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Julia Maestas’s Interview

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Dr. Julia Maestas is the granddaughter of Manuel Maestas, a homesteader at Los Alamos, and daughter of Elipio Maestas, who worked as a civil guard for the Corps of Engineers at Los Alamos. In her interview, she discusses her family’s history and what it was like growing up in Los Alamos. She shares childhood memories about friends, skating, and watching movies. She also describes how her tri-cultural background and education at Los Alamos led to her career in speech pathology and educational psychology.

Date of Interview:
September 12, 2022
Location of the Interview:


[Thanks to David Schiferl and Willie Atencio for recording this interview and providing a copy to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]

Willie Atencio: Okay, first of all, tell us about your grandparents. Were they homesteaders?

Julia Maestas: Yes.

Atencio: Names?

Maestas: My grandfather was Manuel Sabino Maestas, and he homesteaded up at Los Alamos. He had, as I understand, about eighty acres up there. He made a pond up there. He had timber, and he had sheep, and he had horses, and he had cows. He built a house of stone up there.

My father lived up there. My cousin, Adele Tometich, who now lives in Santa Fe, lived up there. I understand that they lived up there during the summer. Then they came down here and lived in San Pedro during the wintertime.

That’s pretty much all I know except that Grandpa never had any paperwork that we could follow. Therefore, when the homestead reimbursement, or compensation, or whatever it was, came to be, I didn’t have the appropriate paperwork for that.

So, the family was not eligible for it. Which is really sad, because my cousin, Adele, who is now eighty-three or eighty-four, lived there during that time and remembers quite a bit more than I do. Of course, I didn’t know anything about it. But, anyway, that’s where my grandfather was.

Atencio: Okay, now your father and mother.

David Schiferl: Before you start with the father and mother, I have another question. What does homesteading mean? What is the basis for homesteading there? Was it a government program or something?

Maestas: It must have been.

Schiferl: They have such programs in other parts of the West.

Maestas: I imagine. I don’t know what the beginnings of it were. Do you know anything?

Atencio: I think the Homestead Act was where people were given land. You had to make improvements and maintain the land. Eventually, they gave you a title.

Schiferl: What year was that?

Atencio: 1800s, that’s the Homestead Act. That’s how the United States was settled. They gave people land, so they could make a living.

Maestas: However, the paperwork seems to have been lost.

Atencio: Okay. For your grandfather’s land?

Maestas: For my grandfather, yes. There was compensation for Los Alamos having taken it over. They had to leave Los Alamos at one point in time. When they did that, they moved down here full time.

Atencio: Okay. Your father’s name is?

Maestas: My Dad is Elipio, E-L-I-P-I-O, and he grew up there with my Grandma and Grandpa. He took me up there one time when I was visiting during the summer, and showed me where the house was. It was pretty much in ruins. It was a stone house. He showed me where they used to have a slide. They had some white gypsum type of things. They used to slide down there.

We also took a couple of my children. We were going to go hunting, but we didn’t know anything about hunting. So, we were traipsing around in those woods making all kinds of noise. Of course, dad had his rifle with him, but we were talking and traipsing through. We weren’t able to get anything, but that was a nice outing for us. He wanted us to see it.

Right next to where they lived was an Indian Pueblo that was abandoned. I remember I was really, really interested in that and went through it. I don’t know anything about that Pueblo. I don’t know the name of it or who was there, none of the history, but it has near where they homesteaded.

Atencio: Okay. Was that north of Los Alamos, the present-day Los Alamos, or south? Was it more in the Garcia Canyon area?

Maestas: It was part of the Garcia Canyon. 

Atencio: Garcia Canyon. That’s north, okay.

Maestas: As I understand it, it was about eighty acres. Grandpa made a pond. I do have pictures of them, the animals. They had pigs, and I think horses, and cows, and a house. I think he was a forest ranger as well up there.

Atencio: That’s your grandfather?

Maestas: My grandfather. Then later on, my father became a forest ranger. We lived up in Puye. But anyway, what about my Dad?

Atencio: You actually had land here in San Pedro always?

Maestas: Always.

Atencio: What were the situations that your father went to work in Los Alamos and that the family moved up there?

Maestas: Well, of course, I was just a little girl. I think the first that I remember is Dad didn’t have to go into the service, because I have a sister who is totally deaf. Apparently, he got a waiver because of–

Atencio: A deferment.

Maestas: Because of my sister’s deafness. Then I believe he was a cop in Española. Then I think he was a janitor for the public schools. That’s when he got a job at Los Alamos.

