After my mother’s death, a chief concern was locating a book written by her father, Esteban Lujan. As it tuned out, the book had been in the possession of her brother Alberto—also deceased. “El Rondin” is a 35-page booklet. It covers campaigns of Generals Toribio Ortega, and Jose de la Cruz Sanchez during the Mexican Revolution. The booklet details events that took place between February and September of 1912, and the defeat of Pasqual Orozco in The Battle of Ojinaga.
Events covered were all new to me. Only through further reading was I able to make some sense out of Grandpa’s eye-witness accounts. The content clearly indicates a close relationship between my grandfather and General Ortega.
For months after my mother died, I kept a box of letters and papers at the foot of my living-room chair. I repeatedly poured over letters and papers that I dared not throw away. Some were letters and papers belonging to her brother Alberto; also deceased.
In the meantime, I had made the acquaintance of 85 year old Don Galacion Ortega, son of the General. It was from him that I learned that the General and his wife “Fermina” were my uncle Alberto’s Godparents. One evening, I was going through papers for the one hundredth time when I ran across an envelope addressed to Uncle Alberto. The return address read: Fermina VD, Toribio Ortega, El Paso Texas! I took out a yellowed note that read in part: “Here so you can know your Godmother, is a very bad picture of me,”
But where was the picture? Would I ever find it?
Weeks later I was going through a photo album entitled “Friends”.
It contained numerous pictures (mostly non-hispanic) friends of Uncle Albert.
There, looking totally out of place, was a dark-haired beauty!
“This has to be her” I thought. “It had to be her”
Did I dare try to lift it out? It might tear! But then again, it might have a signature in the back! I said a prayer and peeled it away slowly. I turned it over and read:
“June 27, 1932 – To my Godson Alberto” signed: Fermina Vd. de Ortega, El Paso, Texas.