HV/Series/Episode/ Work by: Larry Massett
Hearing Voices from NPR®
142 Solidod: An Apache Original
Host: Larry Massett of Hearing Voices
Airs week of: 2012-09-26
“Solidod” (52:00 mp3):
The Life and Times of Solidod, the last remaining member of her village of Mescalero Apache who lived on the edge of Death Valley. HV editor Larry Massett helped our friend Solidad publish her new e-book, An Apache Original: The Life and Times of Solidod.
Larry composed and performed the piano music in this radio hour.
Solidod is in her 80s and tells about 300 years of her life stories in the book. Here’s an excerpt from Larry’s…
When I first met Solidod she was living alone in a tiny room in a rather depressing subsidized-income apartment complex in Florida. She herself was anything but depressing, though. A few minutes after we met she showed me the little knife she carries with her in her buckskin purse. “But Solidod,” I said, “that’s kind of a dangerous knife, isn’t it?” I said- meaning, dangerous for an 80-year woman. “Yeah, it’s sharp,” she laughed, “but it would be better if it was rusty. So the cut would get infected in case I stab somebody.”
Wow, tough lady. Tough, but also funny, curious, brimming with energy, and a world-class storyteller. As she told me about the adventures of her life I realized she’s been everywhere and done just about everything: horse-trainer, bodyguard, trans-Atlantic sailor, carpenter, gardener, artist, you name it. And she’s busy. She spends her days zipping around town selling the t-shirts she paints and the jewelry she makes, checking on old friends and chatting up new ones. Most people her age seem to be winding down; Solidod’s just getting started…
Several of Solidod’s paintings grace the book’s pages. The e-book is in Kindle format: Amazon make a free Kindle Reader for nearly every computer, tablet, smartphone, and web browser.
Here’s a few paragraphs from chapter one:
An Apache Original: The Life And Times Of Solidod
As the eagle soars high above the early dawn, he looks down on the barren boulders that surround most of the mesa. He spots a jackrabbit and a quail. Which way to go? Big is better, but quail is tastier. As he screams and dives on the quail an Indian man is coming out of his wickiup. That’s the original mobile home. It’s like a brush harbor only smaller. Sort of like a pup tent made out of brush.
The man walks to the edge of the mesa. It is sunrise. Going to be another one of Mother Nature’s beautiful days. He sprinkles pollen to the four winds and bows his head, thanking the spirits for all his blessings. He is thinking of his family. He wonders what they are going to do for food since the government did not come through- again.
When there is very little food the Apache do not have babies. The women do not flow in hard times. This baby coming is a big surprise because it will be the only one for many moons. It is his daughter’s baby. She has waited for four years for this. It will be soon now. Her father and her husband are very concerned.
The father watches the sky because he always does. He always gets up to meet the dawn. He blesses his life and the life of his family. He has a little pick at the back of his mind that tells him something is really not quite right…
Solidod did a lot of sailing. The chapter titles chart her travels:
- Loxahatchee, Florida
- Virginia Beach, Virginia
- San Salador
- Disney World
- St. Thomas Virgin Islands, and…
We had been under sail all the way so we didn’t realize that the batteries were dead. We didn’t know they were old and would not hold a charge. We came upon a mountain sticking up out of the ocean. No beach or nothing just a big-assed mountain. Of course as soon as it got between us and the wind we were done for. We dropped the sail and then we had no steering. We saw a cut in the mountain and a harbor there. We let her drift toward the cut, we were headed for that big-assed mountain so what are going to do? No wind, no batteries. So I said lets get the oars out of the lifeboat and use ’em to get to the dock. The captain said you can’t do that, you might puncture your ribs. Well, they might get punctured anyways so let’s try it. I got on the bow and the captain got on the stern. We paddled this yacht into the harbor. There was a little man waving us off, we kept coming, he kept waving, we kept coming, now he’s waving a gun. We’re trying to tell him our boat is broken. He’s yelling, we’re yelling, and don’t forget the gun. Them some guys came alongside in a launch and took our line and took us to another dock. The captain told them our batteries were dead. They said they would take them and get them charged. We thought we would never see them again, but what else could we do? They took them.
