ranch and riding out on a big hay filled sleigh, drawn by horses all decked out with jingling bells. We all sang our favorite songs, and had a wonderful time!

Mother took us to the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1933.[1] I was ten years old then. It was lots of fun. When meals were ready, a porter passed through the train with some little chimes, calling out “First call for dinner”, all the way to “Third call... ”. I could never wait, so I’d insist on starting out for the dining car on the first call. Then at night, the porter made up the berths, and I was fascinated by that ritual too; traveling by train was like living in semi privacy in a swank hotel on wheels. There was nothing else quite like it.

1 That was also the year that the Prieto ArgOelles family returned to Mexico City from Los Angeles.

I really don’t remember the new inventions, which were on display at the Fair. Perhaps because they became commonplace in later years. Ripley’s “Believe It Or Not” Pavilion sparked my interest, probably because of the freaks of Nature there, such as the Rubber Man, the Pin Headed Women, some Siamese Twins, a Midget family, etc.

I think that the exhibit I liked the most at the Fair was a beautiful dollhouse made to perfect scale for dolls. All of the rooms and furnishings and fixtures were just right. It was awe-inspiring for me. Although I had my own little doll house at home in my room, with its family of porcelain dolls, I didn’t play much with it. As I grew older, I liked to cut paper dolls out of “cut-out” books, and dress them in their big variety of paper wardrobes. With each different out fit a new personality or activity was suggested for the doll, and these quick changes kept providing my imagination with new stories for my characters.

The next year I was sick in bed with rheumatic fever, and mother nursed me through that, but I missed almost a year of school. Grandmother Stambaugh invited us down to Long Beach so that I could go to summer school there, and make up the fifth grade. Summer school in California was wonderful! Classrooms were spread out over a big sunny campus, with walks through the gardens to the schoolrooms. The students were informally dressed in shorts and bright colors, entirely different from Montana. For me it was more like a vacation on the seashore, and I loved it. Thanks to this great summer school, I was able to return to my regular class in Deer Lodge, and life went on as usual.

I must mention that I had a beautiful bay horse named “Carmelita”. Although I liked to ride, I lived too far from town to find friends to accompany me, and riding alone wasn’t much fun. Dad bought me some jodhpurs to wear when I went horseback riding, and I loved them.

Dad always brought us wonderful gifts from his trips to prize sheep shows and sales. Once, he brought Sidney a crystal ball for reading fortunes. Sid never mastered the crystal ball, but turned out to be very good at reading fortunes with cards. He also tried hypnotizing me several times, but I didn’t believe in it, and just acted out what he told me to do, and he was satisfied that he had me under his control. One afternoon, I fell down the stairs while dancing “under his hypnotic spell” with my eyes closed. Luckily, there were no injuries, but that scared us out of further sessions.

There was no TV in those days, and our favorite radio program was “Chandu the Magician” that came on every evening, and fascinated us. We also actually heard the original “Invasion from Mars” by Orson Wells in 1938. It was so realistic that everybody really believed it, including us, of course.

My four years in High school were a lot of fun. We had teachers who took a personal interest in us. We studied Latin, French, English Literature, Shorthand, Typing, Science, Journalism and Public Speaking, and so on. I sang in the Glee Club, acted in many plays and was President of the Girls’ Rifle Association! Of course, besides these courses there were the other regular courses taught in high school. In our Composition class, I wrote a prize-winning essay about the American Revolution (Our War of Independence), and received the Daughters of the American Revolution Best Citizen Award for it.

The interest sparked by my research into the American Revolution prompted mother to write the older members of the family asking them to look up records of their heritage. Everybody joined in the “Heritage Hunt” with great enthusiasm, and it turned out that the family history is really interesting. Grandmother Stambaugh found that her ancestor, Nathaniel Barnett, was a “Minute Man” in the Revolution. The Minute Men were recruits who were not regular soldiers, but were ready when the enemy was near to grab their rifles and help out as they could.

I have included many of these fascinating stories of my family in a separate album, so that my children can know about their roots.