Atencio: Who did he work for at Los Alamos when he first went there? Do you remember?

Maestas: Daddy went up to Los Alamos. Apparently, he worked there for thirty-four years. He first went there in 1942, and he was “a civil guard with the Army Corps of Engineers” until Zia [Company] was developed or formed in 1946.

Atencio: Civil guard for the Corps of Engineers.

Maestas: Initially in 1942. Then in 1946, when Zia came about, he was a laborer there. Later on, he became a supervisor for the laborers. He worked there for thirty-five years. My mom worked at the hospital.

Atencio: Your mother’s name, Eloisa?

Maestas: E-L-O-I-S-A, uh-huh. I can remember she was a maid up at the hospital. I can remember visiting her there in the hospital. It was an Army hospital next to Ashley Pond.

Atencio: All right, here is the hospital. Do you see?

Maestas: Yeah, she worked right there.

Atencio: Your mother worked right there?

Maestas: Yeah, but that looks a lot bigger than I remember it.

Atencio: During the war, do you remember what your father did while he was a civil guard? Did he ever talk about his work?

Maestas: Never.

Atencio: Your father never talked about his work?

Maestas: Oh, no, and I was too little even if he had talked about it. I wouldn’t have understood. All I remember about living in that Quonset house was that the latrines were outside. We didn’t have running water inside. It was very small. It was an L shape. Then I had a really good friend by the name of Crystal.

Atencio: Crystal?

Maestas: Crystal. I don’t have any ideas as to what her last name was or anything. Anyway, she became my really good friend. I think it was through her that I learned to speak English, because I was a Spanish speaker.

I can remember I had a bike. As an only child, I must’ve been really, really lonely, because my sister was at the school for the deaf in Santa Fe. I can remember riding up and down those wooden sidewalks and just kind of checking out where people lived. That’s all I remember about being in those Quonset houses.

Atencio: Do you remember the soldiers there at Los Alamos?

Maestas: I remember after we lived in the Quonset we had another kind of a house. It was like a hut. I believe it had two bedrooms. I remember going to the PX [Post Exchange], I suppose to get candy.

I remember that they had some huts. They must have abandoned them or something, because we thought they were great fun, to go into those huts and check them out, because they had all kinds of stuff to look through. We never kept anything, but they had just all kinds of what we would call messes. So, we would crawl in through the windows.

Atencio: You and Crystal did this?

Maestas: I don’t remember that Crystal was there at that time. This was when we moved to a bigger house.

Atencio: Oh, I see. Okay. What were your experiences at the PX? What did you buy at the PX?

Maestas: I think it was just candy. I can remember it being filled with uniformed people. Not too much of it I remember. I remember the library. The library was a lot of fun. Then there was a grocery store.

Atencio: Was it a grocery store or a commissary?

Maestas: It was a commissary. The library–

Atencio: Did you ever go to the commissary with your folks, with your parents?

Maestas: I think I did, because I remember it. Again, I was really small or young.

Atencio: Did you ever see the soldiers and the WACs [Women’s Army Corps] marching?

Maestas: Never.

Atencio: Did you ever see them in uniform?

Maestas: Yeah, in the PX.

Atencio: Down at the PX. That’s the only place you saw the soldiers and the WACs?

Maestas: I guess. I imagine I saw their vehicles.

Atencio: You saw a lot of military vehicles.

Maestas: I suppose.

Atencio: Yes?

Maestas: But they don’t stick to my mind. It may have been something that was an everyday occurrence. I don’t remember.

Atencio: Okay. You went to school as a first grader in Los Alamos?

Maestas: Well, as I was telling you before, I remember first going over there and that it was a room about this size. It looked like it was either a conference room or a library. It was not a “school.” I can remember there were tables. I can remember that the teacher for some reason – I was a Spanish speaking kid, and I can remember–

Atencio: Do you remember the teacher’s name?

Maestas: No. I can remember the teacher asking me what the word “chore” was. I’d never heard the word “chore” in my whole life. Apparently, it really embarrassed me, because I can still remember that I didn’t know the word “chore.” I think it really, really embarrassed me, but I didn’t know English.

That’s all I remember except that it was a beautiful building. I think it was wood. I think it had a lot of books. It must have been either a library or conference room, and it must have been an Army building.

Atencio: Army building.

