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Anita Thomas

Anita Thomas

PRESERVING SPANISH
COLONIAL NEW MEXICO

Honored September, 1985

Anita Gonzales Thomas

"It wasn't until I went to St. Francis Parochial School that I began to get acquainted with children who weren't relatives," said Santa Fe native Anita Gonzales Thomas. "My earliest years were on Garcia Street." Her great-grandmother "owned all the land on the 200 block of Delgado Street." Anita's grandmother gave the land she inherited to Anita's father "because he helped to support her after my grandfather died. The rest of the street was all cousins--the Bacas and the Delgados," Anita said.

Born in 1908 to Paul and Elizabeth Gonzales, Anita was the oldest of twelve children. Elizabeth was Governor Clyde Tingley's secretary of state in the 1930s.

"St. Francis Parochial School was where the La Fonda Hotel is now. When I graduated from eighth grade, I went to the all-girl Loretto Academy, a boarding and day school," Anita recalled. She graduated from Loretto Academy in 1926 and was awarded a scholarship to Loretto Heights College in Denver, Colorado. "Before I went, I had a job at the capitol because the Democrats were in. When I got back, the Republicans were in, so there wasn't a job."


Anita hadn't thought about teaching, but when she was offered a job in CaiXoncito, she taught there for two years; then she returned to Santa Fe to teach fourth and fifth grades at Manderfield School.

Her future husband, Tommy Thomas, came to Santa Fe as a lieutenant in the Army Reserve. At the time, "President Roosevelt had started the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Depression," Anita said, "and there were two CCC camps in Santa Fe. I met Tommy when Father Jerome from St. Francis Cathedral went to say mass at one of the camps. I was in the cathedral choir, and Father Jerome thought it would be nice if we sang some of the Spanish songs. We were married by Father Jerome, who introduced us, on August 16, 1936."

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes