Virginia Tellez Wayne

Virginia Tellez Wayne is the oldest of 14 children.  She was born in 1919 in a tiny mining town near Gallup called Mentmore. Times were very tough. When her father was injured in a mining accident, someone had to support the family, and as the eldest, it became Virginia’s responsibility.  She started off working at the Harvey House, El Navajo during World War II.  After a brief stint making beds, she became a full fledged Harvey Girl serving troop trains, tourists and movie stars who were often filming things in the picturesque red rocks near Gallup.   Virginia has many fond memories of her time at El Navajo including receiving mail from soldiers after they left the Harvey House, flirting with movie stars and of her co-workers  including Mary “Toki” Montoya a half Japanese, half Mexican Harvey Girl, who was her friend. In later decades, Virginia worked at El Rancho and then at The Shalimar along Route 66.  The motel and restaurant was built in a mid-century modern style and was very “Hollywood”.  It sat on top of a hill, so Virginia walked to work every day from Gallup, leaving her house at 4 in the morning so that she could arrive in time for the breakfast shift.  For almost 40 years, Virginia supported her family, including her five boys, as a waitress!

See Virginia’s interview:

 

 

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