In 1930 my grandparents, Antonio and Mary Villegas boarded a train headed for the United states.
They continued by bus to Richmond, California.
My Grandfather worked for the Santa Fe Railroad Company. My Grandmother worked for a short period of time in a bakery. She was also a homemaker.
As devout Catholics, they attended mass every Sunday morning. This did not change due to geographic location. Religion was not a factor in their move. Religion did not affect employment . Food was affected, but only on Fridays. Catholics are required to eat fish on Fridays during the 40 days before Easter Sunday, known as Lent.
They continued to eat traditional Mexican foods as my family still does today. Menudo Tortilla soup Beans Rice Tamales at Christmas time
According to my father, my grandparents also enjoyed Chinese and American food.
In 1956, they sent for my father , Raul Villegas. He made his way by train and by bus to Whittier, California. He was 16 years old. He was also required to attend mass on Sundays.
He maintained his love for traditional Mexican music through the years. Vicente Fernandez is a favorite. Others include Pedro Infante, Luis Miguel, and Selena.
He lived in Whittier until moving to East Los Angeles where he met my mother, Mary Ramos. I was born in Whittier Presbyterian hospital many years later.
My parents remained in East Los Angeles until 1987 when they moved my siblings and me to Chino, California.
We kept up the tradition of staying awake until midnight on Christmas eve to open presents. We make tamales all morning, and enjoy them in the evening. We also sit around the Christmas tree and tell stories.
Another Mexican tradition is Dia de los Muertos, which happens to be my birthday. My family does not celebrate in a traditional sense, but we enjoy attending festivals and art exhibits in honor of Day of the Dead.
We also enjoy festivals which showcase music and cars from my father’s era.
In 2005, my parents decided to move to Texas with my three brothers. Land was inexpensive and they were able to have a brand new home built. My father always wanted to live in the country. He had hoped that his daughters would follow him.
NOT A CHANCE!!!!! After five years, Raul and Mary along with two of their sons, returned to Chino, Californi a.
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