In my junior year in High School, I acted in a play about Seance, called the “Thirteenth Chair”, and I was Madame LaGrange, a medium. This play won the Little Theater Contest, and won us a trip to the University of Montana at Missoula to compete with other Thespian works from throughout the State. We were invited to stay in sorority houses during the week of performances, and we had a wonderful time! I decided I’d like to study at that University after graduating from High School, specializing in Journalism.

However, my father had many friends in Montana State College in Bozeman, and persuaded me to take the History of Art major there. If I had actually taken up journalism at Missoula, I’m sure the course of my life would have been very different.

In September of 1941, mother drove me to Bozeman and enrolled me in College, besides settling me into Hamilton Hall, the freshman girls’ dormitory. This was my first experience of really living away from home, and I admit I got very home sick. In the dormitory, two girls were assigned to each room. We had two beds, two desks and a washbasin. The common bathroom was down the hall. All meals were served in the dining room downstairs.

Our “House Mother” was pretty strict, which she had to be. All male guests were introduced to her, and entertained in the lobby. We had an 11:00 P.M. curfew. Our entertainment consisted of movies or school dances, or just walking and chatting. I joined a religious discussion group that I enjoyed a lot. We met every Thursday evening.

I haven’t mentioned Sidney’s choice of schooling. He decided to do his last two years of High School in Seattle, Washington, so that he could take ballet lessons in the Mary Ann Wells School of Dance. Therefore, while I finished High School, and started at Montana State College, Sidney finished High School in Seattle and went on to the University of Washington. After that, he won a scholarship to continue his ballet studies in Bennington, Vermont. From there he was asked to join the Ballet Group of the Metropolitan Opera.

So in March of 1942, dad wrote that he thought Mother and I should go to Chicago to see Sidney dance in the ballet when the Metropolitan Opera performed there, on tour. Mother did not go after all, but I did, and what a thrill it was! On the evening of the performance of “Aida”, I was invited backstage to meet ballerinas in their dressing room. It was very exciting, seeing close-up the much-exaggerated makeup of the ballerinas, and how their toe slippers are put on in such a way as to protect their toes, etc. Then I had a wonderful seat to see the Opera, which was tremendously exciting.

The next day Sidney invited me to watch the ballet practice at the Opera House. And, before catching the train back to Bozeman, I watched “La Traviata” from the “wings” backstage. What an experience!

Later in my freshman year, I was asked to join Pi Beta Phi Sorority, and along with other new “pledges”, I moved into the unit of new Sorority houses. Sorority life isn’t very different from any other dormitory life on campus, except that perhaps it makes you feel a part of a special group of friends. What I enjoyed most in the sorority circles was learning to sing their special sort of romantic songs in harmony, and then serenading the fraternities when a sorority sister was “pinned”, or engaged to one of their members. Being “pinned” meant receiving the boy’s fraternity pin instead of an engagement ring. Engagements weren’t private affairs in college, they were occasions for everybody’s celebration.

In the beginning of the next school year, in September of 1942, a big group of Army Air Corps students were sent to MSC, and the regular students who lived on campus had to move to other quarters. The Pi Beta Phi’s moved into a house that had been the Sigma Chi fraternity house. Many of the MSC boys had left school for military training in different parts of the States. Sleeping quarters in this fraternity house were a novelty. The attic, we called “Siberia” for obvious reasons. It was fun, though.

The History of Art course in Bozeman, Montana just didn’t fulfill my expectations for my education. There were no museums to visit, nothing real to see, touch or analyze. It was an education in art at the school library. I felt the need to create something, not just read about it. There was only one drawing class, and that was not enough.

I had other classes, such as French, Universal History, English Composition, and so forth. I also took part in several plays, and joined the baton-twirling cheerleaders for our football team. I was busy enough ... probably too busy.

Sometimes I was asked to sing some of my old cabaret songs at get togethers. I found I could sing without getting embarrassed if I took off my glasses so I couldn’t see the audience. My repertoire consisted of such oldies as “She’s Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage”, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”, etc.

