My mother was a natural and gifted storyteller; one of those who has a capacity for telling a story multiple times and 90% of the story remains the same - dialogue, rhythm, and intonation of character's quotes.
She was my bridge to history and to writing. In her stories it was clear that she was part of a groundbreaking generation of Mexican Americans. She became bilingual and served as a bridge to her parents in this new land. She spoke English and functioned as La Abogada (the lawyer) from a very young age.
Her role is common to young children of immigrants; a part of both worlds - the most talented understand the subtle rules which will guide them. They figure out how to balance familia y patria/family and country. They learn how to let both parts of your life know that you value them equally and that you identify with where you come from as well as where you are living.
Because she was such a fine storyteller she was abel to keep that sensitivity in the background of the stories that she shared. Her stories were always about people, their experiences and their emotions. It was history that could often be dark that was buoyed by heart and humor.
This has always been one of my favorite pictures of my mom. It was taken in downtown Los Angeles, shortly after World War II; a short-while after she left Pueblo. Her life is at a crossroads although she doesn't know it. In less than a decade she will become a wife and mother and begin a new journey in a place and time that her parents couldn't even imagine. And she will have even more stories to share for all who would listen.