Thursday, October 11, 2012

THROWBACK THURSDAY: My Mysterious Abuelita

My abuelita. Mexicali, Mexico (año del caldo)

These last few weeks, my abuelita has been been paying me some unexpected visits. I could be in the middle of cooking or reading, when suddenly she'll slip into my thoughts. As if all she wants to do is say hi. It's been strange, considering I never had the opportunity to meet her, since she'd passed away long before I was born.

For Throwback Thursday, this week, I'd like to share this old photograph of my abuela. It's precious because it's the only one we have of her. It was taken in Mexicali, the small pueblo in Mexico, where my mother and her sisters were born. I know the photo isn't very clear, trust me, I've tried over and over to focus in an attempt to discern her features, but to no avail. What I do know of her, has been passed down from my mom, who swears that my abuela was a tall and beautiful woman, who never wore makeup, smoked like fiend and spoke perfect English. Sounds like a character, no?

My abuela was a hard working woman. When she was married to my grandfather, she cooked for a small restaurant they owned and operated on the main road through town, where truckers and travelers, mainly Americanos stopped to eat. From what I understand, she had to have been a very strong woman to not only spend most of her waking hours working, but also to survive being married to my abuelo, who by all accounts was a tyrant, but that's another story.

If I could spend an afternoon with my abuela, I'd first ask her to cook for me, then I'd chronicle with the painstaking accuracy of a historian her answers to my questions. I'd want to know about her parents, my bisabuelos. What life was like for her during the Mexican Revolution. How she overcame the loss of so many of her children. I'd want to know what my mom was like as a little girl and what she jabbered about before drifting off to sleep. I'd want to know what her reaction would be if she were to meet my sisters and me for the first time on the street. Did her heart break when her youngest, my mother, left her to live her own life? Lastly, I'd want to know what life was like for her when in her old age, she left Mexico to marry a gringo and live her last few years in the States.

These are all question that will unfortunately have to go unanswered. For now it appears I'll have to rely on my imagination and the bits and pieces I collect along the way to piece together my family's history.

Or maybe it will come to me in a dream. Por favor, Abuela.