Volunteering is Fun!

Lous Callaghan
This month’s volunteer profile features Lois Callaghan.
“The first time I visited Santa Fe and New Mexico was in 1960. Overwhelmed by the beautiful sky, the mountains, and the friendly people, my dream of living in this very special place finally came true in 1999.  Retiring after thirty years as an educator, my husband, Dick, and I packed our household and moved to Santa Fe.
While training as a volunteer for the Museum of International Folk Art in 2000, a friend suggested I also attend Las Golondrinas’ training to fully discover the history and Hispanic culture of New Mexico. This was a very good idea for someone from New Jersey!
One of my first opportunities to enjoy sharing history with visitors was as a Josefina docent. During those early years, we included “Lunch With Josefina” and a chance to visit with our guests. A favorite place to be on Fridays was the schoolhouse. Watching the burros helped pass the time. I enjoyed the quiet of the fields and the changing colors in the fall. Many spring and fall Spanish Colonial Days found me in the same location, appreciating the opportunity to meet so many children — a reminder of all the children I had known through my years as a teacher. On other Spanish Colonial Days, I helped with candle dipping and teaching crafts. Eventually, I also spent a few hours in the country store, the Baca house and making tortillas on the comal.
Every time I arrive at Las Golondrinas, I feel the serenity of the open fields as the everyday world disappears. I am fortunate to have been a docent at Las Golondrinas all these years.
The past eighteen years have flown by. During that time I have also been a docent at the Santa Fe Opera and Chamber Music performances. I am still a docent at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts and Cancer Care. My husband, Dick, was also a volunteer at Las Golondrinas, but passed away in 2009. My daughter, Lee Ann, and her husband, Mathew, live in New York, but love to visit Santa Fe.
I have recently moved to El Castillo and am enjoying renewing acquaintances with friends I have known through these past years.”

Volunteering is Fun!

Beth Barreras

This month’s volunteer profile features Beth Barreras.

“I have lived in various places in my life:  Long Island, New York; Seattle, Washington; Kensington, California; Chicago, Illinois; Reno, Nevada; and France — but I consider Santa Fe my ‘real’ home, at least for the last fifty years.

My father was a U.S. History teacher and my mother a hostess on a cruise ship. We traveled every summer, camping in almost every state, including one road trip up the unpaved Alcan Highway to visit the Gold Rush area. My grandfather was originally from Sweden and in 1897, traveled all the way from Boston to the Yukon to make his fortune panning for gold.

What brought me to Santa Fe was my first husband’s desire to go to St. John’s College here. Unfortunately, because of a gap in school attendance, he was drafted in 1968 and did not survive the Vietnam War. I met my second husband through our common jobs in IT management. My husband, Marc, was born in 1927 in San Marcial, New Mexico, two years before the Rio Grande River flooded and wiped out that prosperous Fred Harvey railroad town.

Other than working in IT, I have been volunteering for 25 years as a certified water operator for my small community. It took me a while to discover El Rancho de las Golondrinas. In 1992, a friend and I went down to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, and she suggested that we stop at Las Golondrinas on the way back for the Harvest Festival.  I have to admit that I had no idea what she was talking about. To my great surprise, Las Golondrinas and the Harvest Festival were wonderful. She then suggested that we both volunteer. I was all in, but I was the only one of the two of us that ended up volunteering. And so, it has now been over 25 years that I have been at Las Golondrinas!

Before I retired in 2010, I would volunteer on weekends. However, now it is a bit of a challenge for me because my husband is up in years. I have always loved the walk out to the Raton School House, or the Morada or the Sierra Village. Meeting all the people from around the world, the nation and our own state has been such a joy as well as working with all the enthusiastic, knowledgeable volunteers and staff. Some of my favorite memories have been the fun of teaching children Hoops or Graces at the school house; helping children build little adobe brick houses (love their creativeness); cooking calabacitas in the Baca House fireplace on a hot August day (whew!); and learning so much New Mexico history. Wonderful memories!”

Volunteering is Fun!

Volunteer Linda Dunning

This month’s volunteer profile features Linda Dunning.

