Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dear Papa and Sister

In this era of e-mail, blogging, tweeting and friending, it’s pretty incredible to see the old, hand-written letters that were the only form of communication back in 1800s. With the help of a researcher at the State Records Center and Archives, I was able to track down correspondence to and from my great-great-Grandfather, Melquiades Otero. A native of Cubero, Otero was a rancher who had business and political interests throughout Valencia County. I will write more about Melquiades and his father, Gregorio Otero, at some point.

But today, I want to reprint a simple and touching letter written in 1899 by his 13-year-old daughter, Rafaelita Otero, who was attending the Loretto Academy of Our Lady of Light in Santa Fe. The letter is addressed to her father, Melquiades, and eight-year-old sister, Eliza, who is my paternal great-grandmother.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, April 1st, 1899

Dear Papa and Sister:

As today is Saturday I thought I would write you a letter. Although I have not much to tell you. Day before yesterday was Holy Thursday. And we went to the Cathedral at half past eight until ten o clock. And in the afternoon we went to visit all the churches but we didn’t get to go to St. Catharine’s Indian School. We all went except the little girls. We have three new boarders. There are 43 now. Today is April fool and I wish I were home. But I am alright here. I’d like to come next year too. We are not going to have a picnic this year but Sister said that we would have something better. I received a letter from Eliza last Monday so I will answer hers with yours for I have no time to write separate. I will now close my letter wishing you a happy Easter.

Your loving daughter,
Rafaelita Otero

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