Tales of a New Mexico household and the home they lived in » Albuquerque Journal
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Joy and tragedy spanning generations are at the root of the family history of many New Mexicans.
For Josephine Zamora Padilla it was important to share what she had learned about her ancestors and where she came from in the world. Not because their family story was so unique, but because it can be told through the voices of many in the Land of Enchantment.
Zamora Padilla’s story begins in the town of Manzano, where she lived at home with a red tin roof. The house was as strong as the Zamora family, who had lived in it for generations. It survived a fire and flood and was the dwelling where deaths, births, weddings, and dances had taken place. Walls cannot speak, so Zamora Padilla decided to tell the story of the house and the story of the Zamora family who occupied it in her book “Under the Red Tin Roof”.
“It started when we took in my father, niece and me over 20 years ago,” said Zamora Padilla. “And he told me so much about the actual house and the shop his father had in the house. So I thought, my god, it’s such a historic place that I should talk more about the house, so I had these stories … Once a year my cousins and I got together and had lunch so we talked a lot about Various things have grown up and I had received a lot of information from them at that time. A lot of information was created in this way. “
As she learned more about her family’s history, Zamora Padilla learned more about herself.
“It kind of made me realize that I didn’t come from a well-educated family, but they taught us to work hard,” she said. “You taught us to organize. They taught us about religious beliefs. They taught us storytelling and many of the New Mexico traditions. It’s not formal learning, but it’s very important lessons in life and I think I’ve taken these things with me in my life. “
Food preparation was a tradition of the Zamora family. Zamora Padilla has put together several recipes for the traditional foods to add to the book, including Arroz Dulce, Bizcochitos, Natillas, Tortillas, and Sopaipillas. Many out of state readers excitedly turned to her to try it out and have a piece of New Mexico with them.
“I inherited these recipes when I grew up,” said Zamora Padilla. “The one from the bread that was my mother-in-law’s recipe when I got married, she made this bread a lot and said, ‘I don’t use a recipe,’ so she actually went through the difficulty of measuring and making a recipe for me.
“But other than that, the others are just things we grew up with, and I think our people were poor and they were farmers and they were ranchers, so they deserved what they had. And so some of these dishes were the dishes of the poor, but now they are specialty. “
Finding out about personal experiences was something Zamora Padilla thought about for a moment.
“I think it’s important that people know that, especially in our culture, we are sometimes very private. When you share your personal stories, you open the door for other people to understand that they are not alone, ”she said. “I’m talking about wearing a bra, for example, and I’m sure there are many other young women out there who are in the same situation, or the fact that I was overweight and how I got this system in my head of ‘Yeah I’ve evolved. I will lose it. ‘Or meet a guy in the hallway and look at each other, but you’re too shy to speak to each other and those are feelings everyone has.
“And I think it’s good to open the dialogue for you to talk about these things. I had to think about it. Do I really want to share this story? But you know it’s true “
The book goes beyond the Zamora family tree. It also has a brief history of Manzano and its surroundings, including the Abó, Quarai, and Gran Quivira ruins, which were included in the Salinas Pueblo Missions by the National Park Service.
Zamora Padilla offers a brief history of the ruins and their significance in New Mexico. It also includes directions to the ruins and other historical markings mentioned in the book.