Stella Munoz was one of five daughters of Beatrice and Eduardo Munoz, who migrated to northern Mexico from Barcelona after the Spanish-American War along with their seven children. The marriage disintegrated shortly after their arrival and Beatrice somehow made ends meet until the children reached their teens. John and Pete acquired a reputation on the streets of Laredo as knife fighters and hard cases. They eventually made enough connections to make their way to San Antonio, sending for their sisters in time. Most people managed to steer clear of the Munoz Brothers and were very cautious when courting the sisters. Teodulfo met up with Stella and, after a traditional courtship, the couple grew impatient and eloped to Austin.
When the smoke cleared, the Dizons returned to San Antonio and bought a frame house at 116 Can’t Stop (the street name was listed in Ripley’s Believe it or Not during the 20’s). Stella gave birth to four sons, Teodulfo Jr., Manuel, Daniel and Frederick. Manny was about nine years old when the Depression hit. Stella’s sister Beatrice, her husband Gilbert Perez and their nine children moved in next door, and Grandpa often found himself the only breadwinner among two households of seventeen people. I’m pretty sure his American dream darkened at times as he relied on a bicycle to make it five miles to work at Fort Sam Houston. Still, no one went hungry though things got pretty dire at the Munoz home from time to time, as my cousins would tell me over a half-century later.
Unfortunately there’s not a lot of background that was made available to me on John Sanders, a strapping, two-fisted cattle man who carved out a 100-acre ranch in the wilds of an extinct town called Bangs, Texas. He began wooing a local girl named Nora Brooks, whose father was one of the original settlers of the town. Nora, by all accounts, was a lovely, petite woman who stood a shade above five feet tall. They got married, built their home and raised a family on the Sanders Ranch. Try as he might, Big John gave up trying to have a son after seven daughters. The eldest daughters, Elizabeth and Dora, died of illness in the wilderness community. Three of the survivors, Brooks, Frank and Jim, were named thusly by a frustrated man desperately wishing for a male child. Marge and Marian, my Mom, lucked out.
(To be continued...)