|Roberta and Reyes in their new home|
My grandmother, Roberta/Bobbie, was of Irish/German extraction and the daughter of migrant farmers who followed the work between Wyoming and Colorado. They eventually moved to the Central Valley of California not long after the Great Depression for better work and where she was born. When her parents eventually retired, it was to a sleeping coastal town on the Central Coast.
My grandfather, Reyes/Ray, was Puerto Rican. He was in the middle of 16 brothers and sisters. He took on many jobs growing up which included working on a cattle ranch in the East Bay across from San Francisco. He took care of the horses and worked the cattle.
At the tender age of 13 (some family suggest it was a little later), at the height of the Great Depression, he decided to go out and make his way in the world. He eventually ended up on the Central Coast where he worked long hours and earned a reputation as a hard worker. This is also where he met my grandmother.
They married in 1942 right after she graduated high school. She was 18 and he was 23. My father was born the following year.
My grandfather was a hard worker his whole life. His motto: If there's time to lean, there's time to clean. He ran a clean shop! Another motto: Never put anything on credit. If you don't have the money, you can't afford it. A home mortgage was the exception.
Around the time of their marriage, they started their own business and continued that hard work ethic. But in his spare time, he continued his love of working with animals. He had a horse called Silver and a dog called Coco, and the three became famous in the region, participating in all the big parades and events. Coco was a performance dog who could climb up and down ladders, walk upright while carrying a parasol, and loved riding on the back of the horse.
|Reyes with Coco on the beach|
|Reyes with Coco and Silver, Butterfly Parade|
My grandmother was the quintessential housewife--staying home to raise a family, kept a beautiful home, and cooked tasty meals for her family.
I feel my grandparents were an amazing couple. She was migrant farmer's daughter and he was the son of a poor rancher. They found each other, created a life and family together, and made a name for themselves with in their community.
They remained married for 47 years before my grandfather passed suddenly in 1989. She never remarried. Because of this couple, they left a lasting legacy that includes four children, eight grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren.
Can't ask for more than that.