“You Guys Ain’t Going to Do Anything” — An Interview with Johnny Espinosa and Tom Hartsock: Part 2 of 2
By Bob Rosebrough
When Tom and his family moved to Gallup from Ohio, his father went to work at Clark’s Dairy west of Gallup. Tom says, “Well, it was an adjustment, but for an eleven year old boy, it was, ‘Wow, I get to go west where all the cowboys are!’” Tom laughs.
Clark Dairy Wild Dog and Coyote Hunt: Two legs and a tail. Tom says, “My brother John and I actually lived in what we called a bunk house, next door to where our parents lived, and it was just a rough wooden cabin with wooden floors. John and I cleaned up the cabin and put some bedding over there and most of the time that’s where we slept.”
“We came out here for my dad to drive a truck and he drove sixty hours a week for sixty bucks a week – a dollar an hour – and that was good money back then. John and I had a lot more leisure time than on the farm in Ohio and we used to hike to Twin Buttes. We were all over the place actually. I mean we just went wherever we wanted to.”
Tom continues, “Clark’s Dairy was owned by Senator William Clark. He was a state senator. He had been in the dairy business for years. When we came out here, the weekend following our arrival, Senator Clark had a big wild dog and coyote hunt. He invited everybody in the county. Bring your gun, bring your pickup truck, whatever, and he paid, I think he paid five dollars a head, which was a huge sum of money back then.
“He paid out well over a thousand bucks, I’m sure, which was a ton of money, and then fed everybody barbecue. But the coyotes had been killing his milk cows. So it was a survival type thing. Back then dairies were not set up to where the cows stayed in the barn all the time. You know, you finished milking the cows and then you turned them loose. Here come the coyotes and the wild dogs. And Senator Clark paid whether they were a coyote or a wild dog. It didn’t matter. You had to present two legs and a tail. That was all you needed for proof.
“Senator Clark was pretty old even then and his son, D. B. Clark, was a well-known pilot around town. I think Senator Clark would have probably been in his eighties in the 1950s, and he wanted D. B. to take over the dairy, but D. B. said, ‘No. I want nothing to do with it.’ He had his own life and so the senator closed it up in 1956, at the tail end of ’56.”
1944 State football championship. Johnny says that the 1953 baseball state championship was not Gallup High’s first state championship team. He starts talking about the Gallup High football team that beat Carlsbad to win the state championship in1944. He says, “I was ten years old at the time, but I remember some of the football players like Tom Kimura, Edward Shinto. They had some good running backs, a guy by the name of Victor Polich. They had Kilpatrick . . . What was his first name? It was Raymond.”
Johnny opens his older brother’s high school yearbook, which shows a photo of the 1943 football team that finished fourth in state. Most of the stars of the 1944 state championship team are in the photos as juniors. Johnny begins pointing out players. “Don Dellifield. And this is Edward Shinto. Tom Kimura, did you know Tom Kimura? He’s Japanese. He used to be the quarterback. He was Mary Kimura’s husband. He’s the only Japanese-American quarterback that ever won a state football championship.
“And Edward Boggio. I don’t know if you know him. He was a state patrolman.” Johnny continues pointing out players as he says, “This is Bob Shepherd. He wasn’t a very big guy. He was about the same size as Howard Menapace. But this guy (Bob Shepherd), his daughter and I had a conversation. He made all-state all three years that he was in high school in football.”
Survival hike from Church Rock to Crownpoint. When Tom was thirteen he went on a three-day survival hike with his brother, John, and two other thirteen-year-olds. Tom says, ‘When we moved into Viro Circle, we joined the Boy Scouts and went on survival hikes. One time we went from Church Rock all the way to Crownpoint. It wasn’t something that we had to do. It was something that after reading Boy’s Life we wanted to try.
“There wasn’t much in the way of roads in those days. If you got a good hard packed road that was super. (laughs) So you know, we didn’t have to worry about the vehicles. Most of the Native American people didn’t have vehicles. They rode horses, they pulled buggies, but they didn’t have automobiles back then.”
“My mom was a teacher at Church Rock and we started from her school. She made sure we all had a bottle of water, but we weren’t allowed to take food of any kind. We had our little survival kits, which were about two inches by two inches, dry socks, extra handkerchief, of course, and that was it. And my mom said, ‘Okay boys, we’ll see you on Monday. We’ll come to Crownpoint to pick you up.’ There were no adults, just thirteen-year-olds. Just kids.
“Well, we hadn’t been gone for much more than an hour. It was in August, I know that. The heavens opened up and gave us rain and we got rained on for most of that night. We were miserable, but we weren’t going to give up. By 3:00 in the afternoon on the first day we were so tired of trying to walk through the mud, and we were hungry; we stopped. We found a clump of trees, got in the trees. We each had a single blanket, kind of like an old Army blanket. And we kind of made a little tent to keep the wind off us and we woke up about probably midnight because it was raining again.
“The next day we keep walking. We were way off the road. We walked for probably three hours. It’s still raining the whole time. And I remember coming over a hill and we saw some dogs – and I hated dogs. To this day I have a fear of dogs. I grabbed a hold of my brother and said, ‘John, you got to take care of this dog.’ So he goes over the hill and the next thing we know he’s kneeling down and petting the dog.”
These crazy white people! Tom says, “I think there’s somebody living right over here.” And we could smell smoke coming out of their chimney. So we went down and we found a little . . . it wasn’t even a hogan. It was more of a shack. And we found an old Navajo man and woman that had been living out there and they had maybe ten sheep. And the dog went in and woke them up and she come out and she said, ‘What are you boys doing out here?’ She spoke excellent English, which was really unusual back in those days. We told her we were walking to Crownpoint and I’m sure she was thinking, These crazy white people!” Tom laughs. “But she invited us in. We got to back up around a potbelly stove. She made breakfast and we got warm. And then from that time on, it pretty much quit raining and we found a road within a half mile of their place and we just followed the road all the way up to Crownpoint. So it was three solid days.”
The Harvey House: “It was a very, very fancy place.” Johnny remembers back to Gallup’s Harvey House. He says, “The trains would stop at the Harvey House and people would get off and eat. The trains would wait for them to come. They had what they called the Harvey Girls, ladies that used to be the waitresses there. I think there’s a couple of them still alive, one or two anyway.
“All their silverware, it had ‘Harvey House’ on it. They had a jewelry shop and a nice bar. A lot of younger guys worked at the Harvey House and some of them used to live in the mining camps. They could stay in certain rooms at the Harvey House to work. It had ice outside. They had these little carts. The train would stop and pick up the ice and put it on the train so they’d have cold water and stuff.
“But as far as going to the Harvey House when I was small, I only went a couple of times and that was it. It was a very, very fancy place. I don’t know why they knocked it down. I really don’t.”