by Jo Cross
CUCHARA- Many Walsenburg and La Veta people came to the dances at Cuchara, as did most of the valley families. I remember one excellent dancer Vince Ferraro who had a dry cleaning shop in Walsenburg. He danced almost exclusively with my sister who was also an excellent dancer. They were truly “poetry in motion,” and a joy to watch.
Several La Veta people came, but I always think of Charlie Masinton and Lola and their gang. Charlie and I once talked about those days and he said those Saturday nights at Cuchara were the beginning of an all-night session of dances, as they went from Cuchara to other dances and often ended in Pueblo for breakfast.
The two largest ranches at that time were those owned by Falks and Goemmers. Muriel Falk and her brother (John, I think) often came to the dances, and I always remember her as neat and well-groomed. Years later when they retired and sold the Lone Pine ranch, the new owners put up a sign by their gate that read Lone Pine Ranch and Simmental. I thought that Simmental was the owner’s name until someone told me that was their breed of cattle. I knew Herefords, Angus, Longhorns, and Charolais, but that was a new one to me.
The Goemmer family always came to Cuchara dances, both square and round dances. Pete’s grandson Chester Springer took the caller seriously when he said “swing your partner on the corner.” Chester picked up his partner and swung her at shoulder height — a most exhilarating experience.
One day “Mrs. Agnes” Thomason came over to ask me to go to Goemmers with her, as she had some sort of business with Pete and didn’t want to go alone. We went at noon when the men would be in for dinner. After the men had eaten, each one picked up his plates, utensils, cups, and glasses and went to the huge range. Here were two dishpans, one with soapy water and one for rinsing. Each of the five men, Pete, his son young Doc, his brothers Otto and Adolphe, and Chester washed and rinsed the things they had used, dried them, and stacked them neatly on the counter.
I was quite impressed with this labor and time-saving activity. Of course, Mrs. Goemmer had pots and pans and serving dishes to do, but half of her clean-up time was already done.