In 2007, Linda’s husband, Napoleón Garcia, told her about El Rancho de las Golondrinas. He knew that she was interested in local history and he had participated occasionally with the Penitentes from Abiquiu during the Spring and Fall Festivals since the Morada at the Ranch was a replica of the one in Abiquiu. When Linda visited, she felt as if she had walked back in time. The peace and quiet and the authentic surroundings swept her away to another time. She signed up as a volunteer on the spot and was captivated by the activities going on in the placita. The weaving coordinator at the time, Beatrice Sandoval, made it her mission that Linda learn every aspect of the weaving process—from sheep to rug. Over the years, she settled into spinning on the malacate and colcha embroidery.

Napoleón caught her enthusiasm and he too signed up as a regular volunteer. He loved to weave tales from his native Abiquiu, which parallels the Colonial times of the Ranch. He particularly liked Spanish Colonial Days and entertaining the children. Once, at the annual volunteer luncheon, Amanda Crocker was highlighting attributes and contributions of various volunteers. When she got to Napoleón she said:  “Just for being there…” because he indeed looked as if he could have been the patron of the Ranch.

Linda and Napoleón continued to be regular volunteers at the Ranch, both earning their 1,000 hours bolo, until Napoleón’s health faltered in 2014 and he passed away in 2016. Linda maintains her connection with the Ranch and still volunteers occasionally.

Volunteering is Fun!

photo by Peter M. Fredin

This month’s volunteer profile features Doug Holthaus.

“When I first visited Santa Fe in 1974 while on a business trip, I stumbled upon El Rancho de las Golondrinas purely by accident,” says Doug Holthaus. “It was love at first sight. I was struck by its beautiful landscape — especially the tunnel of towering cottonwood trees, the spring-fed ponds and acequia, and the wonderful historic buildings. Most of all, I was impressed by the friendly and enthusiastic volunteers and staff. Little did I suspect that retirement would bring me back to the Las Golondrinas family thirty-three years later.”

Doug was born and raised on the family farm in northeastern Iowa, twenty miles from the movie site of Field of Dreams near Dyersville. “Our farm looked pretty much like the one in the film,” he says. “Rolling hills of corn, oats and alfalfa for as far as you could see, along with dairy cows, pigs, chickens, sheep —plus an orchard and a huge garden. We pretty much were self-sufficient. We also exhibited purebred Holstein dairy cattle at local, state and national shows, winning several blue ribbons and trophies in the process. And although growing up on the farm was lots of hard work and long hours, it was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.”

Leaving the farm for college when he was eighteen, Doug earned a B.A. in journalism and a minor in sociology. He also was awarded a fellowship to pursue post-graduate work in American Studies and Folklore at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Doug spent his early years as a writer, photographer and editor in the agricultural communications field at jobs in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Nashville and Philadelphia. In time, he transitioned to more general-interest consumer titles and joined Meredith Corporation in Des Moines (publisher of Better Homes and Gardens — and, just recently, the new owner of Time, Inc. and its stable of well-known publications).

As Editor-in-Chief of Meredith Publishing Services for fifteen years, Doug managed a large staff of editors, graphic designers, stylists, and free-lance writers that produced publications and marketing programs for many Fortune 500 companies.

During the last five years of his career, Doug was Editor of WorldTraveler, a monthly 100-plus-page magazine produced for Northwest Airlines (now part of Delta Airlines). The magazine, published in both English and Japanese, was circulated worldwide via the seat pockets on all Northwest Flights. “It was the best job I ever had,” says Doug.

After vacationing in the Land of Enchantment annually for more than thirty years, Doug retired, moved to Santa Fe in 2006 and (surprise!) became a new volunteer. “I love volunteering at Las Golondrinas. There is such positive energy and camaraderie,” he says. “I especially like the fact that there’s the flexibility and opportunity to interpret sites anywhere on the Rancho.”