Maestas: After that, there was a little school that I went to. I guess I was in first grade, but I still didn’t know how to speak English. I can remember Mrs. Dorothy Hillhouse was my teacher. I was a big kid. Mrs. Hillhouse was a very big lady. She kind of took me under her wing and was very kind to me. I can remember I was sitting next to an aquarium. I learned how to spell the word “aquarium.” None of the other kids knew how to spell “aquarium.”

Atencio: So you were ahead of them.

Maestas: Yeah. I can remember during that time also we had a playground. I was swinging in the swings. Apparently, I had gotten a new pair of shoes. I was really proud of my shoes. I said, “Oh, look at my chews.”

And little Johnny Rogers, he pointed and laughed at me and said, “She said chews!”

It mortified me, absolutely mortified me. I think from then on, I must have clicked in my mind that I had to learn how to speak English. Because after that, unfortunately, I learned how to speak English and just didn’t speak Spanish anymore.

I went to school there with Mrs. Hillhouse. Then the following year, I had another teacher. The following year I guess I had done so well that I was correcting children’s work.

Atencio: Who was the second teacher?

Maestas: I don’t remember her name, but I was a really, really good student. I was the teacher’s helper. I can remember that she would have me correct other children’s work. That was a big, big deal at that time, for me, anyway. So I must have become a really, really good student.

I don’t know the name of the person. I don’t remember. But I had a really good friend who was with me at school. I still keep in contact with her. She lives in Idaho.

Atencio: Idaho? She was the friend the second year?

Maestas: Yeah, her mother was a teacher out there. Her name was Rhea, R-H-E-A. She was a first-grade teacher at Los Alamos for years, and years, and years. Her daughter was my best friend. Her name was Mary Charlene. She’s now married, and she lives in Idaho and comes home periodically. In fact, last year, she came and spent a week at my house. I keep in contact with her through email.

Atencio: Have you ever taken her back to Los Alamos to review your stomping grounds?

Maestas: No, when she was here, we’ve done other things, but we keep in contact, mostly jokes. 

Anyway, where are we?

Atencio: You were on the second grade. You were a teacher’s helper.

Maestas: I can remember little things come to my mind. At that time, for some reason, I drew. We had art, and I drew. I had never been outside of Española. Maybe to Santa Fe. For some reason, I drew a picture. I can’t remember distinctly. It was a city picture with big, tall buildings and lots of faceless people, little people.

For some reason, I don’t know where I got the idea to do that, but I won an award. I couldn’t believe it, because I didn’t know what I was drawing about. Because having never left Los Alamos or Española, I don’t know where I got that idea, but that sticks to my mind. I don’t even know whatever happened to that picture, but that I can remember. What else do I remember?

Atencio: Do you remember anything about the Trinity Site, the Trinity test?

Maestas: I can remember my best friend lived in the trailer park as you go up to Los Alamos on the left-hand side across the street from the airport. There she lived with her mom, who was a teacher, and her father, who had been a chiropractor and did some sort of construction work. I don’t know what he did.

Anyway, she was my best friend. I would visit her. I spent a lot of time with them, because I was an only child. I wasn’t an only child, but my sister was always gone. My mother was always working at the hospital. My dad was always gone. So, I spent a lot of time with her.

We would go down into the canyon next to the trailer park. We weren’t supposed to, but then children do what they’re not supposed to do. We’d go down there, because they had a path down there.

Atencio: That was the canyon near the trailer park?

Maestas: Yeah, that’s where it was. I think most of the children who were up there at that time – since we weren’t supposed to go up there, and they were fenced off – of course, that’s what we did.

Atencio: Now, you don’t remember anything about the Trinity test? You don’t remember anything going on, or people talking about it, or anything?

Maestas: No. Everything was so secretive. Nobody talked about what they did. They weren’t supposed to, I guess.

Atencio: Do you remember what happened when the war ended?

Maestas: No.

Atencio: You don’t remember celebrations or anything?

Maestas:  None that I remember, none. Nobody talked about anything. I can remember sitting in my classroom. It must have been in that school that you pointed out.

Atencio: This is the Central School.

Maestas: It was a school, but I don’t know. It must have been, because we weren’t in the main–first, we were in temporary school huts. Then we went into the main school. I was in another school somewhere up there.

I can remember sitting in the school. There were explosives. They went boom. The windows would rattle. This happened frequently, but I can remember sitting there and looking out of this window after the boom of whatever was happening, but that’s all I remember about anything. Nobody talked about it, because it was all so secretive.

Atencio: Did you have a badge to get into town?

