Where Have You Lived, Mama?


This morning my daughter sent me a text.
Hey, mama,
When you have a moment, could you email me the places you’ve lived? It is for an art project. 🙂

I like granting requests from my artistic daughter. I sent her both a tweet and a message on Facebook telling her I was doing the assignment. At 5:30 pm I had the moment and here is what I remembered.

My mother came from Mexico and my father lived in Mexico and had Italian ancestry. They met in Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and I was born in the United States across the border. A midwife delivered me in Smeltertown, outside of El Paso, TX. My childhood was spent inside El Paso in a variety of neighborhoods that would only interest those from there: Downtown, San Juan, Hillside, Ascarate, and Ysleta.

We moved to be migrant farm workers to follow strawberries and mint on farms near Salem and Albany, Oregon. Then we lived on a turkey farm near Loveland, Nevada. We returned to El Paso.

I was accepted into New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I stayed there two years and left with Teens for Christ for Tucson, Arizona and toured the southwest, ending in Irving, Texas, where I left the group and went back to El Paso to college at the University of Texas. I was accepted into VISTA, Volunteers in Service to America and the training was in Dallas. I called my friends in Irving and they invited me to come with them to Haiti.

I lived in Port au Prince, Haiti in the old Spanish Embassy with the Beckett Family. Then I went to Petionville and Fermanthe Haiti to work with the Haiti Baptist Mission. I met a doctor who was the same age as me and she was doing so much to help humanity because she had a degree. I ought to finish and returned, you know where…El Paso to finish my degree.

I wanted to major in radio because of the influence of radio in Haiti, but the journalism teacher talked me out of it and into writing. I lived on campus with the High School Equivalency Program as a dorm counselor. After graduation, I was interviewed to work at the Idaho Migrant Council.

Idaho gave me a job in Rupert at the Child Development Center, an apartment in Burley, and a graduate degree in Vocational Rehabilitation from the University of Idaho in Moscow. When not in school, I was fishing, claiming a deer shot by a friend without a tag, which I had, and growing an organic garden. I was so cold in Idaho that when I saw a job in Arizona on the bulletin board, I applied for it. In a phone interview, I was hired and moved to the desert.

I lived in Pima, Thatcher, and Safford, Arizona while working at Eastern Arizona College as a counselor and teacher. Our daughter, Luz, was born in Safford. I had a radio talk show and it was announced far and wide that she had arrived.
A job transfer for husband landed him in Casa Grande, AZ and we lived in the Holy Family Newman Center for students at Central Arizona College. I was a Catholic Campus Minister. Our son, Paz, was born in Casa Grande. A job change for me meant we could not live in the center, so we bought a house in Coolidge, Arizona, where we stayed for 18 years.
I worked in Chandler and it felt like the children and I lived in the East Valley. We had an apartment in Chandler. Luz went to Switzerland and came back to the Valley, and finally settled in Seattle, where she lives today. Paz went to the Valley, graduated from Arizona State University, and went to school in Dallas. He came back to the Valley and says he will be living in Flagstaff, Arizona in the future.

I lived in Coolidge for as long as I could considering the habits of a hoarder with five inside cats. I work in the Eloy Public Library and found an apartment in the Santa Cruz Village because I can walk to work.

I visited Costa Rica for a week. I visited both children in Texas and Washington. I travel to Mesa, AZ because I am a board member and volunteer with College Bound Mesa. I have frilends with extra room for me when I am in town.
When my daughter moved to Seattle, I thought I would, too. When my son moved to Dallas, I wanted to come along. Luz used to say when she was young that she was going to live in a castle with alligators in a moat so we could not live with her. Not wanting to be a meal for alligators, I stayed away from the channel.

My job is over July 1, 2013. I am thinking of becoming an Americorps Volunteer and working at College Bound Mesa. Perhaps, I will live there next.


One thought on “Where Have You Lived, Mama?

  1. Wow, you have done so many interesting things. But you are not going to be in Eloy beyond the middle of July? I am sad already. It will be a very big loss. You have such energy and spirit. I find it interesting that you have some Italian in you as well. Not too many Eye Talians around here. Even fewer in Wisconsin.

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