As my sophomore year drew to an end, I just could not keep up with my normal school schedule of about eight hours a day, and then afterwards having to do hours and hours of research and typing for the History of Art course. I finally got so exhausted that I was sent to the hospital.

Mother decided I should move out of the sorority house to a more restful atmosphere, so I moved into Helen Talcott’s home with her aunt. Mother left my car with me to make it easier to get around. Even so, I remember continuing to work until all hours on what had become hated art essays.

When vacation time came, I was awfully relieved to go home! For two weeks, I helped out at a summer camp for girls. I taught art and crafts, took girls on nature hikes, planned skits to act out in the evenings and led the singing and story telling around the campfire. I always loved that sort of thing.

During those vacations, we went up to Rock Creek Lake with the Dietrich’s to their cabin, and I got stung by a swarm of bees while out picking huckleberries. Mother applied an old Folk cure ... mud all over the stings. Later that summer Betty Newlon, Mary Lou Ross and I went out camping under the stars near Conley’s Lake, which is near Mt. Powell. We slept in sleeping bags on the cold bumpy ground. We were very nervous, and spent the night worrying about every little noise. The next morning it was too cold to look for firewood to cook outside, so we returned to the ranch for breakfast. We weren’t exactly the hardy type of the “Old West”! Obviously.

Since I had no desire to return to MSC, I convinced mother and dad to let me go to New York to share an apartment with Sidney, who was still dancing in the Metropolitan Opera. My plan was to study commercial art at the Parson’s School of Design. I wanted to learn different techniques so I could produce something worthwhile.

When I took the train to New York, little did I imagine that I would not return to Montana until 46 years later, for our High School Reunion in 1989.

I was met at Grand Central Station in New York by Lorraine Grater, a Parsons’ art student from Deer Lodge, who invited me to stay at her apartment until Sid arrived from a tour, and we could look for our own apartment. I registered at Parsons on September 8, 1943 and on the 11th started hunting for an apartment to share with Sid. Actually, he and his dancing partner, Nina Youskevitch, finally found THE apartment! It had a huge main room with high ceilings, big mirrors over mantles, and a tiny hide-away kitchen. I remember the address, it was 35 East 35th. Street, right off Park Avenue.

From there I rode up Lexington Avenue by bus to Parson’s School on 57th. Street. Our class spent hours in the Metropolitan Museum doing research and sketches of Greek, Roman and Egyptian art. I specially enjoyed the line drawings in ink of religious sculptures from the Renaissance. We also spent a lot of time at the Museum of Natural History, making ink drawings with a touch of watercolor for special effects.

One afternoon I went with Lilly Pitti, a friend from school, to a marvelous exhibit of Salvador Dali, and to our surprise, he was there! That December we walked up and down 5th. Avenue to see the store windows decorated for Christmas. One store had whole scenes from Bethlehem, the Adoration of the Magi, and so forth, I had never seen any of these things in Montana. One of my favorite class projects was to design store window decorations.

Another friend, Margery Guitterman, took me to see a beautiful French movie, “Carnival in Flanders”. All the scenery was like old Flemish paintings; it was just like walking into some of those paintings, just unbelievable. Before Christmas, Margery invited me to her home in New Rochelle, in the northern part of New York State. It was a very old and interesting home on a big estate.

On Christmas Eve, Nina Youskevitch invited Sid and me to dinner at her place, and afterwards we went to a second dinner at Wolfgang’s (Sidney’s friend). Finally, we ended up at night at the Christmas Eve Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. All these activities were wonderful, but there was something about Christmas, which made me very homesick ...

Lolly Brautigan (from Deer Lodge) came to visit me from Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, where she was studying nursing, Nina invited us all to a Russian Ball that New Years Eve, and Sid gave us rose corsages. The Ball was very elegant and lasted until very late, so we came home just in time to fix a scrambled egg breakfast.

