I would want to sit with my father’s mother. She died over a decade ago. She was no one famous but her life has always been fascinating to me.
Facts I Know:
- She was 65 years old when I was born.
- She was 45 when she had my dad, her first child.
- She adopted my uncle who is 4 months older than my dad. My uncle was the by-product of an affair my grandfather had.
- She was five years older than her husband, my grandfather.
- They married when she was 25 and an old maid.
- They traveled on their honeymoon. They were refused hotel reservations in Florida because they were “Mexicans” so they slept in their car in a citrus grove. (Grandma and Grandpa were both Texans, born and raised in Texas for at least 3 generations.)
- She is the oldest of four girls.
- She raised seven children. Once she began having children, she had a child every year except for one year–the following year she had twins.
- When she got tired of having children, she moved my grandfather into the “boys’ room” while she moved into the “girls’ room.”
- She worked as a maid for the same family until she was 81 years old.
- She raised her kids on her own while Grandpa fought in Italy in WWII.
- She quilted until arthritis stopped her.
- She was an excellent cook. (I wish I had her secret for making “fat” tortillas.)
- Every Thanksgiving she made tamales and cookies for all the families and friends who might possibly visit during the Christmas season.
- She demonstrated her love with cooking.
- She had an 8th grade education.
- She loved Carol Burnett, Dr. Who, and “her stories” (telenovelas and soap operas).
- She didn’t have a Bible but she had every textbook her kids ever bought and her Sunday Missal was worn out.
- She lived her faith.
- She loved baking cakes for Sunday gatherings.
- She had one heck of a temper and could hold a grudge like few in the family can. (I’m one. 🙂 )
- She loved working with Meals on Wheels and delivering food to “the old people” who were usually younger than she.
- She loved jigsaw puzzles until her eyes gave out on her.
- She switched to crocheting afghans once she had to quit quilting.
- She knew how to butcher goats.
- She was the neighborhood curandera, credited as being both a witch and a healer.
- She acted as midwife to several babies.
- She pierced the ears of lots of baby girls. (It’s bad luck to wait too long. We all had our ears pierced when we were between 3-6 mos. old.)
- She used el cucuy with great effectiveness.
- She was superstitious but it worked.
- She loved to gamble.
- She loved to travel, especially if there was gambling or family at the end of the road.
- She had a green thumb.
- She could garden for food and beauty.
- She loved roses.
- At the end of her life when dementia had its claws deep into her, she’d still respond to a crying baby with patting and a hummed lullaby.
I don’t know that I’d want to ask her any questions, really. I’d like to catch her up on my life and the lives of the family she loved so much. I’d want to bask in her love. I’d want to return to childhood when it was just me, her oldest grandchild (and only girl for five years), and her being together.
I miss her.