Daisy Cruz
05/03/05
eng.100
Final Draft


Olivia Cruz
Homemaker
San Bruno, Ca

 


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Since I was young, I always wondered how my parents migrated to California. Till this day I remember watching Spanish movies of Mexicans migrating to the U.S. I have always been amazed of what immigrants had to go through when migrating. Since then I would always ask my mom questions about her and my father's journey from Mexico to California. I would always ask my mom Olivia to tell me the story of their Journey across the Border. Now through out this essay, I have the chance to deepen my understanding of my roots and how different my life was to my mothers. When the time came to Interview Olivia, it was a moment of amazement because there were things about my mothers' life I didn't know.
†††††† Maria Olivia Picazo, was born on March 10, 1947. Olivia grew up her whole life in a Ranch (El Ranchito) on the outskirts of a small town named Mezcala. She lived in the ranch with her mother Maria de Jesus and her father Bernardino. She also had an older brother named Elias, a sister named Celia and two younger brothers Abel and Cornelio. She was the youngest of the girls. Olivia's family consisted of many relatives; her mother came from a big family. All the relatives lived miles away or in near by towns. Olivia's Family wasn't wealthy but they had just enough to buy plenty of food and decent clothing. Her mother never had to work; all she had to do was take care of the kids. Her Father was the one to migrate to San Francisco and find work. Olivia mentioned that her father worked in many places. For example: He had worked on the railroads, flower shops, farms and Garbage Co. He would then send money to his family in Mexico to either spend or to save. She also mentioned that her father would be working in California for about two years and later would return to Mexico for 6 months. This routine for her father continued up until the boys were old enough to come to California and work. Something Olivia recalls that was unfair when she was growing up was that her father would fix immigration papers once the boys turn 16 yrs old. Therefore all Olivia's brother's had legal status except the girls. The reason being that the girls didn't have legal status was because her father didn't like the liberal life women lived.
††††††††† When Olivia was growing up, she was lucky enough to have gone to school. In those year's school only went up to sixth grade. The nearest school from the ranch was about half an hour away. So every day her and her siblings had to walk to and from school. The one school that was around had only one class that would teach about 60 students. The only grades being taught by one teacher were K- 6th. Olivia mentioned that she feels very fortunate to have had some schooling because it has helped in her life now. For Instance: Olivia knows how to read and write Spanish and also knows math. That's something my father doesn't know how to do. Also with time she has learned to understand and speak English. Also the way that her going to school has helped her, is that at home she handles everything from the check book to booking appointments, making payments and so forth. She also remembers that when she would go to school she wasn't given any lunch. Therefore before going to school she and her siblings would eat breakfast and wouldn't eat again until school was over. Some of the things she was taught in school were, reading, writing and embroidering flowers and other designs on to table clothes. They sometimes would make some very colorful table clothes with different designs and sell them to near by neighbors. She learned how to do that sewing when she was in school, around the age of eight.
†††††††††† In Mexico life is different when you're growing up. When Olivia was growing up, at a young age she had plenty of chores. For example: Olivia recalls that when she was young, she would wake up early to do some chores before heading off to school. She began her chores by sweeping and caring after her younger brothers. In addition she mentioned that a girl, at the age of seven already knew how to care for siblings to chores an American child wouldn't do until they were teenagers. Olivia made a very good comparison while she was being interviewed. She said that life for a young girl consisted of always doing chores and caring after younger siblings and that it wasn't like in America where a teenage girl mostly knows how to put make up on. And also flip the channel. After finishing her chores and coming back from school, Olivia and her family would go walking to take lunch to an uncle who would watch over them when there father wasn't around. This uncle worked on Olivia's dad's ranch; since he worked for them they would walk about an hour to give their uncle his lunch. When the evening came around they would go visit their relatives in the near by ranches.
††††††††††† In 1974 when Olivia was 24 yrs old, she got married to Pedro Cruz. Pedro was from a neighboring town of Pegueros. Soon after the wedding Pedro and Olivia decided to migrate to California. They decided that they no longer wanted to live in Mexico; they wanted to try new land. Their journey to the United States was tough but it was tougher for Pedro. When their journey began they hired a coyote to help them cross the border. The coyote dropped Pedro off near the Tijuana border because Pedro had to crawl under in a tunnel to get to the other side of the border. Since Olivia was faired skinned and had green eyes it was easier for the coyote to lie and say she was his wife. The coyote told Olivia to dress with very nice clothes and for her to do her make up and hair. So Olivia wore her nice fur coat and a dress. So when she crossed the border, she got to cross in a car. After crossing the border they picked up Pedro on the other side, which was In Los Angeles. The coyote dropped off Olivia and Pedro at a coffee shop, while he went to call Pedro's brothers who already lived in L.A. Olivia remembers feeling awkward because even though she was light skinned, she still felt like she didn't fit in. In those times there weren't that many Mexicans in the United States, so she felt like the people at the coffee shop kept staring at them. Hours later they were In Santa Ana at her brother in laws house waiting for her brother Elias to pick them up and take them to their destination. Olivia and Pedro's destination was to arrive at her brother's house in San Bruno. They only lived at Elias house up until the got some jobs. They soon rented and apartment.
The first job Olivia had was to work at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Which was located in South San Francisco. Since she was an immigrant she had no social security. When I asked her what did she do since she didn't have a social security number. She said that she just made one up, soon after they figured out it was fake. Later Olivia's cousin helped her and Pedro get their social security because in those times you just had to apply and they would send it to you. About two and a half years of being married she got pregnant with her first child Giselle; a year later she had a boy named Arnold. By this time she had been working at a fruit factory and no longer wanted to continue working at the factory. The reason being that she didn't want to continue working there was because the pay was low and she was pretty much was working to pay the babysitter. She stopped working in the 80's. Around that same time Olivia and Pedro received their residence card allowing them to be in the United States. In 1983 their second daughter Daisy was born. When Daisy was born they decided that they need a bigger place to live. Since Pedro was only a gardener he saved every penny he earned and with every penny he earned he bought his own two bedroom house. Since they had a mortgage to pay Olivia decided to get her license to become a certified babysitter. In 1990 they had their fourth child, Pedro Jr. The three other kids were growing up and becoming teenagers and the house was running out of rooms. Olivia recalls that 1997, was a memorable year because they sold their first house and bought one that was twice as bigger than the first. Also that year Olivia and Pedro became legal citizens of the United States, something they are very proud of.
†††††† Now in 2005 Olivia and Pedro live a wonderful life, with their two daughters, two sons and grandson. Olivia still lives in San Bruno, along with all her relatives and father. Olivia unfortunately lost her mother in 1996. Olivia no longer works; Pedro continues working to get the family by. Olivia feels grateful of living in the United States; because she feels that she has been able to accomplish the American dream. The American dream to Olivia was to raise her family in the United States and give them the opportunity to explore a new world. A new world that would give her children, chances and opportunities to succeed in life. From the interview I was hoping to learn new things about my family and mother. The reality was that I didnít know many things about my family and all I had to do was ask.