We went for a walk. Trying to get our land legs back. You know how they say you’d walk a mile for a camel, well, we walked about a mile and we saw a real camel. We also saw people living in caves. I saw a woman sweeping out in front of one. Birds were singing everywhere. There were all kinds of beautiful flowers. We got to the center of a park. They were having Cinco de Mayo, the Fifth of May. There was music, singing, and dancing. There were vendors with trinkets and food. I told the captain they must have know we were coming and were having a party for us.
We found out the next morning why the little man was so upset, there was an ocean liner berthed there. We would have been squashed to bits. We went over to thank him. He got all red in the face when we kidded him about his big gun.
The battery guys came back. One of them spoke English and he told the captain that the batteries were old and would not take a full charge. We got twelve new batteries. Six for now, six for backup.
The guys wanted to take us for a tour of their town. OK. Does everybody drive on the wrong side and go hell-bent for everywhere? We went whipping round the mountains up and round the hair-raising curves, with the guys laughing. And talking all the way. Then whipping down the mountain and round the hair-raising curves. The next morning they asked us if we would like to see the phenomenon. We said yes, so here we went whipping up the mountain again. We went till the road ran out and then we walked about a quarter of a mile. There was a small cottage. There was a kid sitting outside on a rock. The guys said to give the kid a little money, so we did. A little lady came out of the house and asked us to come in. This human being had a great big head, and one eye was on top of its head and its nose was where its ear ought to be. It made noises, it had a little bitty round mouth. It had a tiny body with a big head. The lady said it was twenty-five years old. She said they wanted to destroy it but she wouldn’t let them because it was God’s phenomenon. The captain couldn’t stand it so we went outside to wait. I didn’t want to look at it much but the guys were nice to us and they thought it was something special. I didn’t mind leaving there. Next the guys took us to see a lady who made goat cheese. She made us some coffee, she put some goat milk in it. UHH! I didn’t mind leaving there either.
When we got back down the mountain we met some more guys. They told our guides to bring us to their houses. In the islands the houses are built like terracing. They do not have streets, just steps and sidewalks. If you ask where so and so lives, he will say so many steps up and to the left or right at the red or blue door. We went seventeen steps up and to the green door. The house was spotless. They have an open-air patio inside the house. There was a young man there who wanted to play his guitar for us. He played and sang. It was beautiful. He wanted to go to America with us. The captain said no. We did not want to be responsible for anyone else.
Then they took us to a bar. We were ready to be back on the ground. When we went in the guys told the bartender it was all right for me to be there. We were Americans. The ladies there were not allowed in the bar. They had us trying all kinds of strange things to eat. One thing I remember was a thing like a shrimp. They ate them legs and all. When it came to the squid I said thanks but no thanks.
When we got the batteries back we took the guys for a day sail. They didn’t seem to know that a sailboat heels over when it is really up in the wind. They had brought us some of the food they eat and we were all on deck. The little guys puffed up like roosters when the captain let them take the helm. The boat heeled over and the food and the plates went flying around the deck. They looked at us like they didn’t know what was happening. Then they understood and we all had a good laugh. We cleaned up the mess. One of the guys was stuck on me. That’s what the captain said. I think he just wanted to go to America. He played a guitar and sang. The music had a strange sound to me. We did stay in the Canary Islands ten days. When we walked we saw a lot of big condos. On the balconies there were big canary cages. Every bird was trying to outsing the other one…
Photos of Solidod Woods by Jake Warga:
I can not remember when I have been touched by someone’s story this profoundly. Words can not do justice to begin to describe the depth and beauty of this woman. There are truly amazing spirits among us. Blessing upon blessing for Solidod.
What a blessing to hear these stories. Stunning that one woman has the capacity to withstand all that she endured, then emerge with such profound grace. She has much to share with each and all. Unforgettable and transcendent.
Solidad is a treasure. Thank you.
Thank you Solidod for your stories and gift to us. thank you Larry Massett for going to Solidod (her spirit must have called you) and listening to her stories and sharing them with us. I love the beautiful artwork. I will buy a copy of the book. While I heard your voice, I felt my own strong life force. love, Donna
Wow…what a story. I’m so sorry she was treated so badly. But I’m so impressed that she kept her fighting spirit and survived through it all. Thank you for sharing her story. I cried, I laughed, I hurt. God bless you, Solidod.