In the afternoon we took Lolly to the Museum of Modern Art, and in the evening to a Broadway play, “Outrageous Fortune”. The next day we saw her off to Baltimore, on the arm of a sailor friend. She invited me to visit her and Peggy Cole in March, and I did. The weather was awful, but Peggy and I went on down to Washington, D.C. to see the Capitol, since I had never seen it. Unfortunately there was such a blizzard that we couldn’t see much. At that time Franklin D. Roosevelt was President; mother used to refer to him as “That crazy man at the White House!”.

We started a new project at school, which was to design a hooked rug. We went to America House, Cooper Union Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum to get ideas and inspiration. In class, we folded sheets of paper with a glob of paint in the center to produce repeat designs. I chose tans and browns for my colors, and we had to use tempra paint. I had never used it before, so it was interesting; it’s a combination of watercolor and oil technique. In other words, a thick watercolor. After a number of tries it came out very well.

Living in New York was so exciting and different from living in Montana. I’ll give you a sample of interesting sights and experiences I had there.

Parson’s School was right in the center of the art galleries, and we often went visiting the exhibitions; or walked through a wonderful museum, or Central Park, which was close by, or any number of wonderful exhibits in the district. Just walking up 5th. Avenue was a treat...the fashions in the windows were gorgeous! One afternoon Sid and I walked up 5th. Avenue to watch the window dressing in progress. Some mannequins were already dressed, and others’ heads, legs or arms were lying on the floor, waiting to be assembled. It looked odd!

Another day I went to watch Nina and Sidney take a ballet lesson at Vilzack’s, and afterwards we went to lunch at a nice French restaurant.

Our lunch hour at school was perfect for trying out new and different restaurants. Within walking distance we could vary our menu during the month. My friends had to keep within a fixed budget, so we generally started out at the better restaurants, and worked down to liverwurst sandwiches in the corner drugstore by the end of the month. When we could, we would eat at French, Italian, Chinese, Arabian, Scandinavian (smorgasbord) or other restaurants. The closest I got to Mexican food was Chile con Carne, which I loved.

One afternoon I went over to Times Square to interview Paul Robeson for our yearbook of Montana State College. He was very generous with his time for the interview. He was famous at the time for his marvelous deep bass voice, and his rendition of “Ole Man River”. Several weeks later we went to see the play. Very impressive.

The Ballet Russe danced one performance in Trenton, New Jersey and Nina, Sid and I went over to see it. It was in a high school auditorium without any scenery, but it was wonderful!

I wrote about many of these things in my Five Year Diary, so that’s how I can remember so much. Actually I find we did something interesting almost every day. Too much to write about.

A friend and I went to see a French surrealistic movie called “Blood of the Poet”, which I can’t say I understood. The second feature was a 1915 “Carmen” with Charlie Chaplin, with a new sound track featuring modern swing music, if you can believe it.

After the last Sunday Concert of the Season at the Met., Sid and I joined friends from the Ballet Russe in Nina’s dressing room. Then we all packed into a cab and went to a Russian tearoom on 14th. Street. The group made quite an impressive entrance because everyone there bowed very low to the Metropolitan and Ballet Russe dancers. I’d never seen anything like that before.

In April we had a short Easter vacation at Parsons’, so I decided to visit my cousin Lepai in Boston. Before leaving, I rented a room at International House because Sid was going to go on summer tour with the Met, and I didn’t want to come back to the apartment alone.

Lepai took me on a tour of Boston, since I had never been there. It was full of interesting historic places. We watched the Easter Parade on the Commonwealth of Boston, and in the evening, by a stroke of luck, the Met was performing in the Old Boston Opera House, so we went to see “The Masked Ball” in which Sidney was dancing. It was really beautiful (being about a Masked Ball); I was so proud of Sidney’s performance, and the fact that Aunt Mary and Lepai were there with me to see him.

After Easter vacation, I went back to New York to stay at International House. My room was tiny, with a bare cement floor, furnished with a bed, a small desk, chair, and a closet. Not even a washbasin...the bathroom was down the hall...Although the description may sound bleak, International House was actually quite nice. It had attractive common areas like a large nice lobby, a music room, a ballroom and so forth. It faces Riverside Church across a small park. I’ll always remember the carillon chimes of the church. On the right, going out the front entrance, was Riverside Drive next to the Hudson River, and a little further down Grant’s Tomb. It was one of the nicest sections of Manhattan.

