Cleofas M. Jaramillo (1878-1956) grew up in northern New Mexico, and her memoir, originally published in 1955, offers a unique and engaging portrait of daily life and customs from the late nineteenth through the early twentieth century. The story of her life in a prominent family steeped in the traditions of Old Spain takes us into village life of a bygone period. Jaramillo's vivid recollection of a time when tradition clashed with modernization and New Mexican cultures nevertheless came together to form a richly diverse society makes her autobiography not only the story of one woman's life but of changing lifeways on the edge of a new era.
Jaramillo narrates her life from girlhood through courtship and marriage, motherhood, and her later years in Santa Fe. Throughout we witness her enduring and indomitable spirit despite political upheaval, economic depression, and family tragedy. Jaramillo drew singular strength from her faith and her heritage. She discusses religion, politics, local customs, family, love, and more, recounting in unique detail customs associated with courtship, marriage, fiestas, and hospitality that are so much a part of Hispanic culture in New Mexico.