She is loved.
Mom was the eldest of eight–exceptionally bright, bilingual, and literate in both Spanish and English. Her family was very poor, but she loved school and loved to read. At the young age of 12, she completed eighth grade after skipping two grades. A teacher had applied for her to attend high school as a ward of a Spanish land grant family in Santa Fe but, alas, her father had been injured in an on-the-job accident working for the railroad. Back then, there was no such thing as worker’s compensation. In addition, her maternal grandfather didn’t believe that girls needed to be educated. So she got a Victrola phonograph as an 8th grade graduation present from him and went to work as a housekeeper to some of the wealthy landowners living in the Mountainair, New Mexico area.
She supported her family by cleaning houses and, then, at the age of 16, got a job in town at a local restaurant making thirteen dollars a week. She paid for her rent, ate at the restaurant, and sent money home so that her siblings could attend school. All of her five living younger siblings graduated from high school, thanks to her. She married my father at the ripe old age of 23, and had her first child, me, at the age of 29.
My early memories are of me sitting on my mother’s lap while she sang me songs in both English and Spanish, and read me stories from English basal readers. I got my love of reading from her, and my first romance novels were snuck from the stash in her closet!
Education was a priority in our home. She and my father sacrificed to send us to parochial school and she taught all of us to read before we started school. Even though she couldn’t help us with our homework after elementary school, she was a stickler about homework and grades. She wanted for us what she never attained—a high school diploma.
Today, three of her five children have master’s degrees, and all of her grandchildren have attended college (three graduated with bachelor’s degrees, three others are currently in college on academic scholarships, with more still in elementary through high school.) Her siblings produced other strands of college degrees through their progeny.
My mom had a dream that, due to circumstances beyond her control, was never realized. But she lived that dream through those of us who benefited from her sacrifice.
In my first published novel, I wrote this dedication:
You gave up your dreams,
but never the hope
that your dreams would come true
for your children.