Rose Ward comes to my mind as I continue to celebrate National Women’s History Month, and focus on the women in my history. The other four women I’ve written about this month are gone, but Rose lives on at 94 years old! And she’s quite a woman!
Rose was born December 14, 1928, in a boxcar in Watervale, Colorado, a spot on the railroad lien between Trinchera and Branson, the town I grew up in. Her family lived in a boxcar there for many years because the railroad provided them for the workers. Often, she caught the train to Trinidad there to pay the family bills. Then, moving from the boxcar, they lived in a rock house owned by the Doherty’s for many years in Watervale.
This fascinates me because I have only known Watervale as a ghost town or small settlement.
Rose’s dad worked for the railroad—he started at thirteen and worked for fifty-two years. Watervale was a water stop on the line, a necessity for the railroad cars back then. She had two brothers and two sisters. I, not only grew up with Rose’s children, but her brother Hildo’s, too.
From Watervale, her family moved to Trinchera and bought a bar. She met Tom Ward, her future husband, at her parents’ bar there. She remembers he rode up on horseback, a real cowboy.
Tom asked Rose’s dad if they could marry. On December 20, 1952, Tom came for her, and her mom wasn’t even awake yet. Rose wore a beautiful black dress. As they drove to Raton, New Mexico, to be wed, the car stopped and they had to crank it. She worried about it stopping, but it finally started up and they made it to Raton and wed. The young couple had a second wedding at the Catholic church in Trinchera.
During their young married life, they lived out on a ranch where she had to haul water and use an outhouse. Rose had had enough.
“Take me home,” she told Tom. So, he gave her a sizeable check and took her to her parents.
When she arrived home, she told her dad, “I left Tom.”
He had a quick response, “Go back to Tom!” so away she went.
So, Tom changed ranches, and their next home had another problem—skunks! So, Rose left again to her mother’s. Then, Tom changed ranches again and found a wonderful spot with Tom and Jack Morrow.
Tom and Rose raised four children. Tom passed away on October 23, 2003. They have ten grandchildren, twenty great-grandchildren and two great great-grandchildren. You can see that Rose enjoys her large family by all of her pictures surrounding her in her home today.
Rose also gave foster children a home, so many she can’t count them!
Growing up, I remember Rose in my life mostly as the mother of my classmates and friends. I got more acquainted with her after my dad died in 1996. She had moved to Branson, and Mom and Rose became close friends. Yes, they were friends for decades before that, but these two widows became extremely close in the loss of their husbands. Rose helped Mom with her loss of dad. They had daily contact and helped ease the horrible loneliness of women who had spent decades with their husbands.
Rose enjoyed going to our ranch with Mom. Often, these two small powerful women sat on Mom’s front porch facing a busy county road, drinking beer or Tequila Rose and not acting like grieving widows. They both had rascally personalities and fed off of each other. Supporting small town life, they went to school activities together and just had fun together.
Since Mom died in 2013, I try to visit Rose anytime I’m in Branson. We laugh, have ice cream or any of her delicious desserts, and talk about Mom and the gossip of town. Any time Rose reminisces about her childhood or younger life with Tom, I sit back and enjoy the tale. What a different time that was! I can’t imagine Branson without Rose.
What a hard worker Rose has been as long as I have known her, whether it’s cooking up dozens of tamales or cleaning someone’s house. She just offered to clean my house this past week! Amazing!
My husband, Lin, loves to be with Rose, discussing their gardening interests. He also loves to dance with her, as shown in this picture at the Branson-Trinchera Reunion.
Rose defies the stamp of what 94 years old looks like. She lives alone, cooks delicious Mexican delicacies like tamales and sopapillas and still takes care of herself. Each morning she starts her day off with a cup of coffee with her son, then her daughter checks on her in the evenings and provides an evening meal if needed. Her out-of-town family members visit often, and she has pictures up of all her precious children.
She still does embroidery work and likes to keep a jigsaw puzzle going. In the evening, I often catch her watching her favorite Spanish Telenovela, and she has bought each one of my books!
Her laughter, her mischievous twinkle in her eyes and her loving, giving heart makes me choke up here in writing this!
What women in your history make you smile? Tell me about her/them!
In collaboration with Rose’s daughter, Jackie Mock
If you missed my other National Women’s History Month celebrations of four amazing women, here are the links:
- Celebrate Women This Month – about my mom
- Three Aunts to Celebrate – about my three aunts: Aunt Helen, Aunt Joan and Aunt Willie
News, News, News!
~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A
~My new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? WON the 2022 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards in the Body, Mind & Spirit Category. Have you bought your copy yet? Vist my website: laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.