Ralph M. Flores
Ralph was born in L.A. on May 19, 1940, grew up in Phoenix, attended Arizona State, dropped out just before graduating and went to Mexico, served in the Army in Turkey 1962-1965, returned to ASU to finish his undergraduate degree, then received his MA in English from ASU in 1966 and married his first wife, Dianne Layden. Ralph attended UC-Berkeley for a semester, then, with Dianne, taught at University of Guam 1967-1969, and returned to the States to pursue his doctorate in English at UNM, switching to American Studies before dropping out, divorcing, and moving to La Joya, NM, the site of Tales from La Perla: A Misspent Hippie Youth. A few years later, with some folks from La Joya and Contreras, NM he moved to Silver City where he met Betty Mishuk and Daniel Boone and with them, Jon Jecker, and others opened the New Moon Café and lived in Arenas Valley on acreage reclaimed from a junkyard and bordering an arroyo.
I met Ralph in 1969 and saw him from time to time during his drop-out years, but it wasn’t until ten years later, when I was living in Los Chavez with my son Gabe Richard from my previous marriage, that Ralph and I got together at a wedding party in Albuquerque. Ralph and I married in 1980, and together had two children, Elena and Adam, raised in the old Huning House in Los Lunas. Ralph and I taught part-time, at first at UNM-Valencia while our kids were little, and later full-time in English and Cultural Studies at CNM in Albuquerque, moving to our adobe home on the Tomé Ditch in 1999. In 2004, UNM Press published Ralph’s book The Horse in the Kitchen: Stories of a Mexican American Family, which won the American Book Award the following year. Ralph retired in 2006 and continued writing and tending our garden despite a cancer diagnosis and surgery in 2013. He died of complications from that surgery but free of cancer four years later on June 4, 2017.
I was married to Ralph for close to 37 years up to his death. I’m working to make the manuscripts he left behind available. With degrees in English—BA from Bucknell, MA from Tufts, and PhD from UNM—I taught English Composition and Literature for many years at colleges in the Rio Grande valley, most recently, at CNM with Ralph until I retired in 2009. I live in Tomé, NM, and our kids are grown and married, some with children of their own and all living not too far away. Grandchildren are Dominic and Mari Richard and Bruce and Mando Flores.