Maestas: Yeah, we all did. We had to stop, even children. They fingerprinted us, and they gave us whatever. Because we used to live in Los Alamos during the week and down here in San Pedro during the weekends, we’d go back and forth.

I can remember having to stop there, and they would check us out. I think I could even remember being fingerprinted, but I was really small. I can remember the guards up in the tower. I haven’t thought about any of this for years.

Atencio: Okay. Do you ever remember going to the [Fuller] Lodge?

Maestas: Yeah, but that was kind of off limits. I think we probably looked. I had a friend who lived in Bathtub Row, but she and I went to school together. I’m trying to think of her name. Her father was a scientist up there. Joan, I can’t think of her name.

Anyway, I guess her father was a mucky-muck scientist up there, because they lived in a bathtub house, and I was really impressed. I never went into one of the houses, but she and I used to walk to school together. So, I must have met her where she lived, and then we walked to school together. That was at the school next to the Fuller Lodge.

Atencio: It was not that same?

Maestas: No. I don’t think it was Central. It was that other school.

Atencio: Canyon School?

Maestas: Canyon School, yeah. It was Canyon School. Anyway, so, I met her, and we walked to school together, but it wasn’t Canyon. I don’t know where we going to school. I don’t know. It’s all mixed up. I remember we had a skating rink one time, a roller-skating rink for a short time. They closed it.

Atencio: The skating rink was down in the canyon?

Maestas: No, it was up here. It was near where all of the stores were – not the stores. I don’t know where it was. But they had a skating rink. It was just there for a while. They closed it. All of the kids went over there, and we stole their skates. I came home with these skates. I was really proud about it, because they closed it, right? All of the kids went over there. We took them home.

My father made me take them back. I was so upset, because I thought they were freebies. That was kind of a thing that we did, but, otherwise, there was not much that we could do other than walk, and go into the canyon, and ride our bikes on the wooden sidewalks, and then break into the huts that had all of that interesting stuff. Oh, and there was a movie theater.

Atencio: What do you remember about the movie theater?

Maestas: I remember that it was really cheap. Maybe it was even free for me, because I was so young. I remember going there as often as I could.

Atencio: Do you remember seeing any particular movies there, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, no?

Maestas: No, but I was totally in love with this one guy. I can’t remember his name, but some day when I remember his name, I’ll tell you.

Atencio: Movie star?

Maestas: It was a movie star. He was just fabulous in my mind. I kept seeing that movie over and over again. I don’t know how I got in. I don’t know how. I couldn’t have had any money, or maybe it was so cheap, or maybe they just let me in.

Was it Alan Ladd? I don’t know. It was somebody. I just thought he was fabulous. That’s all I remember. No, I didn’t see those cowboy movies until I came down to Española.

Atencio: Were the people very friendly? Was there any crime or anything? You never worried about locking your doors or things like that? Things were very safe?

Maestas: Never even heard of crime. I didn’t even know what that was.

Atencio: You didn’t know what crime was, living in Los Alamos?

Maestas: No, other than stealing the roller skates and having to take them back. I guess that’s a crime. No, I just had no idea, none. No, it was very, very safe. It was a wonderful place to grow up. If it hadn’t been for Los Alamos, I never would have done and had the experiences that I’ve had and gotten the kind of education that I got. Because prior to going to Los Alamos, I was in Española.

I can remember that there was a little school up here in Coruco. Mom and Dad had enrolled me there. Of course, I didn’t speak English. At that time, we had a lot of teachers. I think they were Presbyterians. They came to educate the “heathens.”

I can remember, because I didn’t speak English at all. I had a cousin, or a distant cousin by the name of Quintana. He and I were the dummies in the class. So, they separated us together, and they put us in the little round table back in the back. There we sat. We didn’t know how to do anything. She would teach other children. We were over there.

My father happened to be a janitor in the school. I guess he kept an eye on me. He saw us sitting in the back and not getting an education. So, fortunately, he got a job at Los Alamos and moved us up there. But all I remember about that is that for lunch, they had a cafeteria.

Atencio: At Los Alamos?

Maestas: No, here in Española, and they used to play the Blue Danube Waltz during that time when we ate. Every time I hear the Blue Danube Waltz, I think of the cafeteria and getting lunch. That’s all I ever remember from that experience. Had it not been for Los Alamos, I would’ve been really, really lost – and Mrs. Hillhouse.

Oh, let me go back before that. I guess I was even younger, and there was a school in San Pedro where I lived. I can remember my mother walking me to the school, what is it, about a mile, half a mile? I guess she wanted to enroll me.

