MARTHA GABALDON BROWN GARDNER - 1940-
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Orson Pratt Brown and Angela Gabaldón Brown's Daughter:
Marta (known as Martha) Gabaldon Brown was born on July 29, 1940, the fifteenth birthday of her cousin/brother Aaron Saul Brown. Marta Gabaldon was born to Angela Gabaldon's brother, Rafael Gabaldon and his wife, Guadalupe Mendoz Carmona while living in Ciudad Jimenez, Chihuahua, Mexico.Marta lived with O.P. Brown and Angela Gabaldon Brown from a young age, around 1942 or 1943, and is considered a daughter. Below is a 1945 photo of Orson's 82nd Birthday with his wife Angela and his mother-in-law, Maria Uribes de Holguin, and his six children including Martha as the youngest.
About five years after Angela Brown had lost her baby Heber at birth in February of 1936, she went to visit her brother Rafael Gabaldon who lived in Ciudad Jimenez, Chihuahua, Mexico. As she entered his home, she heard a baby cry. She asked him if they had a new baby and he replied that they had a new little girl they named “Marta.” That baby had a special cry, which had touched Angela’s heart. She didn’t know what the baby looked like, she only knew that she wanted to raise that baby since she had lost her own, and her husband Orson Brown was up in years. She would be left a young widow, since her other children were grown up. The youngest, Mary was 13 years old when I was born. We have always been very close.
From what I understand it took about two years to convince my real mother, Guadalupe, to have me come and live with the Brown family. My parents brought me with the understanding that I would always know that they were my real parents. Angela was so happy to be able to raise that little girl that she gave me all her love and her children all loved me as their Little Sister. Grandmother Maria, Angela’s mother, was living with her at that time since I was her only son’s child. I was the apple of her eye. I remember her saying to me, “now my dear don’t ever forget that Rafael and Guadalupe are your real parents, but this is your mother who is raising you.” Giving up a child was not easy on my real mother. She later told me that she became ill when she had me go and live with them. Rafael loved his sister and knew she needed me, but he also thought that I would have a better life living with the Brown family. At that time the man of the house ruled and the woman usually obeyed. But I know without any doubt that it was part of my Heavenly Father’s plan, so that I would have the gospel in my life.
I used to lead Daddy Brown by his hand to go and visit his friends in Colonia Dublan. By then he had poor eyesight. I was five and half years old when he passed away on March 10, 1946. I was baptized by Brother Walser when I was nine years old. After Daddy Brown passed away, mother, Grandmother Maria, and I were left alone in Colonia Dublan since the rest of the kids had grown up and moved away, most of them to the United States. They were worried about us so Gustavo saw that Aron would bring us to the States, to El Paso, Texas. Mother had a passport, but grandmother and I didn’t. We were brought in through the Paloma Entry at night after which Aron immediately got our papers fixed so he could enroll me in school. I attended Hillside and Burges High.
Grandmother would worry that she would die here in the States. She had her burial clothes consisting of a San Franciscano robe, since she was Catholic. She would show it to me often and would tell me how she was to wear it and how to put all the accessories on. She was so worried that she would be buried as a “Mormon.” She never joined the church. Daddy Brown had a real good relationship with her and would tease her by saying, “Puede uno llevar el caballo a tomar agua, pero no lo puede hacer tomar,” which means, “you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.” She would just laugh and say, “that’s right Don Silvestre.” After we moved to El Paso, Grandmother Maria decided to go to Ciudad Jiménez where she died on September 10, 1955.
Mother was very lonely because we were all busy with our own lives and activities. I would go with her to Juárez Mexico, which was across the border, where we would ride the streetcar and go the market to listen to Mariachis sing. We would also eat and drink sodas.
When I turned twenty-one, Pauly, my brother influenced me into going on a mission. Mother didn’t want to let me go; therefore she went to visit my sister Bertha in Detroit, Michigan. I went ahead preparing to go and serve my mission. The Apostle Hinckley who is now our Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley today, went to El Paso in interview the young men from our Stake that were prepared to go on a mission, and myself being the only girl. When he interviewed me, he looked at me straight in my eyes and asked me why I wanted to go on a mission? He told me that a mission is very hard and not a place to go and have fun etc. I was so hurt that he would think that. I was crying when Brother Scofield, an elderly brother saw me and he asked me “why are you crying Little Martha” (that’s what they used to call me). He took me to the chapel where he put his arm around me until I settled down.
