(1910 to 1981)
Christina Ledesma child of Odilón and Margarita Ledesma. She had three brothers, Faustino, Melesio, and Eduardo. She had three sisters, Manuela, Katherine, and Emily. Christina was born in Lake Elsinore, near Riverside California.
Her family moved to Ventura County. Her grandfather bought some land outside of Camarillo. They farmed the land there. Her father and family, lived in Ventura. He had a horse-drawn wagon and use it to haul manure from the dairy farms to the produce farmers. On one of his runs his horse got spooked and turned his wagon over, on top of him.
I’m not sure how my parents met. They might have run into each other at school. They were two years apart in age. My other guess is that they ran into each other at church. Oxnard was a small town. They had a small choice of which Catholic Church to go to. Santa Clara church on E St. was mainly for the English speaking residents of town. The Guadalupe church had Spanish-speaking priests for the Mexicans. That one was located across the tracks in La Colonia. My last guess involves my mama and her three pretty sisters. I am sure they were hard to miss in that small town.
My parents were married in 1936. My sister Christina came first, then my brother Carlos. My sister Teresa was next, and I am the youngest. Below me are my parents in 1980, after 40 plus years of marriage.
I remember this moment well. This was taken in my parents’ house in Cupertino. It is also known as Silicon Valley. Jackie and I made our home in King City. That is about a two hour drive from there. We drove down there every weekend.
We usually entered the house through the back into the kitchen. My parents’ house was a triplex, meaning, they had two rental apartments in the back. One of the ladies came up to me and offered her condolences then she asked me how long my mom had to live. We stood there looking at her. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what she was talking about.
“Oh dear! You don’t know!” I could tell she was upset and she hurried back into her apartment. She must’ve been embarrassed as well, I never saw her again.
That is how I found out that my mama had the cancer. It started in her kidneys and was spreading throughout her body like wild fire. The doctors said that there was no way to stop it or even slow it down.
We didn’t really talk about it at the time. We were all there, my brother, my two sisters, other relatives that live nearby. I had my camera with me, and I stole this moment from them. I wasn’t ready to let my mama go. She went through so much keep our family together. She tried hard to make up for the time that we lost.
After that, each weekend we would come back and take care of her, taking turns with my sister and other relatives who dropped by. I could see the difference in her from one week to the next. Towards the end she was confined to a bed. She had an oxygen tank and she could no longer get up.
Nine months after this photo she was gone. Even as she knew she was fading away she still worried about me, my well-being, my future. She worried about me becoming the person that she and the Great One intended me to be.
I am now her age when she left the world and I am certain I have fallen short on both accounts.