Erlinda Montoya [sic] Celebrates 100th birthday
Saturday, 22 October 2011, La Vida, page 2
[not available on the Valencia County News-Bulletin web site]

Family and friends will be joining Erlinda Garley Moya in celebrating her 100th birthday on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

Her family said she has always been a strong, amazing woman, ready to stand up for her faith, her beliefs and her family. Erlinda is the second child and daughter born to Enriquez "Henry" Garley and Leocadia Martinez Garley in Peralta, a year before new Mexico became a state.

The family consisted of 10 sons and three daughters. She is very proud of the Garley name and says she always heard that her great-grandfather, Henrique Garley, came from Germany as a stowaway on a ship to Massachusetts.

There, he met Henry Connelly and when the New Mexico territory opened up for trade, they both came west and settled in Peralta.

Erlinda attended schools in Peralta and Belen. Her family said her "excellent" reading, math, spelling skills and penmanship have remained with her in both English and Spanish.

In February 1930, she married Castulo Chavez Moya. In 1961, they moved to Bosque Farms.

This union lasted 56 years and they had six children, Castulo Jr. (Anita), Arthur (Erlinda), Ramoncita, George (Vangie), Guadalupe (Gil) and Martin; 22 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.

Castulo Jr., Ramoncita, Arthur and George have passed away. Several grandchildren live in New Mexico, while others are in Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Nevada and Texas.

In 1915 or 1916, Erlinda remembers her father took her to his parent's nearby home one early Christmas morning. He tapped the kitchen window and called out "Christmas, Christmas." His mother said, "O, you beat me to Christmas."

Her grandmother gave her a small wrapped gift. It was only about two inches and she still remembers finding a folded 12 inch length of purple ribbon. Her mother weaved it into her braids. Erlinda was thrilled. Gifts were rare.

She also remembers how happy the entire family was when five brothers all returned from World War II. Asked if she would change anything about her life, she said, "No, I would keep everything the same."

Her favorite food? "Beans, but I've had enough of them," she said. Her grandson, Manny, often makes her pancakes, which she enjoys.

Erlinda has always enjoyed gardening, making jelly and jams, canning fruit, crocheting, making blankets for her children and grandchildren, baking biscochitos, pastelitos and empanaditas.

She's been known to shoot her .22 rifle with no problem.

From the age of 75 to 90, Erlinda has worked as a foster grandmother at the Los Lunas Training School and both Bosque Farms and Peralta elementary schools.

Many of those children, now adults, still come up to her and say hello to "Grandma Moya."

Her grandchildren named her pickup truck the "brown jet," and she drove it everywhere. She continues to be a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Peralta; is an honorary member of the Altar Society, the Legion of Mary and the Monday Blue Army Rosary Group.

She will celebrate her big day on Saturday, Oct. 22, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Hall in Peralta.