They ate lunch in the Cavern lunchroom over 750 feet below the surface of the earth. Lunch cost 50 cents and consisted of sandwiches, cake, fruit, potato chips, and drink.
Eleanor created a real impression with the feathers in her hat. Every one looked twice to see what they were attached to, and were quite surprised when they saw no crow. Lester thought that there were a lot of cobwebs brushing him on the back of his neck, until he discovered Eleanor behind him very innocently gawking at the scenery.
One impressive place was the Rock of Ages where the people were seated in a natural amphitheater. The lights were all turned out, and the guide said that they were in more complete darkness than they had even seen before. Then a choir sang "Rock of Ages" as the lights were turned on in the distance, getting louder as the lights became nearer and brighter.
In the cave Eleanor saw a girl she had gone to school with at Hayes, and Lester saw a man who used to live at Belpre. It's a small word.
The trip through the cave was completed about 4:00 and they immediately out for El Paso, Texas, about 160 miles west. This proved to be a very long barren stretch with no towns between. This drive was uneventful, and El Paso was reached about 7:00. They had no trouble finding adequate cabins, and while the girls dressed, the boys secured much valuable information from the attendant who was quite familiar with Mexcio. They decided to eat Thanksgiving dinner in Old Mexico, so they crossed over the International Bridge which spans the Rio Grande between Texas and Mexico, paying their one-cent to get across, (and two-cents to get back), and entered Juarez, a city of 54,000.
The cabin camp attendant had recommended Lobby No. 1, so they being hungry found it immediately. Lobby No. 1 catered to El Paso society, and many people were there eating Thanksgiving dinner (turkey dinner was $5.00, but being school teachers they contented themselves with $3.00 steaks). Liquor flowed freely and this group from dry Kansas ate slowly so they could see everything that happened. The floorshow was mostly Mexican, however there were two roller skating artists from the States. The food was excellent and the service superb.
After dinner Main Street of Juarez was explored and some curio shops visited. However, no one bought anything that night.
On the way back over the bridge Eleanor and Sollie became separated from the rest of the party. When they found them talking to an official, they were rather worried until Sollie came up and said, "Mother, do you remember so and so who used to go to Wesleyan to school? He's an official here." It's still a small world.Breakfast on Friday morning was eaten in El Paso, and the chief side attraction was two women with a hangover and a dog. Sollie and Mrs. H. saw the better part of the show, because their booth was better situated.
About 9:00 they re-crossed the International Bridge and spent the day in a veritable land of enchantment. Guides were eager to show them the jail and Old Mission, but other things were so pressing that they passed them up and saw these buildings only from the outside.
The market place proved to be the main attraction. It was just like
a carnival, with booths along the outside and in rows down through the
middle. Having been warned by the cabin camp attendant not to pay the first
price asked for anything, everyone did a lot of looking until Sollie's
"Jew" warmed up. Then everyone really went to town. When Mrs. H. got a
man "jewed" down to 50-cent on lunch cloths, everyone went back and bought
lunch cloths. Most time and energy was spent getting Humbargars' and Eleanor's
serapes and rugs.
The outdoor market where the Mexicans did their buying was most picturesque.
Meat, including dog carcasses, was hanging out in the open. When it was
purchased, the shop man wrapped it in a newspaper. It was quite evident
from the display that every part of every animal had been utilized. There
were huge cone-shaped bunches of sugar cane and pine pitch was sold for
fuel. Some of the booths here were filled with cheap American goods.
A small native gardenia or rose may be purchased from street vendors for 5 or 10 cents. Margaret splurged on one of these.
Of course no visit to Mexico would be complete without a visit to the
bull ring. A school boy---who said he was 15 years old and in grade 1--with
slick black hair and flashing eyes displayed the ring. It evidently held
much fascination for him, but he said he didn't have money enough to attend
these fights. Each Sunday the fights were held, and 3 bulls which were
to be used on the ensuring Sunday were in a pen at the rear of the structure.
