Maria Montez-Skolnik

Maria Montez-Skolnik


Both sides of my family trace their roots in the Santa Fé area to the 1600s.  In the earlier years they were primarily farmers, builders, craftsmen, artists (wood carvers and weavers), and educators.  I graduated from SFHS & NMSU and received my BA & MA in Speech & Language Pathology. I divide my time between Santa Fé and the San Francisco Bay Area.  


Sunday, 10 November 2013 03:40

Major Paul Davis

"Honoring my father, Major Paul Davis, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was called one of Iron Men of Metz.  He liberated a labor camp and was in charge of a Belgian town for over a year. 

"Rest in peace, Daddy, and thank you for your service."  Kristi Davis

Voces de Santa Fe honors your memory. Rest in peace, Mr. Davis

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Sunday, 10 November 2013 01:55

Sgt. Ramon Móntes, U.S. Army, WWII

A little boy, who sold newspapers on the Santa Fe plaza and spoke mostly Spanish, would later cross in an ocean liner to Germany during WWII.

Ramon Móntes, an Army 78th Lightning Division heavy machine gunner, lost much of his hearing while protecting the strategic Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine River as German forces fought desperately by ground and air to destroy the French border crossing. The capture of the bridge at Remagen would be a significant turning point in the war, saving many American soldiers and causing Hitler's army to retreat. Later, this important event was recreated in the movie, The Bridge of Remagenn

In an interview with the Albuquerque Journal, Ramon says: "For three solid days I fired that gun and the planes just kept coming," describing the 50-caliber gun that fended off Messerschmitt fighter planes. 

Ramon remembers capturing the earthen dam, a strategic victory that prevented the Germans from flooding the Rhone Valley. He remembered life on the Western front as German paratroopers descended from the sky on Christmas Day, and he recalled a dangerous post-war Europe where three young children set off a leftover German hand grenade.

He would return to his hometown, Santa Fe, in early 1946, and walk in his combat boots to the Santuario de Chimayo, carrying the rosary he wore around his neck during the war. This pilgrimage to Chimayo was done over hills as a promise he made if he would return home.  Ramon kept that rosary by the side of his bed the rest of his life. He passed away after a long and happy life on May 31, 2009, and was buried with his rosary. 
Voces de Santa Fe honors your memory. Rest in peace, Dad.  
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Sunday, 10 November 2013 01:00

Captain Allan MacGillivray II, USAF

"In loving memory of my dad on Veterans Day: Captain Allan MacGillivray II USAF, 1941-1945. Died November 2, 2002"

by son, "Mac" Allan MacGillivray III

Voces honors your memory, Mr. MacGillivray. RIP

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Lt. DeForest Lord Jr., US Navy, 1944.

Dr, Lord died in 1975 from a brain tumor, most likely caused by radiation exposure he received while removing fillings from the teeth of 7 individuals who had been injured in an explosion at Los Alamos in 1946, where he was a dentist. He was a delayed casualty of WWII.

Voces honors your memory, Dr. Lord. RIP 

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Patricia was born in Los Alamos on November 8, 1949.  Her parents worked and lived in Los Alamos during the week and on weekends the family would go to their house in Chimayo to work on the farm/ranch at La Centinela near Chimayo, where they raised animals and crops.  Her father was also a well known master weaver. Patricia graduated from Los Alamos High in 1967.  She attended NMSU, receiving a BS degree in Agricultural Biology.  She later attended Utah State receiving an MS degree in Biology-Microbial Ecology.  She returned to Las Cruces and worked at NMSU as a research specialist in an animal nutrition toxicology lab, completing an MS in Animal Science/Toxicology in 1984.  In 1985 Patricia and her husband, Marco Oviedo, moved to Chimayo where they started the family business.  She worked concurrently for the New Mexico Department of  Transportation as an Environmentalist/Public Involvement Coordinator until 1990, then briefly as the Department’s Public Affairs Director.  In 1991, she transferred to Los Alamos National Laboratory where she was a Technical Staff member and worked in the Environmental Restoration Program as a Community Relations Specialist.  In 1995, Patricia "retired” from the Lab to work in the family business full time. She is the manager of three distinct businesses:  
Her husband’s woodcarving and bronze sculpture gallery and foundry; 
a breeding farm of heritage breeds of donkeys, horses and sheep, sold around the country, some used in movies; and a guest inn.  
Her job title is “Jenny of all Trades” and duties include bookkeeper, gallery operator, guest inn owner and manager, horse-donkey-mule trainer, sheep wrestler, cow liberator, truck driver, santo painter, trail ride director, manure mover, cat broker, and social director…to name a few.  Working in her own business has given Patricia the flexibility to engage in other activities which includes leading Donkey Trail rides under the name of “Paseo de la Tierra Vieja” through the foothills in Chimayo, describing the history and pointing out various historic and archeological landmarks of interest to those on the ride.  She is an official tour guide at El Santuario de Chimayo and for other historic churches in the surrounding area, and has written a pictorial history book on Chimayo, published in 2012.  Patricia is a former board member of the Chimayo Cultural Preservation Association, and is currently Chairperson of the Chimayo Association of Businesses and of both Holy Family Parish Finance Council and the El Santuario de Chimayo Advisory Board.  She is a member of the Chimayo Community Planning Organization. 

