by Marta Reents
Hilde or Hildred Grace Vogel, was born in El Centro, California on the May 14, 1914. She lived in Holtville, Imperial County, California, all of her childhood. She and her mother, Martha, had a small farm there. Her father had deserted her mother before she was born. It was hot—and no air conditioning then. She had to bring water from the nearby canal. After 1930 Hildred moved to Los Angeles where she attended UCLA and majored in art. She received her Bachelor of Arts around 1938. She met my father, Henry Reents, at a German American club. They married in 1939. I was born in 1942. Henry was in the army for World War II and the family moved to South Carolina in 1943. Upon their return to California, Hildred became a well-known ceramist in the San Gabriel area. She specialized in figurines and animals such as quail, various birds and bunnies. She was divorced from Henry about 1946. In 1951 Hildred and I moved to Padua Hills, California where an art colony had formed. Hildred continued her ceramics business and taught ceramics at a local community college.
She moved to Mexico in the mid to late sixties. I don’t know what brought Hildred to Alamos but I know she traveled with a neighbor, Virginia Cole, when she first came. Edith Pratt knows when they came and that they stayed in the Tesoros.
Hildred rented houses at first, then built a wonderful house at #31 Galeana Street. In 1971 Hildred married Gustavo Aragon. Hilde and Gustavo raised goats and Hilde made yoghurt. I remember drinking the goats’ milk from the freezer. She also had several birds in a large cage. She had a beautiful garden there.
While living at the Galeana house, Hilde and Gustavo began a real estate business. They sold homes to Americans, including Carrol O’Connor and the Windermans.
Hildred was one of the founders with Elizabeth Nuzum, Teri Hale, Stephanie Meyer, and Joan Winderman of the Las Comadres group, which helps with food and assistance to families in need in Alamos.
Several years later Hildred bought some property in the Aurora neighborhood near the airport. She built a small casita and planted many crops there. After selling the Galeana house Hildred moved to her little ranch house.
Hildred was active in the Garden Club and had meetings at her ranch where she showed her beautiful garden. I have seen photos of the flowers she had. She also had raised beds where she grew all her own vegetables. Her pride and joy was her rose garden. The house was small but she added a bedroom and another casita on the far corner of the property. Hildred’s dream was to have retreats there and she had meditation groups on Sundays in her “meditation circle.” Afterwards she served pancakes for all, along with good conversation. I know she had one successful retreat there with friends.
Hilde traveled to India for many years to an Ashram run by Sai Baba. She was very devoted to his teachings and participated in the group meetings in Arizona.
In 1995 Hildred moved to Green Valley, AZ, a retirement community. She lived in Alamos in the winter and in Green Valley in the summer. I brought her to Alamos on short visits until she could no longer travel due to a stroke. She died June 13, 2007 in Tucson, Arizona, at the home of her caregiver. She was 93.
I now own the casita near the airport and visit there whenever I can.