I didn’t know anybody at International House, so when I first entered the downstairs cafeteria, and stood hesitating with a loaded tray in my hands, looking for a table, the stage was set for my future....A good looking young man asked me to join him, along with two other fellows at their table. Who could say “No”? However, after I got settled, he excused himself and left! What a blow to my ego! When I asked him later why he had left, he said that his friends had asked him to invite me to sit with them, and since they spoke English with an accent (one was from Cuba and the other from Peru) he thought they would seem more charming to me.

Guillermo was from Mexico, but had lived 10 years of his childhood in Texas and California, so he spoke English without an accent. It wasn’t until several weeks later that I finally managed to meet him again. One afternoon there was a dance in one of the downstairs rooms. I heard music, so I peeked in to see how things looked. Bill was there and asked me to dance (finally)! Once we met and started to chat with each other, we found that we got along famously, and I’ve always felt as though we’d known each other for years; so we started dating.

At this particular time in our “careers”, April 1944, I was just finishing my first year at Parsons’, and Bill was finishing his second year at New York University, where he got his Masters Degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

We had a whirlwind romance, but all too soon summer vacation arrived, and we both left New York; Bill for Mexico, and I for Laguna Beach, California.

Mother and dad had rented a house overlooking the ocean from a cliff. We could go down some stairs and swim off our own beach. This was like a dream! While in Laguna, mother and dad took jobs helping out in the war effort. When I arrived, I took a job in Paul Outerbridge’s photographic studio. He took portraits with color film. I can’t say that I was much help, but it was interesting, I loved the relaxed life in Laguna ... sunny California at its best.

I wrote to Bill in Mexico, but his answers didn’t seem particularly enthusiastic, so I stopped writing. Mother suggested I study art in California, but I preferred to return to New York. However, I did decide to change school, selecting Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. I’d been told that classes there were more “down to earth.”

At this point, since we had stopped writing to each other, neither of us knew that the other was planning to return to New York (Bill had already received his Master’s and I didn’t know what he was going to do next). I arrived at International House in September 1944, ready to enroll in Pratt Institute, and waiting for Sidney to get back from tour so we could look for an apartment (again!).

I later found out that after Bill received his Master’s Degree, in June of 1944, he was offered another scholarship to get his Doctorate, but he chose to take instead a “Work Scholarship” that would give him experience in his professional work.

As fate would have it, that September Bill arrived at International House to pick up a suitcase he had left there. He was actually on his way to Philadelphia. Here is where FATE stepped in. A friend of Bill’s had noticed me at International House and when he saw Bill, he asked him whether he’d seen me or not. Well, he hadn’t, so he called me on the house phone, and much to our surprise, we met again. Obviously we were meant for each other. Bill moved to Philadelphia to work in the Kellett Helicopter Corporation, and Sidney and I rented an apartment at Mrs. Rieley’s on 16th Street in Manhattan, next door to a Catholic church.

I liked my Commercial Art courses in Pratt; they were definitely more oriented toward the advertising world, and the selling of everyday products. We did layouts for newspapers and magazine ads, designed packaging for any number of products, studied the influence of color on packaging, worked a great deal on lettering and its importance in an advertisement, and the message it carries in its style, (to this day I often see bad lettering in advertisements). All this was terribly interesting to me.

Pratt had a basketball team, and during the Christmas vacations I composed a rousing pep song for the school. I won a prize for the song, and was interviewed for he school paper. That was fun.

Bill came to visit me on weekends, so we went to see many of the wonderful plays and “musicals” which were so popular at the time. Just to name some: Oklahoma, Paint Your Wagon (In which Sidney danced), South Pacific, Annie Get Your Gun, and the marvelous Carmen Jones, with its all-black cast. Those were magical times for us.

Sometimes, when we were chatting about our lives and families, and schools, Bill told me that he had studied his first three years of aeronautical engineering in the Polytechnic in Mexico City and was then given a scholarship from the Institute of International Education to finish his last year at the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aeronautics of New York University. He arrived in New York in October of 1942, one year before I did.