We are proud that Patricia is a Voz.  

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Friday, 25 October 2013 23:35

Ghost Ranch: Where did it get its name?

Ghost Ranch


"Dinosaurs once walked the soggy wetlands that became the arid high desert of Ghost Ranch. Millions of years later Navajos and various other tribes roamed the valley. The Spaniards settled here and then came the cattle rustlers, the wranglers and the dudes. Arthur Pack, one of the country’s first environmentalists, bought the Ranch and sold a little piece of it to Georgia O’Keeffe. Scientists took respite time here from the stresses of building the nuclear bomb at Los Alamos. Famous guests have included Charles Lindbergh, Ansel Adams and John Wayne. Arthur Pack and his wife Phoebe gave the Ranch to the Presbyterian Church in 1955 and even though Georgia O’Keeffe wanted the Ranch for herself she eventually became friends of the first director of Ghost Ranch, Jim Hall. The history of Ghost Ranch reads like a novel.

Why it's called Ghost Ranch
"When the cattle rustlers were hiding their stolen goods in the box canyon alongside Kitchen Mesa, they discouraged their neighbors from looking around by spreading the rumor that the land was haunted by evil spirits. “Rancho de los Brujos” it was called, “Ranch of the Witches,” which naturally evolved into Ghost Ranch. The turn-off to Ghost Ranch was marked by an animal skull long before Arthur Pack bought the ranch in 1936. When Georgia O’Keeffe came looking for the Ranch she was told to watch for the skull on a fence post. O’Keeffe made a drawing of an ox skull and gave it to Arthur Pack; he promptly adopted the artwork as the logo for Ghost Ranch. When Pack gave the Ranch to the Presbyterian Church they used a sketch of Chimney Rock as a logo. By 1971, partly as a result of O’Keeffe’s encouragement, the familiar skull design was firmly established as the official Ghost Ranch logo.

"For more than fifty-five years Ghost Ranch has been a national education and retreat center owned by the Presbyterian Church. At one time in history it had the largest number of employees in Rio Arriba County. From the beginning Ghost Ranch has been deeply involved in support of the surrounding communities and committed to the preservation and protection of the environment."

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Saturday, 06 April 2013 17:50

E. A. “Tony” Mares, PhD

E. A. “Tony” Mares, PhD, is a poet, historian, essayist, and fiction writer. His books include: The Unicorn Poem & Flowers and Songs of Sorrow West End Press);With the Eyes of a Raptor (Wings Press); and translations of Spanish poet Ángel González, (Wings Press, 2007). He co-authored, with Tomás Atencio and Miguel Montiel,Resolana: Emerging Chicano Dialogues on Community and Globalization (University of Arizona Press, 2009). His book of poetry,Conversations I Never Had With Patrociño Barela, was published in Fall, 2010 by University of New Mexico Press. 
from: Voices from the American Land

Tras La Ventana, El Amor

Tras la ventana, el amor
vestido de blanco, mira.
Mira a la tarde, que gira
sus luces y su color.

La begonia sin olor
sus verdes ojas estira
para mirar lo que mira
tras la ventana: el amor:
la primavera, surgida
del pico de un ruiseñor.

Through The Window,Love

Through the window, love
dressed in white, discerns.
It sees the afternoon, how it turns
its light and color.

The begonia with no fragrance
stretches its green leaves
to see what it can
through the window, sees love:
spring flowing
from the beak of a nightingale.

