Not far into research of my grandfather’s (Esteban Lujan) friendship with Pancho Villa, I began to see signs that it was a lot closer than first believed. Esteban, being the most literate in Cuchillo Parado, composed Villa’s telegrams and other communications. Grandpa’s reluctance to speak about it is still a mystery.
Also a mystery is the silence of his son Alberto. Alberto held material, notes and a book written by Grandpa, and he never shared them.
I learned about the extent of Pancho Villa and Grandpa’s association when I interviewed his niece (Trini) in Tierras Nuevas, on the outskirts of Ojinaga, Mexico.
Trini Lujan, who was 92 years old at the time of the interview, spoke about growing up in La Junta when she casually mentioned Pancho Villa.
“You actually saw Pancho Villa?” … I asked. “Where”?
“En casa de Papa” (“At my father’s house”) came the “matter of fact” reply.
“What was Villa doing there? I asked.
“Oh … he came to have breakfast …. because Villa did not eat just anywhere. All he ever had was soft-boiled eggs, and milk”
I knew from history books that this was indeed true …. That Pancho Villa feared being poisoned and only ate at the home of trusted friends.
“Did your mother have to feed the entire army?” …. I asked.
“No” Trini replied. “They camped over by the cemetery”.
I had often wondered where Villa stayed during his two attacks on Ojinaga. Now it appeared all too logical that he would go to the home of Juan Lujan, the brother of his trusted friend Esteban Lujan, who was a compadre of his General, Toribio Ortega.