Nona's Story

By Kyle Marksteiner |  November 23, 2015

A nasty drought in the 1950s brought First Christian Church member Nona Robbins to Carlsbad, but it was a bad stomach ache on a Halloween night about a decade earlier that really set things in motion.
Nona, born in the small farming town of Elida, New Mexico (west of Portales), was working at the hospital in Portales that night. She was 18, and during her shift a man came into the facility complaining about a bad stomach ache and he ultimately needed an appendectomy.
Miles Robbins may have had his appendix removed by surgeons, but that’s also the day his day went to Nona. The couple married six weeks later.
“It wasn’t a long courtship,” laughed Nona. “I knew he was right.”
Both families farmed around the Portales area and raised feed for cattle, but an unrelenting drought meant it was time for a change. Nona and Miles moved to Corpus Christi when he found work there, and then came back to the Portales area.  Her older children attended a tiny schoolhouse in Floyd, another small town west of Portales.
Then in 1957, Miles found work at the Duval Sulpher & Potash Company east of Carlsbad. He moved here first and then came Nona, Nona Faye (age 9), Marshall (5) and Mary Ellen (2).
“We found a little house on Northeast First Street,” Nona recalled. “The house wasn’t big enough to back out of when you walked in. We did OK, until he went out and found acreage.”
The Robbins family eventually settled in on five acres off of Standpipe Road. Family members bought an old house in Texico (the town, not the gas station), wrecked-it out and used the materials to build the Carlsbad home.
Miles worked at the mines for many years, but ultimately left and spent the rest of his career working odd jobs. Nona was busy as a mother and homemaker, but she also worked from time to time.
“I went to work for an egg farm sorting eggs,” she shared. ”Sorting them by size.”
Her children all live fairly close or come back regularly. There are eight grandkids and a few great-grandkids, by Nona’s count.
Miles always dreamed about returning to farming, and the Robbins family even purchased a very large parcel of land northwest of Carlsbad.  He passed away in the 1990s, and Nona now lives in a home on 11th Street.
Her oldest daughter, Nona Faye, is now retired as well. She taught life skills and family living at the high school for many years. “Those kids would have to carry a bean bag around (teaching them to prepare for handling a child), and if they dropped it, they’d be in trouble,” Nona reflected. Nona Faye eventually went to work at Wal-Mart.
Marshall went to trade school in Denver and now works in the oil industry. Mary Ellen has a home in Oregon and a degree in teaching, and she really enjoys working with Head Start youth.
One grandson works for a flower company, and Nona likes to think that the farming legacy continues in his name, since he does his farming out of flower pots.
Nona began attending First Christian Church a few years after losing her husband. She didn’t like how her previous church’s district administration handled an employment issue, so she decided to find a new church. That’s when a friend recommended that they attend First Christian together.
“People were really friendly and nice and I really appreciated that,” she reflected. “I’ve made a lot of friends here.”