Anyway, she combed my hair. She put this big red bow in my hair. We walked down to the school. I cried, and I cried, and I cried, because I didn’t want to stay there. I must have thrown a fit. Then all of the boys saw me with my big red thing in my hair. They pointed at me, and they were laughing at me, and making fun of me. So, I wouldn’t stay.

My Mom, poor Mom, had to take me back home. That was my very first experience with education. Then the second one was with the teacher here that separated me. My third was at Los Alamos when Mrs. Hillhouse took a real active interest in me. Then, I just took off.

Atencio: Okay. Do you remember eating at restaurants in Los Alamos? Did the family ever go out to eat?

Maestas: Never.

Atencio: Never?

Maestas: There were no restaurants.

Atencio: Do you remember the mess hall at Los Alamos? Did people ever go to the mess hall? People had to eat somewhere.

Maestas: That was for the Army. We ate at home. Since we lived there, we ate at home.

Atencio: There was not this idea of going to the mess hall for dinner?

Maestas: Oh, no. Even if we had to pay for it, we didn’t have any money. I don’t think we had any money. I don’t know. I mean both my Mom and Dad worked.

Atencio: When did you leave Los Alamos?

Maestas: I left Los Alamos when I was–I came to Española and went to school. I was at Los Alamos and my father had heard there was a virgins’ club for girls up at Los Alamos. He didn’t want me to stay up there and have this bad influence.

At that time, he was building a house down here. So, he whipped me out of that school so fast and brought me down to Española. I must’ve been a sophomore in high school. Anyway, when I came down to Española, they skipped me a grade. So, I don’t know what year it was.

Atencio: Sophomore.

Maestas: Sophomore, yeah.

Atencio: Okay. Then you graduated from school in Española?

Maestas: I graduated from school in Española.

Atencio: You went on to college.

Maestas: Yes.

Atencio: Where did you go to college?

Maestas: I went to the University of Denver, got my bachelor’s in speech pathology.

Atencio: Did you do sign language, because you knew sign language with your sister?

Maestas: No, my sister went to the school for the deaf. At that time, the philosophy was that we were not supposed to use sign language or finger spelling, because if we did that, the children would not learn how to speak, which was a huge, huge mistake.

But I did learn how to finger spell. I didn’t know sign language at that time. Truly, I didn’t become proficient in sign language until I went and studied for my Master’s at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. That’s when I really became proficient with the sign language.

Atencio: You got a Master’s?

Maestas: Basically, I grew up really tri-culturally with Hispanic, English, and sign language, because I was exposed to my sister, because she went to the school for the deaf. I loved to go to the school for the deaf, because it was such a good experience for me. My sister was a really, really good student. So, she had sort of a private room.

Everything was so clean, and so tidy, and so big. They had a cafeteria. They had great food. I’ve always been a foodaholic. They used to take them to movies, downtown Santa Fe. It was always a real treat for me to go over there and be exposed to them. She had really good friends. My sister was always a leader. She kind of bossed everybody around and me. It was just great fun. I spent a lot of time over there with her.

Atencio: You could communicate with all of the other deaf?

Maestas: Well, I wasn’t proficient, but I could communicate, yeah.

Atencio: Then you went and got a Ph.D.?

Maestas: I got my masters at Gallaudet College. Then later on I got my Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota in educational psychology. My doctoral was in the utilization of sign language by profoundly deaf mothers and their infant babies. So, I got to watch newborn babies, babies up to six months, using sign language with them. It was fabulous, great. After that, I went all over the world and showed my videotapes, like you are taping, and spoke.

I was just wondering about the kids that I went to school with. I could find very few of them, or a couple of them that I seem to remember from when I was little. But it must have been a transient community. I think I was the only Hispanic kid up there for a long, long time. I remember there was a boy named Manuel. He was up there when I was up there, but I don’t see him anywhere in these books.

Atencio: Where are you in that book?

Maestas: I wasn’t. I was there with the kids, but my picture wasn’t taken.

Atencio: Okay, what about the other book?

Maestas: I wasn’t in there either. I was there with the kids, but I was looking at this last night, actually. What was interesting was that this book was dedicated to Norris Bradbury, I think it was.

Atencio: Okay, that’s very interesting.

Maestas: Yeah, it was really interesting.

Atencio: Did you know who Norris Bradbury was then?

Maestas: No. Expect one of his kids went to school with me, but I didn’t know who he was. I knew it was a mucky-muck of some kind. But, anyway, they have all kinds of stuff about Los Alamos and the radiation stuff. See? They have all of these pictures, I think, because it was dedicated to Bradbury.