Casi Toda La Música and other poems/​Almost All the Music and other poems is the translator's tribute to Ángel González, one of the greatest Spanish poets (from Asturias) of the twentieth century. Ángel was a friend of mine for over thirty years. He worked with me on each of these poems that deal with love, mortality, and the immortality of music.
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 17:55

The Ciderpress House, Santa Fe, NM

Words on a sign on the wall of the building: 

“The Ciderpress was an antique store for many years but is now a private residence.  The brick section was built by the Cartwright family and was the first garage built in Santa Fe.  The adobe section was built in the early 1940s by Juanito Lujan, a Taos Indian, for his own use.  He was the gardener and good friend of Emmy Caldwell, whose family still owns it.  The property extends to De Vargas St.  The location of the western portion of the Roque Tuedesqui house, built in 1840, 99 years old when bought by Mr. Cadlwell!”


Saturday, 09 March 2013 02:27

Rina Swentzell: A New Mexico Treasure

Rina Swentzell , PhD, was born in Santa Clara Pueblo. She earned her B.A. in Education and her M.A. in Architecture from New Mexico Highlands University. She earned her Ph.D. in American Studies in 1982 from the University of New Mexico. Swentzell writes and lectures on the philosophical and cultural basis of the Pueblo world and its educational, artistic, and architectural expressions. Her writing appears in magazines, scholarly journals, and edited collections and she appears in video presentations for television and museums commenting upon Puebloan cultural values. She has been a consultant to a number of museums including Santa Fe’s Institute of American Indian Arts and the Smithsonian, and was a visiting lecturer at both Yale and Oxford in 1996. She has contributed to Lore of the Land as a board member and scholar since 2007.!

"Laura Gilpin (1891-1979) grew up in the West and always considered herself a Westerner. She said of herself, “I am definitely a westerner and I just have to be in the mountain country. It’s where I belong.” She was born on 22 April 1891 in Austin Bluffs, Colorado sixty-five miles from her parents isolated home, Horse Creek Ranch. Frank Gilpin, her father, had migrated from Philadelphia, in 1880, to help his brother Bernard run a new business venture, the Maryland Cattle Company. Frank soon shed his eastern polished persona and embraced the frontier life of the west. A disastrous winter in 1886 wiped out his brother’s business and sent Frank scrambling for work. This would begin a lifelong pattern of moving from one job to the other. Frank married Emma Gosler Miller in 1890. A family friend, she agreed to join Frank in Colorado, leaving the cultured urban world of Chicago for the wilds of the Rocky Mountains. 

"The Gilpins more or less lived around Colorado Springs called the “Little London of the West.” Frank worked on several cattle ranches, managed a hotel, and supervised the Lillie mine in Cripple Creek, an area renowned for its rich gold deposits. Despite the uncertainty of her family’s financial situation, Gilpin remembered her childhood fondly. She, her friends, and little brother Francis, grew up outdoors horseback riding and hiking. 

"Gilpin received her first camera for Christmas the year she turned 12. She immediately began chronicling all her experiences with her Brownie camera. She attended the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri the next year as a guide for her mother’s friend Laura Perry, who could not see. Gilpin carefully explained all the exhibits to her companion but also took copious pictures. The replication of a Philippine Igorot village fascinated her the most. She snapped photos of the Igorot villagers attempting to carry on their traditional practices amongst the tourists at the fair. Gilpin often told interviewers later in life that this early experience in St. Louis sparked her interest in native peoples. 

"In 1905, Emma took her daughter and son to New York for a formal portrait sitting with the photographer Gertrude Käsebier. Käsebier joined Alfred Steiglitz’ Photo-Secessionist group at the turn of the century. Steiglitz single-handedly elevated photography to an art form through his connections to the avante guard modern art community in Europe and the U.S. Steiglitz and the Photo-Secessionists broke away from the New York Camera Club which associated with amateur and professional photographers alike. Käsebier eventually abandoned Stielglitz’ elite group of photographers and joined with the so-called pictorialists. Pictorial photographers rejected rarified art and embraced a professional working style that was somewhere in between art and amateur photography. Käsebier’s pictures were expressive and artistic—a sharp departure from the formal portraits of the 19th century. Meeting Käsebier left a lasting impression on Gilpin. When she made a decision to pursue a career in photography she approached the famous photographer for advice. They would develop a lasting friendship. 

