To talk about my history, it’s easy to assume that it starts with me. However, I didn’t make myself so my history starts with my parents.
My jefitos, Virginia y Ismael, are the beginning of my history. I’ll start with the oldest, my mother Virginia, the most emotional being I know. She’s also had the hardest of lives. Born in 1952 in La Moncada, Guanajuato, Mexico. My grandparents didn’t have the means to give my mother or her sibling, my aunts and uncles, an easy life. She only made it to the second grade and she was taken out because they didn’t have money to keep sending her to school. She instead learned how to do house chores and when she was a teenager she was sent to Mexico City to work basically as an indentured servant. That’s where I believe she learned all the polite manners she eventually taught me and my siblings, however I don’t know if that was good or bad. Anyways, I do believe my mother did the best she could to survive with what was given to her. She worked in Mexico City for a few years during her teens and would visit her town here and there. This is around the time she met my dad, Ismael. They eventually began a relationship. The suddenly tragedy struck my mother. One day she suffered from an embolio (stroke) which paralyzed one of her legs and deteriorated her health physically and mentally. She fell into a deep depression. To this day that has affected her and everyone around her. I guess this a good time to explain my father a bit.
He stayed with my mother through her toughest moments. They eventually got married and ended up having 5 kids. Before I get to their married life let me explain my dad’s upbringing a bit. He was born in 1953 in Indiparapeo, Michoacan, Mexico. His father, my grandpa, was a baker so he had a substantially better economic life than my mother’s side. However, he wasn’t raise with my grandparents. They couldn’t raise their children, they had business and political matters that destroyed their ability to raise them; what they did was put my dad and his siblings in seminarios (seminaries) and started working at my granpa’s bakery in Guanajuato. That’s when he eventually met my mom.
They got married in the early to mid 70’s. Their first born, Jose Francisco, died three days after being born. A year or two later my sister, Paula, was born in 1975 I think. During that same time they migrated from Guanajuato to San Francisco, Ca.
“My dad came first then he sent to bring my mom and sister. They settled in the Mission District and made their lives there.”
They had my brother, Edwin, in 1978. Jose in 1982. And then I came in 1990. My little brother, Trinidad, was born in 1992.
I didn’t experience a whole generation or two of my family history. But I was born into the same issues that plagued my family. Living in poverty and different families living under one roof. A depressed mother. An alcoholic father. Brothers lost in gangs. Our biggest ray of light was our sister, Paula, who although she got pregnant at 14 finished High School while also getting married. She worked and went to College and succeeded. Now she’s a social worker but she struggled and fought for it. I don’t want to make it sound like it was all bad because it wasn’t. Although we lived in poverty and crammed houses we were happy and had a lot of cousins to play with. Although our father was a drunk, he was loving and never hit us, the kids that is.
Storyteller Alfredo is an aspiring teacher and a native of the Bay Area, Ca.