He had been told that he was arriving only about two weeks after the courses of the last year of engineering had started, but actually it turned out that he had arrived two months after the start of a special accelerated wartime course. When on arrival he met the Dean of the College of Engineering of N.Y.U., he said that these two months were about equivalent to six months of a regular school year, and he didn’t see how Bill could catch up.

However, the Dean allowed him to stay and give it a try, and that was the start of a cold winter of constant work and study. To make things more difficult for Bill, he did not receive his scholarship allowance ($100.00 a month) until two months after arrival in New York (with only $20. 00 in his pocket). He actually went hungry at times, and at best ate little and as cheaply as possible. Although he was at International House on arrival, he soon moved to cheaper rooms in the same neighborhood.

Bill says that Christmas of 1942 was especially sad because he had no friends to share it with, and spent the day and night studying, and the next day back to school. For months he did not have the time, or money to get a haircut, so that when he graduated in April of 1943, he had long hair (not fashionable then) under his cap and toga.

For all his hard work, Bill received very just recognition, The Daniel Guggenheim School of Aeronautics of the College of Engineering of N. Y. U. sent a letter to his alma mater, the E.S.I.M.E. of the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico City, with congratulations for the excellent preparation they had given Bill; and he was given another scholarship to get his Masters in Aeronautical Engineering at N.Y.U.

So, in September of 1943, Bill started his second year at N.Y.U., as I was arriving from Montana to enter Parsons’ School of Design to begin my commercial art course.

We didn’t meet until the next year, 1944, after the Easter vacation, during which I had visited my cousin Lepai in Boston, and Sid had gone on tour, leaving me at International House, as I have related earlier.

Bill proposed to me that spring, and of course I was thrilled! I said “Yes!” immediately. When I told Sidney, he insisted that I should have said that I would think about it, and accepted after the second proposal. This hadn’t even occurred to me.

I graduated from Pratt Institute in May of 1945 and we were married by a Justice of the Peace in Philadelphia on May 15, 1945. I went back to New York to tell all my friends at school, and to buy my wedding dress at a very exclusive shop. I asked them to send it to Vista, California where mother and dad lived in an avocado grove. Our plans were to have our “Religious Wedding” in California.

We bought our train tickets to Los Angeles because there was no train service to Vista. We were met in Los Angeles by Dr. and Mrs. Gama, Bill’s Uncle and Aunt who had been very close to the Prieto family when they lived in Los Angeles.

They invited us to stay over night at their home, which we were happy to do. They told Bill that two of their sons had been killed in separate but similar flight training accidents in the Army Air Corps. Bill kept thinking that if he and his family hadn’t returned to Mexico in 1933, the same fate might have struck them. The irony of it all is that the Gama’s had immigrated to the US to escape the “danger” of the Mexican revolution.

From Los Angeles we took the train down to Oceanside where Sidney was with mother and dad to meet us and ease any possible strain between the folks and Bill. However they got along beautifully, and then we all drove home to Vista. We both loved the grove, and the next days were filled with preparations for the wedding in the Catholic Church in Laguna Beach, on June 9th!

Just for the record, I was 21 years old, and Bill 24. The wedding ceremony was at 10 Saturday morning on a beautiful sunny day. Nina Youskevitch was my bridesmaid, and Sidney was Bill’s best man. Everything looked a little hazy to me because I’d taken my glasses off. I had some difficulty pronouncing “Guillermo Prieto Arguelles,” after which I stumbled over “lawful wedded husband” and started to say “-awful ...,” but corrected myself immediately. So we were happily married, and later went to have our pictures taken at a studio.

Our wedding reception was at the Victor Hugo Restaurant overlooking the Ocean. Later in the afternoon we changed into swimming suits and went swimming in the ocean! It was a memorable day!

