Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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 Pauline Gomez



Honored October 1985

Pauline Gomez

When Pauline Gomez returned home to New Mexico after completing a graduate program at Harvard on scholarship, she couldn't find a job.

The year was 1946, and even though Pauline had distinguished herself as the first blind person to graduate from the University of New Mexico, "it was unusual for a blind person to get a job," she recalls.

Born in Moriarty in 1933 and raised in Santa Fe, Pauline had been blind since childhood. Hardly one to let discouragement stand in her way, the vital, articulate Pauline listened closely when she heard a friend complain about the lack of nursery schools in Santa Fe. "Open a kindergarten," her friend advised.

On October 1, 1946, in the back room of her home, Pauline did just that. Her Los Nifios Kindergarten opened with just eight students. She operated the school and taught there thirty-five years.

"I'd always loved children," she recalls. "I used to work with neighborhood children when I was in high school." And children responded. "Miss Gomez can see with her ears," they said.

Her handicap didn't get in her way in the classroom. "If you establish respect with children, you're going to get along fine. You need to establish your rules." Creative dramatics, which stresses the use of the senses, and science were the subjects she enjoyed teaching. With a tape recorder, she took notes on students' progress, priding herself on the long letters and detailed reports she wrote parents, using a regular typewriter.

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