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Campbell, Evelyn

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Rural life in Cedarvale, N.M.

Interviewee Evelyn Campbell, female, born in 1919
Date Range 1920-2007
Date & Location August 4, 2007, Evelyn Campbell home in Alamogordo, N.M.
Project Rural Lifeways
Region Central New Mexico
Number of Tapes 1
Transcribed September 22, 2009
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Tape 1, Side A

The consultant was born three miles west of Cedarvale, N.M., in 1920. Her parents had come from Topeka, Kan., to the area in 1912 to homestead. They arrived in Torrance, N.M., by train and traveled to Cedarvale by wagon.

Her father was asthmatic. His first trip to the Cedarvale area was with a friend. After three days of being able to breath better and sleep lying down, he was convinced that this was the place he should move to, so he filed a homestead claim. This homestead was 320 acres, or a half-section of land. He farmed pinto beans and feed corn. The beans were taken to warehouses in Cedarvale, where they were cleaned and loaded onto the train for shipping after they were sold. Trucks were used for hauling after the railroad quit. Crops were fair and the prices were low in the early 1900s. Evelyn remembers that her father sold one hundred pounds of beans for fifty cents.

The family had cows, chickens, and horses. They sold cream for extra income. The consultant attended school at Cedarvale. She remembers that during the drought of 1926, the family moved to California for two years. She never finished school, only attending through the ninth grade. She was married at age fifteen.

Community families were involved in church, and Sundays were spent singing and visiting. After her marriage, her husband formed a baseball league. Her husband had come to New Mexico when he was four years old. The two met at school and through parties, where they would dance, eat, and play games. She remembers the singing conventions that were held in the community.

She remembers that construction of the school began in 1916 and was completed in 1921. She discusses the layout of the school. At recess, the children played baseball and games such as Red Rover. She tells the story of the outhouse with the kissing hole. There was a knot in the wall of the outhouse, and the older students convinced her to kiss a boy through the hole. She was punished with no recess for three weeks and remembers that her mother was not happy with her.

She left the area in 1956. Her first child was born in 1938 in a dugout home.

Evelyn remembers the drought years, and that her husband sold their cattle. He went to work for Judge Hamilton in Albuquerque, and later moved to Alamogordo. She stayed in Cedarvale with the children. When the children grew up, they moved to Alamogordo. Her mother stayed in Cedarvale. Evelyn got a job as a nurse's aide, but left after six months because the pay was not very good. Earlier in her life, she had taken the postal exam, but had not done anything with it. She applied for a job at the post office in Alamogordo and worked there for twenty-three years. She comments that the benefits are very good. Her husband died in 1999 and is buried in Alamogordo.