The Muñoz-Mazpulez Saga 3: Juarez & 320 Tobin Place

From about 1942 (date to be confirmed) until the summer of 1953 the Muñoz Mazpulez family lived in a big house at 320 Tobin Place in El Paso, Texas. This was one of two big, two-story houses on that street. (The other house belonged to the Sernas family.) The houses were similar in size and architecture, constructed of cement blocks that mimicked cut stone. Both houses were apparently built by the same builder and had large porches across the front and tin roofs (but not that corrugated tin stuff, classy tin) , which may still be there. The Muñoz house sat on the middle of three (count ’em, three) lots. Across “El Callejon” between the Muñozes and the Sernas lived the Gonzalezes, in a one story house. Behind the northernmost of the three Muñoz lots lived the Terrazas family, with the infamous boyfriend, Sergio. Ours was an ideal house for a young family with, ultimately, seven lively children. Mother Julia’s parents lived in their own adobe abode across the Rio Grande in Juarez, Mexico and, on Sundays, the family paid visits to that home. In this installment of the saga we highlight pictures of visits to that house in Mexico and pictures taken at the Tobin Place house while the Muñoz children were young.

The JUAREZ PICTURES

The pictures in this group were taken at various times at the home of the Muñoz children’s maternal grandparents in Juarez, Mexico. There the grandparents owned a sprawling adobe home on a large plot of land, almost an entire city block. Behind the house was a genuine walled courtyard in which at one time, in the early days, livestock was kept. Don’t let the adobe part mislead you, the home was substantial, with thick walls and those beautiful windows that are set into the wide walls such that you can easily sit on the window ledge and look out and wish you were somewhere else. It was a weekly ritual back in those idyllic days for the Muñoz children to be hustled into the family car (at first a 1937 Chrysler, later a 1941 Plymouth) and be delivered to this big house where the children were left to run free while the grownups sat at a large table, drank a strong coffee with thick milk (cafe con leche) and chatted for hours. There grandpa -with his thick mustache- and grandma -with her old fashioned clothes covering every square inch of her body- spent many quiet Sunday afternoons visiting with their wonderful daughter from El Paso, Julia, and her brood. Actually, the brood was summarily dispatched to go outside and entertain themselves while the grownups visited. At the end of the day the children were hustled back into the family car for the return trip to El Paso. The younger children would doze off on the return trip and have to be awakened to scurry out of the car and into their warm house in the dark. But on occasion, before the return trip, a camera was brought out and pictures like those below, were snapped in Juarez.

Mando In the Garden

Armando in the garden of the Mazpulez compound in Juarez in 1947
Armando in the garden of the Mazpulez compound in Juarez in 1947
Yes, Later

Armando, the photogenic, outside the Mazpulez porch in Juarez, Mexico. Approximately age 2 or 3 so maybe 1949 or 1950. Someone dressed him well. In the background are Alejandra Hervella and Mando’s Grandma Maria and (probably) sister Grace.

Greatgrandparents

Yes, Later
Maria and Higinio hold their 7 month old greatgranddaugher Consuelo Hervella in 1950. Sadly, the baby girl, daughter of Jaime and Alejandra, died in infancy.

Mando and Others

yes later
Seen here in Juarez, Mexico on a visit from El Paso to their grandparents' compound- Richi, Mando and Kiki Muñoz- who grew up to found the Atascadero Speed Emporium. This picture was taken in 1951.
yes it will
Mando with Julia, his mom, Maria de las Nieves, his grandma, and Alejandra Hervella in 1951.
The Seven Siblings & Alejandraok
The Fun Bunch- Herminia (aka Mimi), Yvonne, Henry, Rick, Grace, Cori and Mando with (behind Rick & Grace) Alejandra Hervella, wife of Jaime, the Bunch's cousin. Picture was taken in Juarez in 1951.
do it
Richi, Mando and Grace climb the front fence of the Mazpulez compound in 1952.

