Gathering New and Old Memories in Guadalajara

Since my days with my apa, a desire, more than just a dream, has been alive in me. I have wanted to go to Guadalajara Jalisco in Mexico. I want to see where my parents grew up and connect with my familia in Guadalajara. ¡Se me ha concedió!

The last time I was in Guadalajara was when I was 15 years old. And the only time I went further into Mexico than Tijuana was with Ben on our honeymoon to Mazatlán. Entonces, Mexican-American girl, went to Mexico. Así muy ranchera, timid about my Spanish which is mostly Spanglish, I went. My familia in Guadalajara kept saying “Que dices?” every time I slipped and “Spanglished” ¡Hijole! This strong Latina woman was too aware of my American accent, but I forged on. This trip was an answer to my prayer.

Beautiful memories were made as I visited my fathers youngest sister. Tía Consuelo is now 79 and fighting hard to stay at peace at home, her mind is betraying her. Then, I visited my apas closest brother’s family. Tio Antonio was 94 when he passed away in 2020 just before my apa. I was nervous about visiting his wife, Tia Camilla and her kids, mis primas. Tía Camilla is 96, and in a pretty good mental state. I love the friendly open manner in Mexican culture. “Mi casa es su casa” is practiced with such gracious love. I felt welcomed and the energy of reconnection was felt. Maggi, my cousin, is the primary caregiver to Tia Camilla and I compared notes about the brothers, our fathers. She truly wanted to know how Tio Manuel (that’s my apa) had lived. She wanted to know if my apa was as stiff and awkward about hugs and love like her dad, from my experience the Zepedas are a pretty awkward bunch as far as hugging and public displays of affection go, yet we are fierce about love and loyalty.

It was a wonderful reunion. I hope to stay connected, technology has removed many of the obstacles. 

I have walked away with some treasures and I’m going to share some with you here.

How to Get the Girl the Old Fashioned Way

Since we’re not so past El día del amor y amistad, I want to share a sweet short version of my tio Antonio and Camilla’s Cupid moment. This was her account. 

My apa and his brother  Antonio were on their way home from el Norte. The small colonia was buzzing with excited young ladies, they knew the hermanos were coming. Tía Camilla said that they all seemed hopeful to capture one of those brothers. She didn’t include herself in the “race” but her eyes twinkled at the memory. 

Camilla had an edge over the other girls since she was a favorite of my abuela Rosario. They both loved to garden and Camilla was always available for her when her flowers needed watering.

When Manuel and Antonio arrived, I imagine them walking very confidently with money in their pocket with the Levi jeans swag, Camilla was quietly present as they made their way around town toward the place where everyone gathered for swimming. Hijole! I forgot to ask her more details, like what did that look like. As I’m writing the warm fuzzy feelings of a love story are filling in all those details she left out. 

One day as Camilla was preparing food for selling at her puesto, she looked out her kitchen window y de repente she saw them. Here’s how I imagine the scene, cómo las películas. When she saw the two brothers were heading her way she made sure to be noticed. Antonio noticed and after a while he came to her window and asked, “aren’t you going to offer me something to eat?” “Pásale, come in” she told him.  She looked at me with that twinkle in her eye “after that we continued our courtship” and added a little later “All the girls were hoping to get their attention. Pero, mi and Chuy (mi ama) got it” These two sister inlaws became dear friends later. Tía remembered that Antonio never left al Norte again, “Que bonitos recuerdos son” She quietly appreciates the memories she has.

They were married for over 60 years, they had 14 children and raised 9.

En conclusión:

I am not going to lie, I was disappointed I wanted more, much more details, like how did you “feel” when you saw Antonio? Pero pues, I loved seeing her eyes twinkle with a smile as she remembered her youth which included my apa and ama and I’m grateful to have this little nugget for my treasure chest.


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