Before I was an abuelita…
Part of what I love about writing fiction is discovering the “backstory” of each character. I suppose this is as good a place as any to write my backstory, and tell you a little about my project.
Currently, I reside in Crossville, TN and, according to the lady at the bank, I am a “homemaker” – I have never been a “homemaker” before, so I’m learning as I go! Apparently, the First National Bank of Tennessee does not recognize “crazy cat lady in training” as a valid occupation. I moved here with my husband, Tom, when he was called as rector of St. Raphael Episcopal Church in January 2016; however, I am not a minister’s wife – I just happen to be married to a minister.
Originally, I hail from New Mexico, most recently, Carlsbad (actually, a non-incorporated area known as Otis, which I describe as 40 miles south of Artesia). My family actually lived in Bovina, Texas until I was nearly 6 years old, so I consider myself a Texan. Anyway, I attended school in Clovis, NM where I graduated with Honors and meandered around trying to figure out my life’s purpose, eventually attending Eastern New Mexico University. I received an Associate of Science degree (with Honors) in Criminal Justice; the plan was to also graduate with a B.S. in Political Science, but I got a little sidetracked and wound up with my Mrs. instead… and three sons (and subsequently, six precious babies who can call me “Weelita”)! Someday, I may finish that degree. The jobs, hobbies, and sidetracks in my background have little if anything to do with Criminal Justice or with The Abuelita Project. But they are all a part of who I am and will wriggle their respective ways into my stories – both factual and fictional.
The Abuelita Project is still evolving – I am hopeful I will find people interested in preserving their stories – both the frivolous and the serious, the truth and the daring, the history and the fantasy. My friend in New Mexico, Terri Hamilton, inspired me to do this, as she inspires me to do many, many things!
Basically, we have all heard and/or said, “I wish…” that a relative or friend who has passed away or otherwise may no longer be able to write or record the tales of their lives, had written a journal, composed a scrapbook, filmed a video – something to save their experiences to share with others, specifically, their loved ones.
Walk up to anyone you know, or a random stranger, and ask if they have a picture of their child/grandchild/fur-child and you will likely be treated to an animated and delighted conversation about their special little one as they scroll through all the images on their phone. But how many of those same folks have a photo of their grandparents? Some of us may not even have a recent photo of ourselves with our significant other unless we’re selfie-pros!
What would it mean to YOU to be able to read your Grandpa’s tale about the time when… or to peruse the love letters he wrote to your Granny while he was serving overseas in the military? These things are usually not documented, protected, or cataloged for public consumption. Nor should they be. Unless Grandpa signed the treaty at the Malta Summit, it’s highly likely he never had his name in a history book or even a newspaper other than birth, graduation, marriage or death announcements. His stories aren’t necessarily those you would want to share with the general public. But to have for yourselves, for your children, and for their children – just ask someone who has done extensive genealogy or who is fortunate enough to have other records of their own family history just how precious they are.
For me, it’s all about the personal experience. It may not have been important or interesting or relevant, but I would hope my children would be tickled to hear about the old Rambler station wagon my aunt used to drive – school bus yellow with a broad red stripe and a parrot green gas cap! And about the time it wasn’t quite in “park” and rolled across the parking lot at the high school! How embarrassing! Especially since hunky John H. was the one to stop it! I don’t really want to tell them about the first time I “drove” – at age 5 – but they might enjoy knowing that I wasn’t always as cool and awesome as I am now!!
As usual, I digress… the primary point of The Abuelita Project is to record the everyday moments in our lives and the everyday moments in our past so that they will be available for the future. I hope you will join me on this crazy journey and find your way to save your personal history for your progeny.