Meanwhile, Mother Brown was trying to avoid giving me permission and her blessing to go. One evening when she had gone with Bertha to MIA, the Young Women’s Program, they got home late. She was tired and wanted a drink of water but instead of going to the kitchen, she opened the door that led to the basement, lost her balance, and rolled down the stairs to the bottom. As she rolled down she kept hearing a voice saying, “let Martha go and serve me on a mission.” She related this in her testimony at the Spanish Ward, which she attended in El Paso. My brother-in-law, Ronnie, called the ambulance, she was checked but she had only twisted one ankle!! The following day she left and returned to El Paso to see that I would continue with my plans to go on my mission. She supported and wrote to me faithfully. Her letters were always so encouraging. I remember getting one that said “Good Morning Mi Martha.” I served an honorable two-year mission at the Mexican Mission. This Mission was later divided and I served in the South East Mexican Mission.
Mother was a good example to me on having charity in her heart. She was always helping the less fortunate. She would gather clothes, toys, and whatever others didn’t need, until she had enough. She would then have me take her to Juárez, Mexico to the poor neighborhoods. She would look around and stop people that seemed to be in need and then give them a bag full of the gifts she had collected. She would then have me drive somewhere else and do the same. When she passed away, someone heard on the Spanish station, on the radio, that Angela Brown had passed away, which was a loss to the poor people in Juárez. I remember when we lived in Colonia Dublán, she would feed the Taraumara Indians that came from the mountains to sell their goods. They would stop at the house and she would give them brooms and other goods and made sure they ate something.
I met Alan Gardner in February 1964, two months after I got home from my mission. He had been home a few months after serving his mission in Brazil and had joined the Army. He was stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas. We got married on September 4th 1964 in the Mesa temple and had three children, Thomas Stuart Gardner (b. May 29, 1965) being the oldest, Angela Marie Gardner (b. August 21, 1968), and Alene Gardner ( b. November 19, 1972) . I had told mother that if I had a girl I was going to name her Angela after her, she smiled and said, “Oh, you don’t want to name her Angela, that’s not a pretty name” but I know that she met her on the other side. Thomas served in the Army in the 82nd Air Borne Forces and is now in Phoenix, Arizona going to school. Angela Marie served a mission in Paraguay, South America. She is married to Jeffery Buchanan and they have two beautiful children, Rhys Howard Buchanan and Peyton Alene Buchanan. Alene, our other daughter served her mission in the Detroit, Michigan Mission and is now a Dental Assistant for a Dentist in Phoenix, Arizona.
We were married for three months when Alan was transferred to Germany for two years. I stayed in El Paso, Texas in an apartment and continued to work at an exclusive Apparel Shop through my eighth month on my pregnancy. I was not able to join Alan in Germany. When he finished his tour and returned home, our son was one year and six months old. We moved to Yuma, Arizona where his parents and family lived. During the time Alan was gone, I would come and visit his family, who were always going somewhere to visit relatives and they would take Tommy and me with them. I was treated as if I was their own daughter coming home to visit. Alan was the oldest of nine children, so the younger kids treated me like a sister. As they got older, when they would bring their girlfriends to meet their parents, they would tell them that I had to check them over first and give the approval. I later found out that the poor girls were very nervous coming over to meet me! Ha! Of course it was because there was a special bond between Alan’s siblings and me. When we moved to Yuma, we rented a small house where Joan, my sister-in-law, and her daughter, Penny, lived with us since her husband was oversea in the Arm Forces. Our children were born just a couple hours apart so they were considered “twin cousins.”
Mother came to visit us and stayed for a month, which was the longest time she had ever stayed anywhere visiting. We had a wonderful time together. I asked her to come again, but she said “No, I don’t think I will because I am ready to go and live with my brother Jesus Christ.” She had seen how we were now settled in our lives, all of her children were married, had their own lives, and she had fulfilled her mission as a Mother. About a month later in June 1967, she passed away in her sleep. Many times she had told me that she had asked to be taken away in her sleep because she didn’t want to burden anyone. I feel that her wishes were granted because she was a very righteous woman.
I was very blessed by having three mothers that gave me lots of love: My BIRTH MOTHER, that sacrificed herself by giving away her little girl for a better life; MOTHER BROWN, who loved me so much and gave me all she could; and my mother-in-law, VERDA GARDNER, who loved me as her own daughter for thirty-eight years. I have been greatly blessed! Most of all, I have been blessed to have had the opportunity of being a mother myself.
Having had the opportunity of being raised in the Brown family by my aunt and uncle, I was able to have the Gospel in my life at an early age, which helped me gain a strong testimony. I have been able to serve in different positions in the church throughout my life. I served in the Young Women’s organization, in Primary, in Relief Society, and as a Sunday School teacher. I was just released from being in charge of the Interpreting Department in our stake for nearly twenty years. The reason I mention this is because I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for all the blessings that I have received and for the love He has shown me, His Spiritual Daughter.
PAF - Archer Files = Orson Pratt Brown + Angela Gabaldon > Angela's brother is Rafael Gabaldon + Guadalupe Mendoza Carmona > Marta Gabaldon Brown Gardner
"Autobiography of Marta Gabaldon Carmona Brown Gardner" written around 2002.