Source: Conversation in February 2017 with Jean Ramsey and Diana Sellers.
David Eloy Lucero was born in San Ysidro, New Mexico to Fabiola (Baca) and Eloy Lucero on January 29, 1937. He had two older siblings who were deceased by the time of his birth and was raised with a cousin, Consuelo, whom his parents adopted after her mother died.
San Ysidro, New Mexico was founded in the 1700s, in fact, the Community Ditch (Acequia) was built in the late 1700’s and exists to this day. Early families included Sandovals, Maestas’ Bacas, Garcias, Trujillos, Atencios, Pereas and Luceros.
San Ysidro had a population of around 300 during Dave’s childhood. He remembers an automotive shop (now CWW Feed Store), several bars, the post office, a mercantile, and a dance hall as places of commerce. As there were few outside jobs, most families were self-sufficient and sustained themselves on large gardens, raising chickens, pigs and goats and running some cattle. Water for the households came from individual shallow wells, and Dave says the water was sweet and clear. He also remembers residents talking about seeing a bright flash in the night sky in the summer of 1945. Was it the glow from the plutonium bomb at the Trinity Site?
Early family life consisted of the family garden and animals and preserving as much food as possible for the cold seasons, all without electricity! His father was granted a piece of land about 6 miles north of town off Highway 44 (now 550) on which to raise cattle. They lived out there during the summers in a small house in order to maintain homestead rights until they could purchase the property.
Schooling for the children was set up by the county and consisted of: grades 1, 2, 3 in one room and 7, 8 in the other. The school was in the building of the present-day Village Office. Grades 4, 5, 6 were held in a room at the house just north of the present post office, which was affectionately called “the Jolly Corner.” He graduated from the public high school in Bernalillo in 1955.
Some of Dave’s childhood memories revolve around the year 1950. That was the year the Jemez Mountain Electric Co-Operative brought power to all the towns between Espanola and San Ysidro and Cuba. He remembers staying up all night just to enjoy the electric lights the night they finally got permission to “turn them on!”
New Mexico was also experiencing a severe drought during 1950s. His father had found work as a logger in the forests up Highway 485. Eloy was granted a permit to graze his 100 head of cattle on land up that road near Porter. It took Eloy and son Dave three days to drive the herd to the new spot, and Dave had to stay with them, alone, all week during the summer months. He said a 13-year-old grew up fast back then, but it was one of the best times of his life. He was also granted a driver’s license at that age by the County Sheriff!
Then there was the Halloween prank when he was about 15 or 16. He and several other guys decided it would be fun to tip over some of the outhouses in town. Pretty funny until they tipped one that was occupied!
Many communities had dance halls in those days and people from the Valley would travel to Cuba and beyond for the dancing and a chance to mix and mingle. One dance hall to avoid was the one in Regina. He remembers having all the windows in his pick-up broken when attending a dance there.
However, Dave did meet his first wife, Virginia (Sanchez) at a dance in Cuba in 1956. They married in 1958 and had five children: sons Steve (Dolores), Dave Jr. (Diana) and Dennis and daughters Barbara and Bernadine. During those years he still ran a few cattle and worked at the Weapons Project at Los Alamos. (Can’t talk about that job!)
Following Virginia’s death, Dave met and married his present wife, Hope. Today he and Hope still live in a house on the same property where he was raised. They also have chickens, goats, sheep and a few cattle. His little childhood home still stands on Highway 4 in San Ysidro.