Fond memories of my school days in Belen


Jaramillo (Elementary) School brings back memories. (I believe) it opened in 1952.

I was in Mrs. Garcia’s second-grade class. Mr. Fisher or Mr. Sachs was principal. My mother, Susana, and aunt, Andrea, were school volunteers.  The two, along with others, worked to establish the Jaramillo cafeteria. Mrs. Busby was the head cook. Tasty meals! Left overs? Students would line up for seconds.

When Jaramillo School was dedicated in 1952, the school brought in “Little Johnny,” a famed TV ad pitchman for Philip Morris cigarettes. After he crooned out his famed ad to the crowd, Little Johnny handed out cigarette packs to the parents.  This was before noted health risks.

My siblings and I delivered papers for the News-Bulletin when it was located on Second Street, around the corner from our Dalies Street home. My brother, Bob, still lives at the home where all eight of us were born. My older sister worked in the office. My older brother worked in the pressroom.

In high school, I wrote BHS football game results for your paper. My stories were edited by Mr. Barnham. After I came home from the Army and attending UNM, Carter Waid, one time owner of the News-Bulletin, of KARS Radio hired me to be a disc jockey — rock, country and news — in the same building on Second Street. He sent me to Denver to take the FCC third-class licensing test.

I believe Mr. Waid was serving as mayor of Belen during that time. His son, Bill, was a friend and his daughter, Lil-Lou, was a 1956 BHS classmate with my older brother.

I’m a retired school teacher and counselor for Salem/Keizer, Oregon Schools. I surprised a few of my Belen school teachers.

In the late 1970s, while serving in the Oregon National Guard, my personnel officer at Salem’s NG sent me to the first race/human relations course taught at Treasure Island, Calif.

Upon arriving at the course, I was surprised to find out the person who was selected to lead the development of the class in Washington, D.C. was  New Mexico National Guard Col. Salomon Abeyta, my BHS ninth grade civics teacher. I call him my “accidental mentor.”

I remember the great Belen School staff — kindergarten through 12th grade.

Herman Baca

Salem, Ore.

History made its mark at first road show


On behalf of the Valencia County Historical Society, I would like to thank everyone who helped make our History Road Show of Feb. 19 a huge success.

We especially appreciate our hosts, Frances Zeller and her docents at the Belen Harvey House Museum. Clara Garcia, of the News-Bulletin, gave us wonderful publicity, spreading the word about the event and urging folks to participate.

Our judges, Maggie McDonald and John Taylor, did masterful jobs, and our exhibitors were so generous in bringing their artifacts and telling us about them that day.

The History Road Show went so well that we are planning a similar event in Los Lunas in the fall. Stay tuned for information about our next show!

Richard Melzer

President, Valencia County Historical Society




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