Anaheim, my roots

I don’t know how to write quippy blogs for things that rock me to my core.  How do you encapsulate a subject that spans a century in the making?




I spell-checked these words in the recent musings that have tried to capture the feelings and emotions broiling over ever since the first shooting in Anaheim last weekend. Well, really it goes back so much further than that.

1806 Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana granted

1846 Treaty of Hidalgo Guadalupe

1936 Citrus Strike of Anaheim

1943 Zoot Suit Riot

1945 Mendez vs. Westminister

I think the problems arise because of stories left untold.

Today, I just found out my grandmother grew up between Elm & Santa Ana on Lemon, now Little People’s Park. She would been 15 years old and living across the street from the orchard and hub of the Citrus Strike that was nearly eight times the terror of these past weeks.

On June 16, 1936, two hundred women threw down their shears and packing rings and refused to cut or pack another orange. From that day until July 27 the people of Anaheim felt weeks upon weeks of the grueling, terrifying clash of Latino against police, just eleven short years after the KKK went underground.

The very next summer Nana (Della) gave birth to my uncle. Unfortunately her first husband didn’t stick around. She then fell in love and married a man whose name I can never remember, but then he enlisted and tragically died in World War II. Joe Martinez, my beloved grandfather was her third husband. And she 24 years old with an 8-year-old boy.

Uncle David Moreno.

I remember going to school in third grade at Glenn L. Martin Elementary in Santa Ana for Cinco de Mayo. My mother dressed me and my sister in a handmade white peasant blouses with green and red rickrack sewn on the collar and arms and in a full red tiered skirt with green and white rickrack and both our hair braided into the Princess Leia buns.

I almost got my ass kicked that day.

A bad-ass chola three years older than me (oddly enough my best friends’ older sister) kicked me hard in the shin and asked me who the hell I thought I was celebrating Mexican heritage when I could “pass” every other day of the year.

I didn’t know what she meant for a long time and I still wonder if I really get the full impact of her request for empathy. But eventually a powerful message became clear.

“Stand tall, mujer.”

There is so much to say.. that I might have to sign off for awhile and write…live…write and write some more…a novel or something like that…

One thought on “Anaheim, my roots

  1. helena pasquarella says:

    wow.. thanks for sharing…. so powerful!!!
    Would love to see a movie on the citrus strikes!!!!

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