Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Clementine Ponce

Clementine Ponce

Honored May, 2002

Clementine Ponce

"Everyone is given a blank canvas at birth," Clementine Ponce likes to quote from an influential article she was given to read. "When you are young, others paint pictures for you; but the wonderful thing about the canvas is that each one of us has the ability to paint over the old pictures. There is no limit to the changes we can make or the help we can ask for to make the canvas beautiful--a picture of our life."

Born in 1910 in Kansas, reared in Texas-where she lived several decades-now more than a 10-year resident of the El Castillo retirement community in Santa Fe, Clementine has painted a lovely canvas of her life. Her most exciting work was executive director of the Texas Panhandle Girl Scouts. Her most fun was square dancing. Her hardest job was owning a hotel. Her most unexpected pleasure was the enjoyment she has found at El Castillo. She has modeled in Santa Fe for 20 years.

"Now in my 90s," Clementine says, "I do not want a facelift. To me my wrinkles are a map of my life, and I am the only one who can read it. How much fun it is to travel around on my map-to reminisce and look forward to new trails to explore. Every day in my journey of life I am learning something of value."

Story by Richard McCord
Photo ©2004 by Steve Northrup