by Aaron Martinez
Fermin Martinez and Offesina Martinez are the parents of five sons and three daughters. One of those sons’ names is Juan. Juan was born in Manassa Colorado, in 1947. Juan told me something he used to do as a kid, since kids didn’t have TV or video games; he said that he and his friends used to play baseball every day after school, until it was time for dinner. Juan also said that on weekends, one of his friends would open the window to the gym, so kids can open it and play basketball all day. He said that if they got caught, they would say that the gym was open, so they went in. Juan had brothers named Raymond Martinez, Leo Martinez, Fred Martinez, and had three sisters named Lydlas Martinez, Cordy Martinez and Arelene Martinez. In 1976, Juan got a job at the gates of the football game as the gatekeeper. His cousin introduced him to a girl named Anne Aranda, who later fell in love. They never got married, but they lived together for a long time, and got married by law. Juan told me that one day, he was talking to his friends and he said that he was going to join the Navy. Juan thought that it would be fun to join the Navy, because he thought that he would swim a lot. He said that he was never on a ship, and that he only swam once. He said that he was a communication guy from 1966 through 1970. Juan told me that later there was a college that was for education of teaching, and it was for free, so he decided to go for coaching, then he became a teacher. Juan told me some stories about his teaching. One day the PE class was having PE outside, and there was a tornado that was in town, and was coming toward the school. The coach told the kids to get down, or run to that ditch that was by the field that the kids were having PE on. One of the kids weighed about 70 pounds, got picked up by the tornado, and got thrown into the ditch with cuts and scratches, and a girl’s car flew into the school parking lot. Now Juan is living in Walsenburg with his wife Anne Aranda, and he is retired. He said that his motto is that if you help people, that God will help you.
Voices of the Past is an annual oral history project done by Gardner School students.