By Tyrone A. Moore
Unfortunately, most of us come from “Dysfunctional homes.” My home was no different, and neither was it for my mother Isabella!
My mother came from an environment of domestic violence, race discrimination, male dominance, alcohol/drug addition, limited education, and illiteracy. Her life, as a housewife, or politically correct that we call today… “Stay at home mom,” was a life, that was the epitome of most Hispanic women in her day.
She was half Spanish, and Yaqui Indian, born as a twin in Grand Junction Colorado in 1919. Sadly, the other twin died at birth.
Her parents later moved her and their siblings to Fairbanks Alaska.
Alaska was a far cry from your typical Hispanic family to migrate to. But Alaska, is the native land, of the Eskimo people, who are the decent of the Native Americans, or “Native Indians”. Hispanic people are derive from the Native Indians, and the Spanish settlers, around 1513, but from different regions of the world. I may be wrong, because I am not a bona fide historian, so please do not quote me on the facts.
I was never told how my grandfather, and grandmother, was able to travel all the way from Colorado, to Alaska with small children. But somehow they managed!
Rosa Pérez, barely five feet tall was my grandmother. Her born day was 1902. She was raised in Colorado where she met my grandfather, Juan Perez, at the age 16 years old in 1918. My grandfather was a thin built Hispanic male, with a very distinctive jaw line like that of a chiseled sculpture made of stone. He had very broad shoulders, with a pair of scrawny legs. But his hands were very big that could tear an apple in half! Do you know how hard that is?
My grandfather and grandmother were wedded shortly that year after meeting each other. He was the hardest worker where he worked on a farm in Colorado when they met. He was 20 years old, and lived in a tent on that farm. He came from a family of farmers respectfully. Once married, they moved into a shed-like studio on the farm he worked!
After one year my mother was born, and shortly thereafter, she had three siblings. My two uncles and my aunt. After picking up and moving to Alaska, my grandpa was hired to work at Gastineau Mining Company established in 1915, where over 4000 tons of ore were being crushed on a daily!
Back in those days, mining was practically the only feasible means, a man with minimal skills, or education, could employ to earn an honest living to take care of his family. Although grandpa did not have a degree, or a dimploma, he could read, and write, like a scholar and very accomplished author of several #1 Best Sellers.
Inauspiciously, grandma could not read, or write, English or Spanish. Her lot in life was; lived, in that dreadful word called…”the kitchen! As soon as my mother could hold a plate in one hand, and hold a dish rag in the other hand, she was helping grandma keep the house clean. My mother did not like her mother much because she was very strict. Grandpa on the other hand was a dominant man, but he loved grandma dearly!