Vivian Ortega

Vivian Ortega, is a rare gem and it was my privilege to interview him about Calera.  Eighty two years old at the time I talked to him, raised at Brogado he had a great story about Calera. Brogado is about seven miles east of Calera .  Brogado is also an old community in Reeves County, Texas and deserves a website of its own.

The day I talked to Vivian he had made a replica of Mission Mary from memory because it had been years since he had visited the mission.  We talked about his work at the Country Club (not the traditional country club but a bar slash dancehall in early Brogado history), and his work at the Reeves County Water District which controls all the water coming out of San Solomon Springs.  In those early days the Water District  was in charge of digging graves at Balmorhea Cemetery, this was before machinery,  graves were dug by hand and the ground at Balmorhea Cemetery is rock and caliche. So grave digging was done by hand and in two shifts, this was in addition to the daily duties. They would dig all day and night so that the burial site would be ready by morning.  All this work for pennies a day. Vivian eventually retired from the water district, but remains active in the little shop behind his house. 

At seventeen years of age, uppermost in Vivian's mind was girls.  Brogado had a Church, but Vivian and friends preferred to attend mass at Mission Mary. His excuse was that the girls were prettier at Calera, so Vivian and friends would walk seven miles to mass. I mentioned that is was a total of fourteen miles round trip and Vivian just smiled and said, but they were pretty.