About 4:00 everyone suddenly realized that he was tired and had no dinner, so they started back toward the bridge, taking long last looks at everything.
Probably the most attention commanding thing of the Mexican trip was
Confetti; the only Mexican senorita Lester could find who was willing to
desert all for him. His heart was taken by a little Mexican hairless dog
that he saw early in the morning, but just before he reached the bridge,
he saw the man with Confetti, and lost it all over again. They soon struck
a bargain, and Lester, thrusting all his packages into the nearest hands,
was completely lost to everything but that little soft, furry, brown and
white ball. He was a little perturbed when a bystander mentioned that customs
officers might not let her across, but he happily had no difficulty there.
It was decided that time could be saved by driving to Albuquerque that evening, so about 8:00 they started on the 200 mile drive north. Lester had some little trouble finding a box and some milk for Confetti, but he finally succeeded, and with a Mexican dish for her to eat from she so wouldn't get too homesick, everything was under control.
Borden's lactarium at the north edge of El Paso proved to be an interesting sight, and a few minutes were spend there watching the cows being milked and the milk being conveyed to the cooler and bottled. The milk is "untouched by human hands" from start to finish.
They reached Albuquerque about midnight and secured cabins at King's Rest. Poor Confetti and Glenn put in an awful night. Confetti wanted her mamma, and she didn't think Glenn was a very good substitute, but he finally moved her close enough to the bed that he could pat her when she whined, and that helped some.
Saturday morning they backtracked to Isleta, an Indian Pueblo, about 15 miles south of Albuquerque. Isleta was a typical primitive Indian village with adobe houses and outdoor ovens. The people were dressed in a mixture of Indian and American fashion. The streets were little one-
track paths', often ending in dead-ends. Red peppers strung on long strings hung from many of the houses.
The Kiva, where their religious ceremonies were held, was a chief attraction
here. Glenn incurred the wrath of the natives by looking down into the
"bogy hole," and an old man chased the entire party off. Later in town
they learned that some fraternity boys' stealing the ladder out of it had
caused a near revolution.
In the afternoon the trip toward Santa Fe was resumed. A monument to
a Mormon battalion was seen along the way.
An old turquoise mine south of Santa Fe proved to be an interesting sight. The old caretaker and his wife were rare characters. While Sollie, Glenn, and Lester looked in the dump pile for turquoise, Mrs. H., Eleanor, and Margaret talked to the lady who gave a very graphic description of their adopted son and his difficulties. They were very much wrapped up in their rocks, and took great pride in showing their extensive collection.
Many of the sights of Santa Fe were missed, because it was dark by the
time it was reached. However, they did see the outside of the Old Mission
and the oldest house in town. Supper was eaten in a Chinese restaurant.
After supper the dime stores were given the once over.
Eleanor created a sensation with her seal skin coat, feathered hat, and Confetti. Everyone looked around to see which limousine was hers.
The trip from Santa Fe to Raton took until 12:00. The moon was shining brightly and the snow-capped mountains were beautiful.
Sollie and Mrs. H. went to bed, but as usual Glenn and Lester had to eat, so Eleanor and Margaret went along to keep them out of mischief.
The late hours were beginning to tell, because when Glenn and Lester went to get the rest of the party on Sunday morning, they were still in bed. So while the rest of the party dressed, Lester cleaned out the car, and hid the peanuts to insure the job's lasting. The cabins here were the worst on the entire trip--the more they came, the worse they got.
From Raton they proceeded to Trinidad, Colorado. A brief stop was made
at Hasty, Colorado; to see Cadoa Dam that is being erected there.
Dinner was eaten at La Junta, Colorado, at Fox's Cafe, where the "service was poor, and coffee muddy" according to the sign. However, the meal was very good. Incidentally, this was also the largest liquor store in the Southwest.
About 7:00 Sunday evening the group reached Larned, and since Glenn still had 35 cents, he took everyone to the Bon Top for a coke. So it was "Home Sweet Home" after 1800 miles of one of the best times anyone ever had.
Prepared by Margaret Kagarice - 1941.