Teaching Tolerance was available to teachers at no cost. They have now changed their name to “Learning for Justice”. Social justice education is vital to empower students, teachers and communities who celebrate diversity.
This entire school year, every time I have come home on break (Thanksgiving, Christmas and now Spring) I have had no voice because of some upper respiratory infection. It has been frustrating because I have missed important weddings, memorial services, friend's birthday celebrations, family gatherings and even simple things like telephone conversations. The Baby, my baby sister, told me that at least I can still laugh...and yes...when I am here and around family and friends I laugh until I am breathless. I live a charmed life.
In 1950 Charlie Brown first appeared in the Peanuts comic strip and I first appeared in Nogales. As of tomorrow, I officially graduate from the working arena (United States official retirement age). Though I am not really retiring...yet...I can, now. I would have to live another 56 years to get back what I put into the U.S. Social Security System, but that is not the way it works. I have been putting into the system since the sixties so others could benefit (and therefore Social Security benefits). I thank those that are paying into Social Security (whether you are here legally or not). I thank President Franklin Delano Roosevelt for starting the Social Security System and for all legislators and Presidents after him that have supported this system. Though Charlie Brown's Peanuts comic strip officially graduated in 2000, when Charles Shultz died, I hope to enjoy the next phase of my life, too.
Aside from being beautiful, my Mother has been the most brilliant and talented person I have ever met. Right now I’m working at a school for gifted children in Silicon Valley and I can see a little bit of my Mother in almost every one of them. Olga knew everything about strong women throughout history. When I was teaching about Women’s History, in the 70s, I knew about the lives of all of those women through my Mother’s stories.
She could play any instrument by ear, she just had to figure out how to produce its notes. She could fix any electrical appliance, or unholster any piece of furniture, she made all of our clothes when we were small and taught us all to sew. She ran the books for my parent’s store and, if my Dad didn’t listen to her financial advise, things would go wrong. She knew world politics, economics and financial trends.
She had a half brother, Ramón, who was born in Babiacora, Sonora and a half sister, Florence, who was born in California. Her mother disappeared when she was 3 years old, Ramón was 11 and Florence was a year and a half. She believed she knew who her father was, Hugh Angleton, which mean James Jesus Angleton was, also, her half brother. James Jesus Angleton was Head of Counterintelligence for the CIA from 1954 to 1975. My Uncle James was just as brilliant as my Mother. They were identical looking as the years went by.
One December my kids went to see the movie the ‘Good Shepard’ with Matt Damon, it was too violent for me. When I asked them what it was about I told them that it was the story of their Uncle James. Of course they didn’t believe me until they read it online that it was based on Uncle Jame’s life. I explained that, instead of Uncle Hugh throwing Uncle James unwanted girlfriend out of the airplane, he actually through my grandmother out of an airplane. They didn’t believe that either.
I was born on Noon Street, our first house on Noon Street. My mother said that there was some ‘excitement’ because there were no Mexicans living on Noon Street in 1948. My parents moved from Dunbauld Street where my sister Elaine was born. Dunbauld was ‘behind the stores’ downtown and that is where Mexican lived, maybe on Walnut and Elm Street, but not Noon Street.
My mother knew the ‘excitement’ was over her. My Dad looked like a Celtic god (the Doan, Murray, Fletcher side of the family on his ruddy, smiley face and his sky-blue eyes). My mother wasn’t really from Nogales, she was an orphan whose grandmother, Mama Ché (Mercedes Moreno Corrales) and grandaunt (Francisca Moreno Corrales de Soto) lived in Nogales. They were very, very traditional Catholic women with their black clothes and their black scarves and their black head-coverings. They were the ones the neighbors might have been worried about, along with other levels of ignorance about a culture they had not chosen to familiarize themselves with.
We moved in and there were five kids in the family along with friends and relatives from both the United States and Mexico that would drop in regularly. Nothing ever came of the ‘excitement’ and ultimately, 50 years later, we were one of the last ‘American’ families to move out of Noon Street. I will never know when the transition was made, but it’s pretty interesting to know that perspectives and cultural awarenesses, also changed during that time.
Alfredo Boubion bought the house when my parents built a house on the top of Noon St, with his seven children. Alfredo was my Dad’s right-had-man and the business manager of the Complete Auto & Home Supply Company, but that’s another story.
I remember Doña Abigail. She was a viata, a devotee, at Sacred Heart Church down the hill from the house. She was always at the church and she’d scold us kids for ditching catechism or laughing in church or for not wearing our hats.
My Mother said she sat for her when she was a child so Doña Abigail had been around for a l-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng time. She lived on the corner of Elm and Rodriquez so she was a hop, skip and a jump from the altar.
I remember her biscochuelos, the best cookies I’ve ever tasted. They were made with corn flour, no eggs, rolled into little round circles by hand. Sometimes I would visit her and ‘help’ her make biscochuelos, my ulterior motive was, of course, to eat as many as I wanted raw or cooked.
I lived between my United States and Mexican culture all the time and this was one example of it. I was a Brownie, a young Girl Scout, and I was Arthur Doan’s daughter who loved anything U.S. Army. I was Olga Doan’s daughter who knew feng shui before her time and declared that sheets would scream if they were not tidy. I learned how to make a tight bed that you could dance a coin on.
I would look into Doña Abigail’s bedroom if I had to go to the bathroom and her bed was NEVER made. I guess that was life without parents. Her sheets and covers and pillows just sat in the middle of the bed all messed up. As far as ‘Cada cabeza es un mundo’ the refrain made sense to me because she was such a respected woman in the community and she didn’t make her bed. Little did I know that, one day, I would not be dancing coins on my bed, my bed covering now are ‘free flowing’ agents of delight. I never learned to make the biscochuelos, but I make a mean bed.