What an extraordinary story of an extraordinary life. Thank you so to much to Larry Massett and “Hearing Voices” for bringing this remarkable woman’s experiences to the radio and letting us know about her book. Her voice–written and spoken–is truly honest and brave and funny and very, very perceptive about the world she’s known. And, to Solidod Woods: your spirit is a blessing in this world. You are a tribute to storytellers everywhere. Thank you.
Thank you for this introduction to Solidod and her story of perseverance. Beautiful radio and will look for the book. What a meaningful life, as really, each of ours … Kudos
Solidod your story and fighting spirit is most uplifting. Thank you Larry Massett for guidance you have given my friend.
AMAZING!! I was so moved by Solidad’s stories. I wanted to reach through the radio and give her a hug. Not because I felt like she needed it but because I felt like I did!! Solidad you spirit is inspiring!!
Solidod, you are a national treasure. I feel like I know you and have known you for a long long time – bet many others have told you this. I think it is that you have suffered and are sensitive to the interior of others. Good journey.
Solidod my husband and I sat in silence as we drove mesmerized from Houston to Dallas listening to your story. I prayed and thanked our divine creator for helping us to understand why innocent and beautiful people like yourself suffer and for the assurance he has given that he will repair and remove all human pain and suffering in the near future.
So many people on this planet are suffering because of human hate and prejudice. Solidod you are an excellent example of the ability for humans to recover, survive and thrive from the depths of pain and misfortune.
Solidod my husband and I sat in silence as we drove mesmerized from Houston to Dallas listening to your story. I prayed and thanked our divine creator for helping us to understand why innocent and beautiful people like yourself suffer and for the assurance he has given that he will repair and remove all human pain and suffering in the near future. So many people on this planet are suffering because of human hate and prejudice. Solidod you are an excellent example of the ability for humans to recover, survive and thrive from the depths of pain and misfortune.
Query, why there is no picture of this remarkable woman on your web site?
Solidod’s story is a haunting yet compelling one of the resilience of her spirit. What she described so vividly after her husband’s murder were consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) yet after time ridng the bus & grieving, she found purpose & meaning in her life and she still continues to grow & thrive. Thank you for sharing your story of survival and self-redemption in the face of so many traumas & losses
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Solidod’s spirit burns so burns so bright and hot that her tribulations have been alchemized into gold, enriching all who hear her story.
Larry Massett and “Hearing Voices”… I thank you for this most wonderful presentation. I’ve met Solidod, she is an individual who Loves Life! She is an absolute realist and totally honest… she tells it just as she sees it. A delight to be around her because her school of hard knocks wisdom is evident immediately. Her book, “An Apache Original-The Life and Times of Solidod” is a most enlightening read!
I was moved, inspired and fascinated by this incredible woman, after hearing her story on the radio tonight. What spirit she posses, a true Native American hero. thank you NPR for bringing her life story to the forefront.
Awesome, moving and inspiring. Your story touched me so much. I thank you for sharing.
who is the piano music by?
Thanks for sharing your friend, Solidod. I read and thoroughly enjoyed her story. I highly recommend her book. I would love to read more and was sorry to reach the end!
Absolutely fascinating! I listen to it over and over and think how much my life would be changed if I were to be able to sit down and enjoy stories with Solidod.
I hope Solidod’s book will be made into an audible book and that she reads it. How wonderful to hear her voice telling her life story!
[…] Click on the link: Hearing Voices […]
Ellen, piano music by Larry Massett, also the radio piece’s producer and book editor. Forgot to mention that above, but it’s up there now.
Incredible! How she survived so much actually scares me. How could this have happened to anyone, or be permitted is beyond me. We are not worthy, please forgive. I was transported traveling from New Mexico through Arizona to San Diego. I know I could not have survived what Solidod did.
Incredible resilience is an understatement. Thank you Solidod for giving someone to aspire to be.
Third time listening, Solidod is so amazing! I wish that more people in the US understood why Solidod’s story is the story of the US. She had to deal with so much in her life and not once did she give up. I am 6′ ft. 190lbs. athletic, and Solidod is so much stronger than I am. I admire her courage, her wisdom and her perseverance. No amount of words can bring forth the complete admiration I have for this Woman I really appreciate having stumbled upon this story.
This was one of the saddest life stories I have ever heard. The poor are so abused. Having to go to high school without teeth! Lots of adventures — very inspiring.