Atencio: Okay, that is very interesting.

Maestas: I went to school with his son. I think his son was a year old than I am. His name was, I think, John Bradbury. Then I also went to school with someone named Allen. I guess Allen was also a mucky-muck up there.

Atencio: I don’t know.

Maestas: Do you know?

Atencio: Allen? There was Harry Allen that was in charge of supply and property.

Maestas: I don’t know who he was.

Atencio: Harry Allen.

Maestas: I went to school with him. I think a lot of these kids, their parents must have been scientists of some kind except for us. I’m so glad that Dad decided to take us up there and live there.

Atencio: You consider the education you got at Los Alamos to be very good? You got a very good education at Los Alamos?

Maestas: Oh, absolutely.

Atencio: They really prepared you for college?

Maestas: Oh, yeah. Because when I came to Española, I didn’t do diddly. Nobody really cared, and I just played. If it hadn’t been for Los Alamos, I never would’ve gotten into college. I mean it was the difference between day and night, the kind of education that I got there as contrasted to here.

I had a good time in Espanola, and I made a lot of friends, but the education was totally, totally different. Which makes sense, because the children in Los Alamos were all mostly upwardly mobile kids from upwardly mobile parents who were well educated, who were scientists. They were physicists, heads of the whatever.

It was a whole different cultural thing. That doesn’t mean it was any better than Española, but the culture here was totally different, and in many, many ways a lot better than Los Alamos.

The School for the Deaf culture was totally different. I went from one culture to the other, to the other, to the other. One was not better than another, but both provided me with different experiences that have been really, really good for me educationally.

Well, this is prior to going to Los Alamos, but this is my grandfather who used to be a homesteader up at Los Alamos. This is my sister, who is three years old than I am or two years older than I am, who had meningitis when she was three years old, and lost her hearing, and is totally deaf. Currently, she went on and got her bachelor’s at Gallaudet College, and her masters, and has been teaching, and is still very active in Texas where she lives. She lives in Temple. Then here I am with Grandpa. I must have been very, very small. It looks like just a child. I think this is the same picture, but I think in this picture I must’ve been with my grandmother. My grandmother cut herself out of it. Then this little picture is of me.

Atencio: At Los Alamos?

Maestas: It probably was at Los Alamos. Because I can remember I had that purse that was always around my neck like that. I don’t know why. I don’t even know what I had in it.

Atencio: That was fourth grade or fifth grade?

Maestas: I guess. I don’t know. 

So, I started here at the escuelita [preschool] and then went to the conference room in Los Alamos, then went to the school with the swings, and then went to the school next to the airplanes, and then that’s about it. I was thinking of biking, and wooden sidewalks, and going down into the canyon, you know. I was exposed to some not so nice stuff, too, but I won’t tell you about that.

Schiferl: You can if you want.

Maestas: Well, because for a time, for some reason, I wanted to make money. There was a laundry there. So, I would go. I got a job folding laundry. I don’t know. I must’ve been in fifth grade or something. Anyway, there was a dirty old man who owned the laundry. I guess he was kind of pawing me or whatever. It scared the hell out of me. So, I didn’t stay there very long.

Atencio: When you went down to the canyon, did you see any water down there or anything?

Maestas: No, all I can remember is seeing the sidewalk, I mean not the sidewalk, the trail going down. 

Schiferl: Which canyon was it?

Maestas: The one next to the airport.

Schiferl: Next to the airport?

Atencio: North of the airport or south of the airport?

Maestas: It would be south of the airport.

Atencio: So, south. There’s a trailer court that is south.

Maestas: The trailer court I think is gone. Do you know the fork as you go up the old road, the airport is on the right?

Atencio: Yes.

Maestas: Then there is a fork in the road.

Atencio: Okay, yeah, between Central [Avenue] and Canyon [Road].

Maestas: And right at the base of that fork, there used to be a fire station later on. Okay. To the left of that was a trailer park. It was an extensive trailer park. I remember a lot of the kids lived there.

Atencio: On DP Road? In other words, that trailer court was on DP Road.

Maestas: I don’t know the name of it. Anyway, my best friend lived there, and I spent a lot of time there. So, we’d go down into that canyon, but she lived there all of the time whereas I only lived there during the week. She has much more information about that than I could ever give you, because she was really there full-time.

Copyright 2017 Willie Atencio and David Schiferl. Rights granted to Atomic Heritage Foundation.