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Kenneth Ray Young on: Life out West
Kenneth Ray Young YOUNG: Well, for some of them, it would have been a place where the captain, who was the commander, would have been living in a two room base-like stucco, or adobe house, with limited windows. That means no inside kitchen, no inside plumbing. You had to go down to the Rio Grande, which was a mile away, to get water. I mean, can you visualize trying to wash clothes in that type of situation or even cook food? And of course, the desert can be beautiful certain times of the year, probably from December to about April.

But I can just visualize July and August and September out there in the New Mexican desert, I mean it just must have been unbearable. Pinky periodically, of course, would take off and go back east, but at the same time, the fact that she was willing to stay with her husband is one of the things that gains my admiration for the woman. I don't think that there would have been many women who would have lived in those conditions -- aristocratic women -- that would have lived in those conditions. And that Fort Selden was particularly isolated, probably the most isolated, army post in the western frontier. And of course, at that fort, because it was so small, only one company of men -- about 100 men, it's unlikely that she ever had any women to socialize with. Because of the officers and the ranking of society, she couldn't have gone in and socialized with, say, the sergeant's wife. She would have had to have another officer's wife there. And I would assume that there had been many a day when she was just bored out of her mind. I mean, the captain had something to do. The boys had something to do. They could go out and play and learn how to ride and shoot and chase rabbits and things like that. But what she did all day long, I don't know, cooked and cleaned, I would have thought. But still, no one to talk to, and those living conditions, that was a harsh life. Very harsh.

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