Oral History

Childhood

My name is Cruz, but everyone calls me Tita. I grew up in Cd. Mante, Tamaulipas Mexico.

QuoteWhen I was just a little girl, after a long day of chores and getting yelled at by my mother I would climb out my window into the arms of a mango tree that was always waiting for me. From atop this tree I would look at the stars and imagine them alive and able to listen to my problems. I was just a little girl but I was already dreaming about moving out.

I remember I had a very strained relationship with my mother. She always wanted the house to be spotless and if it wasn’t she would often get very angry and hit us. I never understood why my sisters and I had to suffer the physical blows that my mother was so fond of giving.

My relationship with my dad was much better. He was a trailero, a truck driver, and he was usually away but whenever he was back he would protect us from my mother. I remember that whenever he was supposed to be back my mother always had hot food ready at the table. My father liked to have us sitting as a family, so it was always my sisters, (four of us total) and my mother sitting around my dad at the head of the table. My mom always went out of her way to give my dad the best plate, sometimes it was the only plate. What I liked about my dad is that he would always ask, “Have the girls eaten yet?”, and my mother would always answer “No, this is all the food that we have”. My dad would always tell her to feed us first and if there was any left over he would eat from that. That’s one of the things that I loved about my father, he might have been an alcoholic but he was always taking care of us any way he could.

I think we all had our own little ways of dealing with the problems at home. I threw myself into my school work. I was always a very good student, teachers would say I was very intelligent and well mannered. I’m very proud to say that I never caused any major problems and always brought home good grades. I think the most rebellious thing I did as a child was to climb out my window when I supposed to be asleep. My sisters however, were a different story. My sister Cristina was always playing in the streets and going from house to house bothering people because she didn’t want to be at home. My Sister Cheli would run off to my grandma’s house. Ver├│nica, my younger sister, was spoiled so she didn’t really need to run off or go anywhere. My mother always forgave anything she did. She would often get out of cleaning the house while the rest of us were on our knees scrubbing the floor. Even with this preferential treatment that she was getting we were really close and we always stood up for each other.

Education and Dreams