Category Archives: Memories

A Memory of Jerry Lee

From Steve McGoffin–

“Mr Lee” is what I called him for 30 years due to my profound respect for him.  I was probably 40 yrs old before I addressed him as Jerry.  I was 11 yrs old (55 yrs ago) when I met him in my first 5th grade PE class. He coached me in flag football, basketball, & track.

 My favorite sport was track even though I was much better at wrestling. I was on one of his state championship track teams in 1966.  Mr Lee made sports fun!  Everyone loved competing for him! He was low key and low pressure but he still got people to perform.  I’ve thought about why he was so successful with kids.  In my opinion it was his”loving kindness” that everyone responded to.  I never had another coach that loved his kids like Jerry P. Lee. He was a great influence on me concerning how to treat other people and especially kids. I can’t think of a better candidate to honor by naming the Jerry P. Lee Athletics Complex.

PS. I can remember being disappointed that he missed coaching one of our games because he had to attend the birth of his first child (Gary). I don’t think he missed any after that.

Memories of Benson: Tamales

One in a series

By George Potter

In summer, when the corn began ripen my mom and aunts would buy elotes, ears of ripe corn, to make tamales de elote, green corn tamales.  We went to Pomerene or St. David to buy the corn in large gunny sacks. My Tia Rachel had a hand grinder and all of us cousins would have to take turns turning the crank to grind up the corn kernels which had been stripped off the cobs by the women. That is how the masa, the dough, was made. Tamale making was a long process and many were made at one time. My favorite were the green tamales de elote. They were flat and besides the masa had only cheese and green chile in them.

Of course we made red chile, meat tamales also. They were always served after midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. We would go to farms and pick green and red chiles and fill many gunny sacks for salsa and tamales.

Memories of Benson: White Rock

One in a series

By Bill Guerra (

Roaming and exploring Benson and the surrounding countryside was a major preoccupation of our young lives. Like everyone, our experiences grew in much the same manner as our maturing personalities. As youngsters our adventures were mostly confined to immediate surroundings or to places and diversions we could reach on foot or to which older folks might take us. By the time we were pre-teens, thanks to the increased mobility and range provided by our bicycles, our greater world had shrunk just a little; now, the entire town and immediate vicinity were easily in reach. But it was as teenagers — and thanks to the cars we drove — that we were really set free!

Since television had not yet made its debut — at least, not (significantly) in Benson — our explorations led to many local discoveries and fun-filled excursions. The wash just behind the High School, in our jargon, was known as Cave Village. And just beyond that was the universally known landmark of White Rock.   I recall once exploring the White Rock area with my brother Bob and our older cousin Jack Comaduran. We came across a wild bee’s nest constructed by its inhabitants in one of the small crevices below White Rock’s summit. Jack, armed with his single=shot .22 rifle, decided it would be interesting to send a round through the exposed comb. Amazingly, the single bullet sent the entire works crashing to the ground — and also turned the bees’ focus to the three interlopers who were the apparent cause of their engineering disaster. With the offended inhabitants in hot pursuit, we all three ran yelling and screaming down the hillside while simultaneously trying to swat the bees away from our heads and exposed skin! Lesson learned; don’t mess with wild bees!

(Years later, along with Joe Hayes and Gailen Allwood, we had a similar experience at the town dump, except this time it was a cave full of bats we flushed from one of the many earthen caves excavated into the arroyos that fed the San Pedro. Wow! We were totally engulfed by a cloud of these tiny flapping creatures; we madly attempted to beat them away as they unintentionally ran into us while trying to make their escape!)

For Coach Jack Wilson and his boys’ PE classes, White Rock was also the turnaround point for some of our daily workouts. The objective was to simply run across the valley floor, clamber up the slope to the peak, touch the rock and then turn around and run back. Coach Wilson, meanwhile, well positioned at the top of the bleachers, and squinting in the bright sunlight through hand-shaded eyes, checked off the runners as they ascended to the peak.

Memories of Benson: Perry’s Pond

One in a series

By George Potter

When we were in about the 6th or 7th grade we often went to Perry Trian’s ranch about a couple miles from town — me, Bobby Caballero, Conrad Caballero, Joey Cota, all cousins — and others as well. We would mainly fish, but also we built a small raft of wood planks by tying them together, that we’d take turns with in the pond.  We caught mostly perch, using baloney as bait, but if we kept real quiet or left our lines in the water for a while, we might get lucky and catch catfish.  We always took our sack lunch and made a day of it.

This pond had lots of cat tails and reeds so was best for fishing. A hundred yards away was another pond — maybe a tank to water the cattle — that we swam in. A few times we picked out one of the smallest calves, got it in a head lock and mounted it to ride it like a rodeo bronco.

The ground was soft when we fell off.

There was an artesian well on the ranch that flowed water continuously. It produced the best tasting water and at just the right temperature. Adjacent to it grew wild a type of green vegetable that we ate. In Spanish it’s called berroJ.  In English it’s water cress.

Perry was an old codger and would show up once in a while. He was mean. His wife was Bobby and my first grade teacher in Pomerene. She was old and petite and genteel; he was old and rough and gruff.

One night we attempted to sleep there out at the pond. We told lorona stories, and I could swear we saw her lurking in the mesquite trees that were faintly lit by the fire we built.

Late that night, we’d had enough. We got on our bikes and headed for home without lights-or maybe a hand held flash light. We went weaving all over the pavement, as there was no traffic, but after a mile or so a cop came by and told us to stay to the right side of road. We ended up at Larry and Emilio’s house. (They lived by themselves at a young age for the summer, or maybe it was just for a few weeks.) We spent the rest of the night there.