"Gilpin’s mother insisted on a formal education for her daughter. From 1905 to 1910, Laura attended various private schools in the east. First, Gilpin spent time at Baldwin’s School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, followed by a stint at the Rosemary Hall School in Greenwich, Connecticut. In the hopes that Gilpin would develop her interest in the violin, her mother then sent her to the New England Conservatory of Music. However, a downturn in the family fortunes and mediocre talent cut short her music education. 

"Gilpin returned home to Colorado in 1911. Her father had moved the family to an 1800-acre ranch in Austin, Colorado. Gilpin kept taking photos but also started a poultry business. She bought some turkey chicks, built pens, developed a special feed, killed and dressed them, and sold them to gourmet restaurants. A Denver paper reported on the phenomenal success of her business, “Society Girl Raises 400 Turkey’s.” She sold her business for $10,000; enough money that she could lend her perpetually insolvent father 9,000 to keep the family afloat and finance a professional education in photography. 

"In 1916, Gilpin left again for the east to attend the Clarence H. White School in New York, a program recommended to her by Käsebier. She roomed with sculptor Brenda Putnam and two other artists in the city. She and Putnam became lifelong friends, often critiquing and supporting each other’s work. Clarence White, influenced by Arthur Wesley Dow, opposed the Steiglitz School of photography and promoted the technical aspects of photography. White self-consciously trained his students in professional and commercial photography. Like Dow, he stressed good composition and the importance of an artist’s feelings and expression. Gilpin loved the school and threw herself into her work with a passion. Gilpin learned how to make hand-coated platinum paper. Later, she bought it from a special London company. She was one of a select few photographers in America that used it. Platinum paper allowed for a rich velvety black and a wide tonal range. The process of hand-coating platinum paper, which Gilpin continued to do well into the 1970s was considered a dying art. 

"In 1917, she published her first widely circulated photo, The Prelude, a publicity photo of the Edith Rubel Trio, a musical group she herself played in with a roommate. Gilpin thought of herself as a straight photographer. She composed photos through the lens and printed whatever she captured on the negative. Although she used a soft-focus for this piece, she did not employ the techniques of early pictorialists, like hand manipulation of the negative. Eventually, she would also abandon a soft focus and opt for a sharp-edged image for her photos. 

"In 1918, a serious bout of influenza ended her formal training. Gilpin went back home to recuperate. Her mother hired a young nurse, Elizabeth Forster, from the Colorado Springs Visiting Nursing Association to help with her convalescence. The two young women became fast friends, finding in one another not just common interests and camaraderie but a deeper sentiment and sensibility. Gilpin and Forster were inseparable, often seen together at events in Colorado Springs. They visited one another’s families, camped together throughout the Southwest, and bought property together later in life. 

"After her recovery, Gilpin took up the life of a professional photographer in Colorado Springs. In 1919, she became affiliated with the Broadmoor Art Academy, starting a class in photography in 1921. Like Käsebier, Gilpin primarily made a living taking portraits. She wrote clever brochures about her work that educated the potential client to the new style of photography. She also took commercial photography assignments—promotional brochures, photo-documentation for architectural firms, and small booklets of photos for tourists. During the 1920s, Gilpin’s work began to receive critical acclaim in exhibitions both at home an abroad. She exhibited at the Photographic Salon in Copenhagen and the International Exhibition of London Salon Photography. She also had her first one-woman show of sixty-one photographs, both portraits and landscapes, at the Broadmoor Art Academy in Colorado Springs. This show also toured the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe and the Denver Public Library. She also exhibited work in Buffalo, Pittsburg, San Francisco, Toronto, Seattle, and New York. 

"A 1924, camping trip with Forster and Putnam deeply impressed her with the beauty and timelessness of the Southwestern landscape and its people. Another excursion with Forster in 1930 gave Gilpin an entrée into Navaho society that would allow her to pursue this interest further. The two women ran out of gas twenty miles north of Chinle in a remote part of the Navaho reservation. They were befriended and helped by several Navaho families. This led to Forster’s invitation to return the following year to work as a visiting nurse for the New Mexico Association for Indian Affairs on the New Mexico portion of the Navaho Reservation. The Navaho accepted Forster and appreciated her ministrations. They nicknamed her Asdzáá Báhózhóní, the Happy or Contended One. Gilpin visited Forster frequently in Red Rock and accompanied her on her rounds. Because of her status as the nurse’s friend, she photographed the

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