Am so grateful to this site for this story of my friend Solidod…it’s my wish come true….and bless the old ones for listening…book/linda
Your life has been so full! Thanks for sharing it with us. I thank the creator for letting your beautiful spirit walk among us.
This story is blowing my mind. Solidad’s strength and wisdom and grace are so powerful and inspiring. Many thanks for her courage in sharing her incredible journey.
I enjoyed and was touched by this story so much I had to listen to it three times.
I am so glad there is an e-book available, as I want to read it again and again. (This will be my first e-book.)
Thank you Solidod, for sharing your story with Larry. Larry, thank you for the music and helping to share this story with me.
[…] ♫ NPR 1210275 Solidod♫ NPR’s Hearing Voices Podcast – HV142 – Solidod […]
[…] ♫ NPR’s Hearing Voices Podcast – HV142 – Solidod […]
She touched me to the core.
is this the last show for Hearing Voices?
I’m a man of God but Solidod is a child of God.
Her story made me see that God is real her eyes/soul have seen God and Hell. There is a Haven and Solidod will be there in the day of Judgement for mankind. Her story if heard will help all mankind to understand that forgiveness is a God given gift to mankind.
I live in South Central Los Angeles I can never ever feel that my life is hard ever again. She is a living Angel the person that God walks with when he needs a friend. I’m at work try not to cry. what a story she should get the medeal of freedom from the UN and world Assembly of Nations.
I would say to Solidod God Bless you but God has allready Blessed her forever.
A different person after hearing this story. :)
William M. Taylor
Thank you HV for sharing Solidod’s story ~ a poignant and fitting finale to a wonderful series of programs. Thank you Solidod for sharing your powerful story of persistence and resilence despite your hardships. Blessings to you.
Would love to get this in a physical form. I don’t particularly like reading a book on a screen no matter how soft and easy to read it is. When it gets in a paper form let me know. And I’m sure no publisher would pass up such a compelling and honest story.
Great price point $29.95. Totally worth it this is a treasure.
I am so grateful that I have and can call you my friend. You are truly an ORIGINAL! love hearing the storys that you told me many moons ago. Stay in a good way always.
Absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us all. Words cannot come close to the enrichment that your story has given me. Emotions one only feels deep in their throat as they hold back tears is exactly what I am experiencing as I write. It is a complex mixture of joy, grief, sorrow, compassion, love and so much more. Your recording reminded me of stories told by family members, many of whom have already passed. They were strong people who confronted remarkable hardship with love and commitment to others. Many of them carried experiences common with Cherokees who managed to stay in the East and add to the tough and beautiful mosaic of Appalachia. Many of them cannot share their stories anymore, but thanks to you, I can remember them through your story. Thank you!
Thank you for your time and your courage in telling this story of your life. Where I grew up running in fields and climbing in trees in upstate New York I sometimes found old arrowheads and your words brought the memories of the people who made them alive.
How can we heal the wrongs from the past and move past the old violence and hate? We are all the Creator’s and each sunrise is a gift we all share. Change has always been a part of your life, is a part of all of ours but it is happening faster than ever before. I’ve been in tribal settings, by invitation and heard the brutality and the feelings it has left behind. You’ve lived both. You’ve also seen and lived through and sometimes because of good people so I honestly and sincerely ask: how can we come together today to create better tomorrows, for us and those coming after us?
Thank you Solidod and everyone associated with sharing your important life story with the rest of us. I believe that everyone who hears your story in ‘your’ voice is blessed!
With much appreciation,
I am very moved by your telling of your life’s stories Soledad! I am filled with emotion and love for you and for the universe as I listen to this episode of Hearing Voices.
How wonderful to have that life experience as hard as her childhood was, but her way of telling her life story its so sweet and the joy and sadness you hear just so moving.
Heard the show three times, not once i tought about changing the radio station.
i always listen to NPR.
Solidod, lived at my place on “D” Road in Loxahatchee in the 70’s and found me again years later at the Lake Worth Motel. I sold the motel in 86 and married and moved to Starke and lost her again. Chat me up Solidod at firstname.lastname@example.org or on facebook.
I want to know solidod
Thank you for finding Solidod. This woman’s story is heartbreaking and beautiful.
I would love to see pictures from Solidod’s life. I wonder if I can see them anywhere.
