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Vol 21 -- From the Editors
By Kazstelia Vásquez and Gretchen DickeyI was honored and flattered when Ms. Vise asked me to edit this issue. The knowledge and experience I've gained far exceeded my expectations: I have discovered that history is exciting and even more so when one finds unexpected connections to it. Through the research by Borderlands students, I became familiar with important regional history and stumbled upon a direct link between my family and the villistas.
While researching Pancho Villa's last years, I came across the name of General Alvino Aranda, my great-grandfather, and one of Villa's generals. In his book "The Life and Times of Pancho Villa," renowned historian Friedrich Katz writes that Mexican President Obregón appeased Villa by giving land to him and his men. Villa left General Alvino Aranda in charge of the town of Pueblito, where my mother, Castelia Cooke, was born. To find these facts in a book written by an expert on Mexican history thrilled me.
Thank you, Ms. Vise, for seeing in me the capability to accomplish this challenging mission. Your trust and encouragement gave me the confidence to set higher goals for myself. I hope be as passionate and to give of myself as you do when I am a teacher. Through you, I also discovered English literature (and tea) with their sweet rewards.
I will always be grateful to Matthew, Jonathan and Marissa, my children, and my beloved husband, Eddie, for giving me the time and space necessary to fulfill my editorial duties. Like a gardener tending flowers, Eddie has given me the space to grow, nourishing me when I needed encouragement. Without his support, my passions would wilt and die.
I also thank my mother- and father-in- law, Rosemary and Alonzo Vasquez, who encouraged me, suggested valuable sources and provided Sunday dinners, followed by great conversations on my work.
Kazstelia Vásquez, Editor
Image caption: 2002 Borderland staff, from left to right: Katzstelia Vasquez, Editor; Ruth E. Vise. Director & Faculty Editor: Gretchen Dickey, Assistant Editor. Photo by Kim Prieto
Words cannot express the great pleasure and honor it has been working with the Borderlands staff. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. Although my job as assistant editor has come to an end, the real fruit of this project has only begun.
My family has been in El Paso since 1905. My maternal great-grandmother, Mrs. Guy Hallett Johnson, served as president of the El Paso Community Concert Association, determined that El Paso would enjoy music and culture. The El Paso Historical Society inducted her into its ranks posthumously in 1986.
Her daughter and my grandmother, Hallett Mengel, helped establish the El Paso History Club. She edited the private papers of distinguished El Pasoans, sifting through old books and papers for details on the city's early history. Perhaps in editing Borderlands articles, I have looked through some of the same historical papers.
After researching the history of the El Paso area, I have a new love and respect for this region. I don't know when the transformation occurred, perhaps during one of my late night excursions to an area library or while rummaging through old photos, but it did happen. I wish this for you, our readers.
I will always be grateful to my mentor, Ms. Ruth Vise, for giving me this opportunity. My hearty thanks to Leon Metz for graciously answering my many questions by phone. Thanks to my friend Kimberly T. Prieto for taking pictures all over town and to Terri Smythe for her invaluable advice. A big thanks to my husband, Gary, and my children, Hallett, Zach and Riley, for their patience and support.
Gretchen Dickey, Assistant Editor