“Although I like the fun and excitement of volunteering during festivals and special events, I particularly enjoy working weekdays when the Rancho is more peaceful and I can spend more time with guests,” says Doug. “It’s also easier to time-travel and imagine what it must have been like to walk in the footsteps of persons who actually lived and worked here 300 years ago.”

In addition to contributing more than 2,400 volunteer hours to Las Golondrinas since 2007, Doug is a docent at The Santa Fe Opera, where he has led backstage tours for six seasons. He also enjoys do-it-yourself home maintenance and remodeling projects, cooking and, of course, history.


Volunteering is Fun!

Marcy Pompei

This month’s volunteer profile features Marcy Pompei pictured here with Ross Pope.

“My first visit to El Rancho de las Golondrinas was in 1979 when the Alternative High School spent the day at the Museum. The Molino Grande was in full operation and there was music and dancing included!

Later, I accompanied my daughter’s girl scout troop, her classroom adventures and her Spanish Dance Troop, visiting the Ranch. Lynsey, as a 6th grader, attended the Josefina celebration.  It was all great!

In 2009, I trained to be a tour guide, where I enjoyed the comaradery of the staff and other tour guides such as Ray Pino, who shared the stories of the Pino House. Quickly, I learned one of the blessings of participating in the history of El Rancho de las Golondrinas — the many friends and acquaintances gained from volunteering and working at the Ranch. That fellowship has been shining in my life and is greatly appreciated! Growing friendships with Dan and Maryann Hart, Marguerite Gonzales and Bob White, Carol Owens and Ross Pope, to name just a few, have been instrumental in keeping me engaged.

I look forward to the training each winter, listening and learning new information regarding Spanish Colonial history and the development of this living history museum.

I am forever reminded of the way people interacted with each other, the environment and the animals. Like economies of the area before and after the advent of the railroad, my daughter and her husband are honored to bring their Philly Cheesesteak Cart to serve food at the annual Santa Fe Wine Festival and the Santa Fe Renaissance Fair. Similar to grandpa in the Sierra Village, earning a living by making jackets from animal skins, my children continue the tradition of earning an income from activity at the Ranch.

Through the study of the Spanish Colonial art forms, the farming practices and the architectural designs still used in buildings today, we connect with the past. Sharing these features is the greatest opportunity! The fellowship with other tour guides, volunteers and guests of the Ranch is just the best! With these thoughts, I encourage all of you to join me in giving of your time and/or financial resources to continue the tradition of sharing El Rancho de las Golondrinas for generations to come!”

Meet the Salladins!

The Salladins volunteer

This month’s volunteer profile features SuZanne Salladin and her children, Briar, age 17, and Aidan, age 14.

“My first experience with El Rancho de las Golondrinas was at the Wine Festival back in the carefree summer of 1996 while I was a student at the College of Santa Fe. I still have the wine glass! I grew up on the East coast, born in New York State in the late 1970s to parents that were educators. Being the child of an educator meant that every year for family vacations, one is most likely spending long stretches of time traveling the country in the back of a sweaty, overstuffed vehicle, visiting State and National parks and, of course, museums and historical locations.

On my first journey to Las Golondrinas, that fateful, warm and sunny Wine Festival day, I instantly fell in love: in love with New Mexico, in love with the history, culture, food, music and people that reside here.  After many years of life on the East Coast, marriage, divorce, continuing education, the hectic life of work and children, the lure of New Mexico and it’s unique treasures brought me back.  We moved to New Mexico in the summer of 2015 when I brought my teenage children, Briar, age 17, and Aidan, age 14, to many of the festivals as visitors, and they also fell in love with the idea of being a part of such a rich and valuable institution.  In fact, they asked me if we could all be volunteers.

I have experience in education, different facets of the tourism industry, and case work/social work positions as well as customer service, and have been fluent in Spanish for over 20 years. So, volunteering and working at the Ranch felt like home to me. In 2016, I fell into a tour guide position, volunteer docent with the kids, and last year started demonstrating a molasses taffy recipe from a historical cookbook I found at the downtown library.

