Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Alice Bullock



Honored July 1985

Alice Bullock

"I can't remember when I couldn't read," said well-known Santa Fe author and teacher Alice Bullock. "We didn't have a lot of books because coal camp people didn't have a lot of money."

Her mother purchased the complete works of Charles Dickens from a traveling salesman, and "she was so disgusted because I had read them all before the first payment was due," Alice said.

Alice was born in Buck, Oklahoma in 1904. Her father worked as a stationary steam engineer, at the coal mines. When his wife was diagnosed as in danger of developing tuberculosis, he found a job in the high, dry climate of Gardiner, New Mexico, a mining town outside Raton. "We came out in 1912, the year the territory became a state," Alice recalled. "I was born in New Mexico at the age of eight.. In my heart, I'm a New Mexican."

She liked growing up in a coal camp. "We used to hitch up Old Blue, our horse," to go to Raton to buy groceries, a risky undertaking because mine employees were required to purchase their food from the company store. Had they been caught, her father would have lost his job, Alice said. Monday was wash day, and young Alice drew water from a well to do the family's laundry.