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Boulden, Altus and Boulden, Ann

About | Abstract


Growing up prior to WWII, WWII, farming and ranching in New Mexico

Interviewees Altus Boulden, male, born in 1928
Mrs. Ann Boulden, female, born in 1935
Date Range 1928-2001
Date & Location August 18, 2001, Boulden residence
Project Farm and Ranch Folks
Region Southeast New Mexico
Number of Tapes 2
Transcribed October 16, 2001
Download Abstract


Tape 1, Side A

Mr. Boulden talks about his family's arrival in New Mexico from Oklahoma in 1930. The family originally settled in Ft. Sumner, New Mexico where his father found work in the cotton fields and with a construction company. After spending a few years in Ft. Sumner, the family moved to Artesia. In 1935 the family moved to Cedarvale, southeast of Mountainaire, New Mexico. It was here that the family began to share crop in the bean fields. In the summer months they would chop weeds. During harvest season, the family would follow the threshing machine, picking up the sacked beans for hauling. The family would glean the beans that the threshing left behind.

In 1937 the family moved back to Artesia. In 1940 the Pecos River flooded and the family was forced to evacuate their home.

Mr. Boulden relates information about his school years, and points out that education went beyond the classroom into the home where he learned practical things such as hunting and outdoor survival.

When WWII began, the family moved back to Ft. Sumner. Mr. Boulden's father joined the Navy and served in the construction battalion.

Mr. Boulden recalls the day in July of 1945 when the first atomic bomb was tested at what is now known as the Trinity Site. His family was living near Hope, New Mexico at the time.

Mr. Boulden tried to enlist in the Navy but failed his physical exam because one shoulder was higher than the other one. In 1946 he decided to enlist in the Army and found himself in the mechanic's school. By the time the war was over, he was a mechanic in carburetion and engines. His unit was sent to Salerno, Italy. After suffering an appendicitis attack, he was shipped back to Ft. Bliss, Texas. He was declared unfit for military service due to heart and lung problems. He was discharged from Ft. Bliss on December 2, 1947.

After "bumming around all over the country", he met his wife, Ann. After their marriage in 1954, the Boulden's, moved to Roswell, New Mexico.

Tape 1, Side B

The Boulden's, moved from Roswell to Albuquerque in 1955 so that Mr. Boulden could attend radio/electronic college. After graduation they moved back to the Pecos Valley.

Mr. Boulden talks about his childhood days. He describes the circumstances surrounding his sister, Mary Ruth's death. She had drowned in a stock tank while the family was living in Cedarvale. He also tells the story of how he set fire to the family home when he lit a dry and brittle Christmas tree. The fire soon got out of control and the entire house burned down. The family escaped with only a few bedclothes.

Mrs. Boulden recalls using a daisy church to make butter as a child, and remembers the chickens that she helped her mother care for.

Mr. Boulden lists the names and birth dates of his siblings. Mrs. Boulden talks about her family and about life in Hope, New Mexico. She recalls seeing German POWs working on a farm near Ft. Stanton. She talks about her time as a child in Roswell.

The family returned to Hope and she recalls her memories of sheep shearing and the day when her father had electricity added to their home.

Mrs. Boulden recalls her grandfather's radio and how she would sit with him while he listened to the news. She remembers that you could not hear the radio without earphones and remembers that the radio was very large in size.

She talks about her life in Hope, New Mexico when she was a young girl; about swimming in the irrigation ditches and raising sheep and cattle.

She tells the story about the time her father got sick and locked himself in the barn and how the neighbors had to break down the barn door. Her father had to be transported to the hospital in El Paso for treatment.

Tape 2, Side A

Mrs. Boulden continues to share her memories of life in Hope, New Mexico, particularly laundry day, soap making and butchering hogs. She also talks about her school days at Hope School and special times with her father. She remembers the wartime blackouts.

The family moved to Artesia where she finished her last two years of school. She recalls her bout of rheumatic fever while in grade school. Although she didn't suffer any heart complications, she remembers that she was forbidden to participate in sports. There is a discussion of irrigation practices and drought. Mrs. Boulden remembers wearing clothing made from flour sacks. Both Mr. and Mrs. Boulden recall using kerosene lamps. Mr. Boulden shares information about his singing career.

Tape 2, Side B

Mrs. Boulden tells the story of the mystery surrounding her paternal relatives; how all attempts to find information has failed to produce results, and how it appears that her father had another name. A short discussion regarding the Roswell incident and some more singing ends the interviewing session.