A truly inspiring life, filled with trials and tribulations, only to be triumphant along life’s journey. I love Solidod’s fighting Warrior spirit…a quality we all shall strive to emulate. Her spirit reminds me of my mom, who I lost this past year. May Solidod continue to be blessed as she continue’s along the path.
Wow! .. A Jill of all trade .. Thank you for sharing your raw, awesome story… My granddaughters will read it, and they will better for it. Paz!
I am honored that i have her as my neighbor!!!
Solidod your story is truly breathtaking! You lived through so much, and have had such an amazing journey! I am purchasing your book when I return home from work, and would love to see and listen to Solidod Woods (perhaps at a booksigning!)
Solidad’s story is incredible. She is a true survivor, which barely begins to describe her life and experience. What a woman to learn from. To be so well adjusted after so much horror at the hands of merciless people – who were not her own people, which disgusts me – is a heroic example of humanity.
She should be heralded by the nation.
I am incorporaton this into my lesson plans for all grades immediately!
My goodness, what a remarkable human being, what a remarkable spirit. I am humbled. Thank you, Solidod and thank you, Larry.
I first heard this program several weeks ago. Each time I hear it I laugh out loud, cry profusely, and go through every emotion in-between. Solidod has made me examine every aspect of my life and realize I need to make more room for curiosity, compassion, faith, hope, bravery, and learning. I don’t think history has seen many people as special and unique as Solidod. May we all strive to be more like her.
I would like to thank all the people who have helped me get his book together. And thank you all for listenin’ and buyin’ my story.
I love her story! I want to buy this book in paper back or buy a full audio version of this book for my grandmother to listen to who also had a very rough life and can no longer read.
I met Solidod last year and read her story. It was just in loose paper form then. She is an amazing lady and I am vey glad to have met her. Nice t hear your voice again Solidod. take good care.
Enjoyed your story on Amazon Kindle and happy to learn copyright printed copies are available from you.
Mesmerizing voice, inspiring life story.
I could only cry and cry when she told her story. I am so far from where I was born and grew up, but like her I keep going and believe learning is the most amazing gift of life. I believe like her so many things. I would give her a place to live here, but I’m far away. I hope she is well, well.
I am sorry I have not had the chance to meet this magnificent person.
Amazing story, loved her sense of humor.
It was awesome.. It was moving.. It was inspiring.. brought to me the moments of smile, laughter, tears.. its simply amazing.. keep the goo work going mam. loved ur story..
It would have a place in the hears of Indian boys and girls ..
i’m grateful that there’s still room in the world for people like solidod and programs like this for giving her voice.
Thank you for sharing your story.
wow storge women i amazed how you make it
i love you thanking don’t worry about what is next
great job hearing voies
[…] of tea and sit back. You will smile, I am certain of that. In this audio story from the program ‘Hearing Voices, Solidod is in her 80s and tells about 300 years of her life stories from her book. ‘The […]
What a beautiful soul
I was given a email to contact Solidad but it is a wrong one, I don’t know if any one is still in contact with her, she was speaking to a guy name Bill the other day and he told her about me and that she would hear from me, he meet her on Saturday at Coldwater AZ.
Because of the wrong email I cannot do so, so I hope someone can give me her correct email address.
My name is Annette tell her as she was told my name and also that I live in Australia.
I so wish I could meet her,
Solidod said it was fine to give indicate her e-mail to you.
It is 1lucky1star.@gmail.com Solidod lived in Florida before
returning to Arizona after many years.
I had the email address but it was given wrong no . (dot) before @ so that is why it was returned.
Thanks again I appreciate it
Thank you Solidod
Your story is a blessing
My best wishes and prayers for you
I don’t know her but I love her. Her story reads like a 3-D movie. I wish her health and a long, long life.
Learning to love our neighbors,is the debt we all have and could never be fully paid,all we could do is keep on raising that ceiling.
I listened to this story while driving home from work, and I cried for Solidod’s suffering, but I was elated but her extraordinary strength to endure and thrive. You are a beautiful strong woman. Thank you for sharing your story.
TRULY A INSPIRATION!
She is one of those people who has being truly blessed and others could learn from her.
[…] can listen to Solidod tell her story here… she’s a great storyteller and had me transfixed from the […]
Is Solidod’s book available for sale as a printable PDF? (Is there anybody out there?)
Benjamin, the link in the post above goes to the Amazon e-book. That is the only existing version of the book, and is not printable (becasue of copyright and DRM).
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