320 TOBIN PLACE- What a Wonderful Place to be a Child

The Muñoz family lived in a big old house on three large lots on Tobin Place from about 1942 until the summer of 1953. Over those eleven years there were occasional photo shoots. Below, in those photos that came into Mando’s hands and which he has generously shared with us, we see glimpses of the children’s idyllic life in that house. We begin with the oldest photo available, which is of the back of the house.

Cinco Niños y los Espantos?

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In 1945, before Mando was born and while Corina was but a wee baby, still in her crib, the other five Muñoz kids were photographed sitting on the back steps of the house. From the left they appear to be Henry, Grace, Yvonne, Tootsie and Rick. As to the ethereal subsatnce that appears to be floating past the house, across the porch, that has to be clouds of happiness and joy wafting by, in my opinion. The door to the left of Henry leads to the basement. The walled fortress above that door accommodates what we called the breakfast room.
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It looks like the five children are still sitting there. (1945)
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Front steps: Rick, Mando, Henry 1948
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1948, Rick, Mando, Corina and Grace on the south lot which lay between the house and the Franklin Canal.
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1948, Corina and Mando at the back steps.
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1948, Mando in all his splendor, probably his 2nd birthday. The house's back porch is behind him.
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The south 40 again with Mando and a stuffed animal. The family sedan, a 1937 Chrysler with a missing grille, is parked by a tree. The horizontal window is in a cove beneath the landing of the grand staircase that swept from the living room to the second story. The other two windows are in the kitchen and breakfast room.
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The Chrysler has mysteriously vanished but Mando and his stuffed animal remain to enjoy the spacious plateau. There were several fruit trees on the property.
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Grace’s Confirmation 1948
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At the evergreen in the front yard, Mando signals a turn while brother Henry tackles the tree. 1950
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Mando on his trike in 1950
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Beginning with Mando in his pedal car, then clockwise it's Rick, Henry (holding toy car), Grace, Corina and Yvonne. It must have been Tootsie that took the picture. The picture was posed by the wooden ferris wheel that the kids built by themselves out of 2x4s and pipes. It worked! 1950
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A very young Mando with his four rubber duckies. That kid had it made.
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mando in 1951 at the base of the wooden ferris wheel. 1951
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Henry, 12 years old in 1951 in the front yard.
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Yvonne in graduation garb with Higinio Mazpulez in 1951. grace 8is seen between them.
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The Atascadero Speed Emporium founders- Henry, Mando & Rick- using their negotiating and arbitration skills to settle a disagreement. 1951
Grace
Grace in the south 40 flower field in 1951.
Mando
Six year old Mando celebrates his birthday in 1952
M Man
Marlon Brando- erhh- Mando Muñoz, on March 23, 1952
M Man & H Man
October 1952- Mando & Henry by reflection pool, location unknown.
Y & C
April 5, 1953 sees Yvonne & Corina on the front steps at Tobin Place.
G & C
The girls had class and style. Here Grace & Corina strut their stuff. Gotta be April 1953 again, no?
HerminiaToots
Toots in April of 1952
kitchen
Older sister (Herminia?) makes sure hungry toddler Mando gets something to eat in the kitchen. Meanwhile, Henry enjoys breakfast in the breakfast room. 1953
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Mando's confirmation at Father Yermo Church which was directly across the street from the family residence.. 1951.
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This is Mando dressed up in his Sunday-go-to-meeting outfit. May well have been his confirmation. 1953
Mando’s Confirmationgroup
Mando, Cori, Rick, Grace, Herminia, Yvonne, Henry 1953
yes
Mando with Corina.  Mando’s confirmation 1953.
groupPicture name says 1953. Looks like Corina’s confirmation. Back row: Henry, Herminia, Yvonne, Grace. Front row: Rick, Corina, Mando.
fight
Mando expresses his disappointment and disagreement with another of Rick's stupid suggestions. 1953