We like to portray a Territorial-era family as it fits not only our family’s ethnic background and history, but echoes our own story venturing out west to create a new life for ourselves, just the three of us. We like to be in the school house, with the animals, at Sierra Village tending the gardens, and anywhere we can be useful, especially during festivals.  We love variety and getting to know the other skilled volunteers and all aspects of the Ranch. As a tour guide, it is useful to be a generalist. I have also been given the opportunity to be a seasonal sales associate in the gift shop this summer, and I am looking forward to spending even more time on the Ranch.

My dad used to tell me, ‘Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.’ We sure consider ourselves one lucky family to be welcomed as a valuable part of Las Golondrinas.”

Meet Volunteer Gordon Mark!

Volunteer Gordon Mark

“My first encounter with El Rancho de las Golondrinas was a tour with the Santa Fe Botanic Garden.  In California, I had photographed buildings, both old and new. Las Golondrinas provided for me a different look at architecture.  I asked the guide if it was OK to photograph at the Ranch. I then explained that I use large format cameras (12 x 20, 8 x 10 and a round format 8 x 10 camera of my own design). A tripod and a focusing cloth would also be necessary. The answer was ‘Yes,’ with a couple of reservations. In a couple of weeks, I was back with a camera. While paying the fee, I was convinced that I needed a membership so I could photograph whenever I wanted.  The grounds are sublime and ever-changing with the seasons. A GREAT place to photograph! There had to be more to keep me returning.

A couple of years later, I answered an ad for tour guides. I had been a teacher, so I felt this might be interesting. That was 15 years ago! I then started to be a docent on Friday, and I have been on the Friday crew ever since.

Looking around the Ranch for other things I might do created my interest in the mills. I learned to operate and maintain the Trucas Mill and then was taught to operate the Molino Grande. My choice is the Trucas Mill as it is what was here in the period.

After being asked to present the mills at training, I started to do research on the mills in New Mexico. This research included both the small Spanish mills and the larger commercial ones. The trips into the eastern part of New Mexico brought me into contact with the old mills and people who were also interested in mills.

The Ranch can be great fun as a guide, docent or a miller, but there is more that I feel is important. The people that are at the Ranch, I think, are the real reason that I am here. This includes my fellow volunteers, the staff and the Board of Directors — a group of people that come from very diverse backgrounds, but have history, the Ranch and the people we serve as a common thread. The people that come in the front gate are, to me, most important as they have enlightened me on many aspects of life in New Mexico.”

Meet Volunteer Edmond Kibel!

Edmond Kibel

“I am Edmond Kibel: former devoted non-wearer of costumes, history lover, learning enthusiast, retirement resistor, general nomad and complete fan of El Rancho de las Golondrinas!

I was born in Israel before it became a state. I served in the Israeli Air Force and fought in the 6 Day War in 1967. I knew at age 9 that I wanted to be an Aerospace Engineer. I arrived in the United States 50 years ago with my Honorable Discharge in hand and deposited myself on the door step of a cousin I had never met in Cleveland, Ohio. I’ve been blessed in the cousin category. They helped me enroll at Ohio State University and welcomed me into their hearts while I earned my Aeronautical Engineering degree.  I am forever grateful to both sets of my parents.

My identity was all wrapped up in my career as an Aerospace Engineer. My work focused on the design of helicopters, satellites, and the space station.  It was all very rewarding and might explain why I felt so lost for a while after retiring. How does one find a new passion after such a satisfying career?

The answer came to me through Ron Goodman and Jerry Lieberman, long time Rancho volunteers. I went to the first training session swearing I would never wear a costume. I returned home that day with button up jeans and two shirts. I suppose you could say the rest is history.

History has been high on my favorites list all my life. El Rancho de las Golondrinas has opened new doors for me. Hispanic history and culture of New Mexico drew me in as I began learning about it. I have learned much about the Morada and Penitente brotherhood and discovered the ‘engineering’ of large water mills.

Casa San Ysidro in Corrales is another venue I enjoy. Volunteering there has been great fun.

The nomadic me has been very satisfied wandering the United States and Canada in our Airstream trailer with my wife, Susan, seeking out National Parks, museums, historic sights, friends and family and now water powered grist mills. There’s always something new to learn.