Bill and I stayed on in Vista for a few days after the wedding for Bill to get more acquainted with mother and dad. Actually Dad took a great liking to Bill and showed him how to shoot a small 22 pistol, and then gave it to him. Dad also gave him his bamboo trout fishing rod, a 30-06 hunting rifle, a hunting knife and a beautiful “side by side” double shotgun. This was the beginning of Bill’s love for guns and hunting.

Soon we left for Mexico so I could meet Bill’s family. I was sure that I would love Mexico, and I did. We went by train, from Los Angeles to Nogales, Arizona and then down the west coast of Mexico. When our train got to Guadalajara, we had to wait there because a bridge was washed out further along the way. We took advantage of the wait and hired a horse-drawn buggy to trot us out to Tlaquepaque, a little town near by, known for its beautiful hand painted pottery. We visited some pottery kilns, and craft shops and then went to the plaza for lunch.

Our table was on a veranda, which circled a building with some craft shops and restaurants. Here I was treated to a big surprise. Bill asked a trio of “Mariachis” to sing for us, and then this group whistled for another to join them, and so on, until a whole big group of them stood before us. Then the burst into their boisterous songs, the likes of which I had never heard before. It was so exciting I shall never forget it! I still love Mariachi serenades.

In the evening we went back to the train and proceeded to Mexico City, where Bill’s family and friends met us at the station. I was a bit nervous, but had my vocabulary of “Mucho Gusto, Si, No, and Muchas Gracias”, all prepared. Actually I was very lucky in that his mother and father and most of the family spoke very good English, since they had lived in the States for about ten years. Because of this they understood both my English and my way of thinking.

We spent the first few days in Mexico City in a big new hotel, “Posada del Sol”, owned by one of Don Jorge’s friends, and the detail I liked most of our stay there was that breakfasts were served outdoors on a terrace with lots of exotic fresh fruits. Later we went to stay with Bill’s family in their home on the Calle San Lorenzo. This was a huge Colonial style house, which really dazzled me. There were arched doors and windows; the downstairs rooms were separated with beautiful wrought iron grillwork, and a curved stairway went up to the bedrooms on the second floor.

The household ran smoothly with the help of three maids and a houseboy to help out. This kind of life was very new to me, I must say. Bill’s family consisted of his father, Don Jorge Prieto Laurens, his mother Dona Felisa Arguelles de Prieto, and four daughters and four sons, including Bill. The oldest son was Jorge, then came the eldest daughter Felisa (Chata), then Bill, Carlos, Emma (Berilu), Socorro (Soco), Teresa (Tete) and Pedro Antonio the youngest.

The four youngest had been born in the States and the four oldest, including Bill, in Mexico. Bill and I were the first of the family to get married.

Going back to my memories of our honeymoon, there seemed to be parties every evening at the Prieto home. The fact is that with so many young people in the family, there were always friends dropping in, and most stayed to chat, play chess or other games, and play records to dance. Sometimes Soco’s boy friend, Jorge Noe, accompanied her on the guitar; she sang beautifully.

We were invited to the homes of all the different members of the family; I met Bill’s grandfathers, all his aunts, uncles and cousins. At this point I wished I had learned more Spanish, for I kept mixing in words in French (learned in high school and college).

I finally got “Moctezuma’s Revenge” and we were invited to a ranch in the mountains near the city of Puebla, so I could rest and enjoy the healthful country atmosphere. This ranch was where Lupita, one of Mrs. Prieto’s sisters lived. They had a pottery factory there, and it was a lovely place. Near by there was a ranch where Bulls were bred for Bull Fights, they call them “Toros Bravos”.

I painted a water color of the fountain which was in the patio of their ranch house, and Lupita showed me her beautiful embroidery work done on table cloths, napkins, dollies, bed spreads, dresses, and just about everything made of cloth. The work was really incredible.

Friends were so nice, and made special meals (really banquets) for me, but I just couldn’t eat much more than teas and toast at the time. However, I soon recovered, and we continued our unforgettable honeymoon in Mexico. We went to see some bullfights; the first one thrilled me, especially because of the music, color and fiesta atmosphere, but on the second one we sat too close for comfort.

