CONTENT AND INFORMATION Sadly, a lot of the details of our family history is unknown because our family never really stopped to ask about specific details and partly because my grandma had Alzheimer. This presentation is about our journey to the United States and how we got here. Some of the early years are approximated.
ORIGINS OF MY MOTHER’S SIDE My grandpa and his parents were from Degollado, Jalisco. Degollado in Spanish means "behead", or "decapitate". It is known for hangings that occurred many years ago.
My grandma is from Southern California and her parents were from Leon, Guanajuato. Guanajuato is known for it’s well preserved mummies. (To the left is my cousin and I at the museum)
ORIGIN OF MY FATHER’S SIDE My grandpa is from Juarez, Chihuahua. His father’s side is from Santa Barbara, Chihuahua. His mother’s side is from Coahuila.
My Grandma and her father’s side are also from Chihuahua. They come from Avalos, Chihuahua. Her mother’s side is from Zacatecas.
CHIHUAHUA Both my parents and grandparents lived most of their lives here and are strongly tied to this place. We are proud to be from Juarez, Chihuahua despite current problems . Sadly, Juarez has become the most dangerous city in Mexico due to the drug cartels.
The state of Chihuahua is home to Copper Canyon where the Tarahumar Indians live. Copper Canyon is larger than the Grand Canyon.
The “Casas Grandes” is also in Chihuahua and is an old archeological site
Chihuahua is also home to the “Giant Crystal Caves”
THE FIRST JOURNEY The first of my family to come to the United States were from my mother’s side of the family. First came my Great Grandfather Ramon Gomez Jr. He ran away from home at age 15 because he got in an argument with his stepmother and broke her wrist and was fearful that his father would beat him when he came from work.
He arrived in Los Angeles, California from Leon, Guanajuato with a friend around 1906. Method of transportation is unknown. He got a job in a train station in Los Angeles.
HIS FUTURE WIFE JOINS HIM… Second to come was my Great Grandmother Maria Torres.
She lived with her parents and siblings until her father left in 1910 to fight in the Mexican Revolution as a rebel and they moved in with her father’s parents. After not hearing from her father they thought he died in the war. Her mother met a soldier and got pregnant and was planning to live with him.
Her father returned not knowing that his wife was pregnant. Her mother asked her mother-in-law what to do and she suggested to drink some herbs to abort. Her mother died from the abortion and her father found out that she was pregnant with another man’s child. He abandons his children with an aunt thinking they might not be his too. Her siblings leave because the aunt mistreated them and she was left alone. A neighbor who she called her “godmother” would feed her and comfort her.
One day her godmother leaves to United States and she decides to look for her around the age of 12. She has no money for the train but she meets a woman who sneaks her under the train seat and covers her with her skirt. She arrives at the train station were my Great Grandpa works and spends to days at the station asking for her godmother.
THEY FINALLY MEET… My Great Grandfather sees her and offers her a place to live and eat if she would clean and cook for him and his friend. They fall in love and marry around 1915. They have 7 children including my Grandma Jane Gomez who was supposed to be named Juana . When their children were born they were told to register their name in English. Their last known location was in Anaheim.
HARD TIMES… My Great Grandfather continued to work in the station and sold oranges until the Great Depression struck and he lost his job. Segregation also affected my Grandma Jane and was kicked off her baseball team and separated in a different classroom with African Americans. They also got a notice that they were going to be deported and that the government was going to “help” them by buying their land and property. They did not get much money and they returned to Leon, Guanajuato.
YEARS LATER… My Grandma Jane meets my Grandpa Jose Socorro Cortez and marry 1938. They had 13 children and adopted their niece and nephew.
My Grandma decides to contact her brother who returned to California to find work in the U.S. He tells her to move into a house he had in Juarez, Chihuahua and to fix her childrens’ passports. They find work in El Paso, Texas and decided to stay in Juarez.
MY PARENTS AND THEIR JOURNEY Both my parents were born and raised in Juarez, Chihuahua. They met in 1980 because they lived across the street from each other and started dating in 1982.
In 1986, my dad come to California looking for work so he can fix his parents house in Juarez. He comes back in 1988 to see my mom and she gets pregnant with my brother Edgar. They marry September 9, 1988. A few days later my dad’s uncle contacts him from California and tells him there is an opportunity to fix his passport.
My dad decides to go because he needed a job to pay for the hospital bills when my brother was born. He found a secure job, in which he has been working in for the past 23 years, and a house in Covina and convinces my mom to come. A year later I was born and ten years after that my brother Ivan was born.
ABOUT MY CURRENT FAMILY… My older brother was born in El Paso, Texas I was born in Montebello, California My younger brother was born in Upland, California We moved to Ontario in 1998. In 2008 we added another member to our family and his name is Oso which means “bear” in Spanish. He’s our dog!
We listen to Norteña music because we are from “El Norte” which is referred to northern Mexican cities along the border. Because my parents lived near the border they where also influenced by American music My mom listened to the Bee Gee’s and Cindy Lauper and my dad listened to Van Halen and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
RELIGION, TRADITIONS, AND VALUES Our family, Mother side and Father side, are Catholic. We mostly eat Mexican food. Our salsas, guacamoles, and tortillas are made by hand. Even our drinks Jamaica and Horchata along with fruit juices. Our family is united and we spend holidays together and make tamales.
VIDEOS This is a video of the Chihuahua giant crystals (you might need to copy and paste link, sorry.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOjWRR5QL_I
WORKS CITED http://geo-mexico.com/?p=825 Google images Interview with my Mom 10/15/11
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