I enjoy talking with visitors, young and old, about their experiences at El Rancho de las Golondrinas.

Stated in one simple sentence: I love the place. Stroll the property. I bet you will find something new to explore every time you do.”

Meet 2017 Volunteer of the Year Sandee Rudnick!

At the March 3 Volunteer Luncheon, held at the Hilton Hotel in Santa Fe, El Rancho de las Golondrinas was proud to announce the 2017 Volunteers of the Year! Again this year, the award was given to two outstanding volunteers: Ron Goodman and Sandee Rudnick.

Sandee Rudnick

Twelve years ago, a dear friend of Sandee’s gave her a private, off-season tour of El Rancho de las Golondrinas. She was so enthusiastic that they spent an entire day wandering around and discussing the history of what they saw. The following summer, Sandee started to volunteer every Wednesday and she still comes on Wednesdays today. The beauty of the landscape draws her back each year, and the fun of meeting with visitors keeps her here. Those rare moments of conversations that open up new ideas of what life was like before, the questions that stretch Sandee’s knowledge and force her to put historical facts and logical ideas together to make sense to both the visitor and her, continue to excite her. On special days or for special projects, Sandee’s husband of more than fifty years, Jon, joins her at the Ranch.

In 1956, both her husband’s family and hers came to live and work in Los Alamos.  After high school, Jon and Sandee went away to college, got married, went to Kenya with the Peace Corps, did more college, and then lived in six other states and traveled to numerous other countries. Thirteen years ago, Jon retired and they were able to come back home full-time to New Mexico. Their son and his family live in Denver and their daughter and her husband live in Santa Fe but work in Los Alamos. When not at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, Sandee conducts guided tours at the Santa Fe Opera, volunteers helping to house the collections at the New Mexico History Museum, answers questions about Santa Fe and New Mexico at the Bienvenidos information booth on the Plaza, and assists people with their taxes for AARP.

We extend our congratulations to Sandee on being named 2017 Co-Volunteer of the Year!

Meet 2017 Volunteer of the Year Ron Goodman!

At the March 3 Volunteer Luncheon, held at the Hilton Hotel in Santa Fe, El Rancho de las Golondrinas was proud to announce the 2017 Volunteers of the Year!  Again this year, the award was given to two outstanding volunteers: Ron Goodman and Sandee Rudnick.

Volunteer Ron Goodman

Ron grew up in Johnston City, Illinois and attended Southern Illinois University where he majored in art education. It was there that he took a class in weaving and he’s been weaving ever since! Ron was a high school art teacher and served his country in the army in Vietnam. After returning to the States, he was stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs and then worked as a ballroom dance instructor and later as a floral designer. He soon returned to Johnson City where he bought and operated a flower shop.

He then worked for the JC Penny Company in the display department and after a couple of promotions to Visual Manager, he ended up back in Colorado Springs. It was during this time that the company sent him to Santa Fe to help get the displays ready for the grand opening of a new store at the Santa Fe Place Mall. After sixteen years with JC Penny, Ron retired. He met Jerry Lieberman through a mutual friend and he and Jerry began taking trips to Santa Fe to enjoy the cultural aspects of the city.

During one of those trips, he heard about El Rancho de las Golondrinas. He and Jerry paid the Ranch a visit during Harvest Festival and Ron learned to do colcha that day! Ron remembers how exciting it was to walk through the gate and see everyone having fun, learning about crafts being demonstrated by volunteers stationed around the Golondrinas Placita courtyard. When Ron first saw the Loom Room he thought how wonderful it would be to weave on the beautiful old looms. When Jerry and Ron moved to Santa Fe, the first place they volunteered was El Rancho de las Golondrinas. And they have been here ever since.

Ron says that volunteering at Las Golondrinas has given him a strong sense of the history of the place and has made him aware that he is now a part of that history. He feels very grateful for the opportunity to help pass that along to the many guests who pass through our gates annually.

We extend our congratulations to Ron on being named 2017 Co-Volunteer of the Year!