We returned to Philadelphia to settle down to married life. Bill worked at the Kellett Helicopter Corporation, outside of Philadelphia, and we rented a second floor of a home in West Philadelphia, which had been converted into apartments. Here I began keeping house (the art that had eluded me until then). I learned to cook, wash the clothes in the bathtub, iron, clean house, and so on. It was kind of fun after all.

On Saturdays we’d go downtown on the trolley (we didn’t have a car, and in fact as the war was still going on, there were no new cars for sale) and window shop, see a movie and then have dinner at a restaurant, preferably the one called “Bookbinders” which had very good seafood.

When the war was over, Bill took up photography as a hobby and became really interested in all its facets. He bought a little “Mercury” single frame 35 mm. camera, the first available then ... and learned to develop film and to enlarge and print photos; he also developed color transparencies. All in his “darkroom” in our bathroom. Very ingenious. I did water color painting in my spare time, and got a commercial art job in Philadelphia for a few weeks, but I didn’t like it much, so I left it and took a course in ceramics. That was fun.

Bill started to teach me Spanish conversation once we were settled into our apartment. I concentrated on it so hard that I even began to dream in slow motion in Spanish. Finally I decided to allow myself to tell jokes in English because a joke with a slow punch line just loses its punch.

We didn’t have many friends in Philadelphia, only Stelle Williams and her husband with whom we played cards sometimes. Bill had roomed at Stelle’s mother’s home before our marriage.

Around the middle of December 1945, Bill suddenly got very sick with acute appendicitis, and was operated the same day his pains started. He got a terrible infection, “peritonitis”, which in other times would have been fatal, but with the miraculous antibiotic just discovered in those war years, called “penicillin”, he was saved by an injection every four hours, but he had to spend two months in the hospital. Fortunately, Bill had a full hospital and medical insurance coverage with his Work Scholarship. Otherwise, we would have had a very big debt to pay.

In January of 46, I realized that I was pregnant; so we began making all kinds of plans for the exciting arrival of a baby. Mother wrote that she would be happy to come help me take care of the baby during the first month at home.

Our landlord told us he wanted to sell the house where we were living, but would rent us another apartment near-by. So when mother came she helped us to move, and I went off to the hospital. Susana was born on August 26 while mother and Bill cleaned the new apartment, polished the floors, and made everything comfy. Mother stayed and helped me take care of Susana for a month. I do not know how I would have managed without her!

Bill changed from Work Scholarship status to regular employee at Kellett, so we had more income and even saved a little in the Bank. We got on the waiting list a car (just starting to come out after the war) and even admired one of the first television sets in a display window ... quite small and with a very snowy image.

Kellett went bankrupt, however, and although Bill could have worked in another helicopter plant, we decided to return to Mexico in September of 1947. It helped to reach this decision the fact that in early 1947 mother had written that I had inherited $3,000.00. This, with the $1,000.00 we had saved, for the new car, was enough to buy a home in Mexico City. Therefore, early in 1947 we had asked Bill’s father to buy a house, and live in it with his family until we arrived.

This was the first home of our own, a Spanish Colonial design, two stories and four bedrooms. It was located in Gabriel Mancera street, in the Colonia del Valle.

We traveled to Mexico by way of California to introduce Susana to dad, and show mother how much she had grown. Mother made her first birthday cake for Susana, and she was beginning to walk and talk which charmed everyone.

From California, we returned to Mexico by plane, this time to stay. our family grew over the years when we had Guy (Guillermo Diego), Antonio and Rodrigo, and we’ve lived happily ever after..., but that would fill another album!

As my “AS I RECALL” is being attached to the History of the Prieto family, I will only add that for many years, as Bill was very busy, with his regular job and as a professor at different engineering colleges, I handled all the home finances, paid all bills etc. Bill just handed me all his take home pay and then asked for money for his expenses. I did have the help of a live in maid, and that was wonderful.

I also managed to teach English at a Mexico City school called The Modern American School and in later years, I taught my children to drive, but as I have said, this story would fill another long chapter, and our children remember these years.

I am happy to repeat that indeed we have all lived happily ever after!

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