By Gary Collins
Pine Bluffs Post 

Her roots run deep in Pine Bluffs

 

Gary Collins/Pine Bluffs Post

Pine Bluffs resident Becky Martinez is a native of the town and her family has lived here for three generations.

One of the 3000 babies delivered by "Doc" Morris in the Pine Bluffs area was Becky Martinez, who came into the world at the home of her grandparents May 30, 1950.

Legally she is named Jennie Elizabeth Martinez, nee Redden. However, according to Martinez only the Farmers State Bank knows her as Jennie. Everybody else calls her Becky.

"My dad said, 'I don't care what you name her . . .I'm calling her Becky,' and I've been Becky all of my life," Martinez said.

When Martinez was six or seven-years-old, Jack Redden and family traveled around, said Martinez. Her father worked for a time as a dry cleaner in Chadron, Neb. and then ran a cafe in Yuma, Colo. The family returned to Pine Bluffs in late 1956.

Martinez is a third generation citizen of Pine Bluffs. Her grandparents moved to Pine Bluffs in the early 1940s from Nebraska.

Her grandfather was born in Chadron, Neb. His family later moved to Omaha where his parents developed pulmonary tuberculosis, of which they both died, the father preceding the mother. Redden was taken in and raised by his aunt in Valentine, Neb.


While attending school in Chadron, Redden met Celia Olsen and the two were soon married. They eventually moved to a town that is no longer on any map.

"Before they lived in a town that doesn't exist anymore in Nebraska, called Flower Field,' Martinez said.

The one room school house that used to be there is now a granary. However, Martinez was able to see the school house before it was torn down.

"My dad pointed it out to me when we went to deliver propane out on the farm that used to be Flower Field," Martinez said.

When her grandparents moved to Pine Bluffs, they first lived in an old sod and wooden house just on the road to Albin. When the owner tore down the house to make way for cultivatable land, her grandparents moved in to The Hotel on Main St. and lived there until 1950 when they moved into the house in which Martinez was born.

"My uncles built the house for my grandparents on 5th and Lawson," Martinez said.

Her uncle Albert served in World War II and then re-enlisted to fight in the Korean War. His brother Leon joined up as well, though saw his service with the Marines.

Prior to her father's death from cancer in 1986, the family owned and ran Pete's Service station on the Lincoln Highway. William Harrison and Pete Carlstrom were the pair that first opened the shop.

"Bill and Pete started it, then . . .Pete bought him out and Pete and his wife Alva ran it for a long time. After Pete died, Alva hired mom and dad to come in to run it and then they made arrangements to buy it," Martinez said. "There's only two people to own it, the Carlstroms and the Reddens that owned Pete's Service"


During the time of their ownership, her family opened up CJ's Carwash.

"My little brother from California came out to set out the books and showed them how to run it," Martinez said.

They ran the station for 15 years.

Their service station was broken into one weekend. That Monday, her mother did not open up the shop and the following day her father passed away. Her mother passed in 1999.

Martinez grew up in a family of seven children. Of those, only Martinez and her brother Andy, who is Pine Bluffs garbage collector, remain in town.

After graduating from Pine Bluffs High School in 1969, Martinez attended the Vocational School of Practical nursing in Laramie. She graduated as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). While she worked as an LPN, she was forced to take work as a cook when she couldn't find a job in her profession. At one point she opened a little charity on Main St, in a building that previously held a saddle shop and before that was the laundromat.

"I started a free store there called The Store Help Incorporated . . .and anybody that needed something could come in and get it," Martinez said. "I also had commodities come in periodically . . .you could come in and get cheese, powdered milk. It got too much for me and so I turned it over to Norma Jean Anderson."

She married Stevey D. Martinez in 1975. Her husband passed away at the age of 53 in 2006.

Her son, Ronald, is currently one of the head cooks at the Cafe 307. He also used to work at the Rock Ranch. However, working the two jobs left him little time for family.

"He has a family and he wasn't getting to see the kids, because you have evening sports for high school," Martinez said.

Her three grandchildren, her three Ks as she calls them, are Kaitlen Qwin, 11, Kashten, 12, and Korben, 16 and a sophomore in high school.

Growing up in Pine Bluffs, Martinez has seen the many changes.

"The town is totally different," Martinez said.

She recalled that movies at the old Pastime Theater on Main St., which burned down December 15, 2003, cost a quarter when she was in high school.

"My first date there cost us 75 cents," Martinez said.

In those days, the balcony of the theater was the place that young couples went to enjoy each others company. This posed a problem on her first date.

"He was shorter than I was and they wouldn't let him back up in the balcony after he came down to get popcorn. So I had to come down, because he didn't look like he was old enough to be upstairs. They and had an age limit." Martinez said.

These days, Martinez serves as president of the board of the Texas Trails Museum, though by default. The previous president stepped down because he moved out of town. She states that she was happier as vice-president.

 

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