We moved to Miami in the summer of 1984. My mother was one month away from giving birth to my younger brother Jon. It was a difficult time for all of us, including my parents. They had grown up in Salt Lake and lived there the majority of their lives (except for a year or so when my father’s family lived in Spain while he was in high school). It was hard to be the ones to move, leaving the safety net of extended family behind, venturing out to an unknown.
I remember the big going away party where family and friends gathered, wishing us well, getting smothered with hugs and kisses, and seeing so many people cry! The U-Haul was loaded with all of our stuff. My mom’s brother Ed would drive with my dad taking all our belongings to Miami. The rest of us (three kids, my mom and Ed’s wife, Mary) would fly out a week later. Guelita (my mom’s mother) sewed matching skirts and blouses for Vanessa and I to wear on our first airplane ride. I also wonder if the outfits were to help my mother keep track of us so we wouldn’t get lost.
[inset matching outfit photos here. You’ll just have to use your imagination my mom can’t find the photo!] Hooray to my aunt Kim!! She had copies of the photos. She’s hugging my sister and I in the photo below. Looks like my brother was once a Ute fan! He’s matching in red too. Isn’t he cute?
The plane ride was a ton of fun! My little brother Pere, who was three, LOVED looking out the window. He couldn’t get enough of the little broccoli (trees) and toy cars. My Aunt Mary, the angel that she is, really kept us occupied and happy. Mary and Ed have always been the kind to help others, no matter what. Their generosity at this time, leaving their own children behind to help us move, has never been forgotten.Another lesson I learned from this experience, young as I was (6), was how a couple – a husband and wife – supports one another, leans on each other, helps each other to fulfill their dreams for their family, going where they feel the Lord has called them to go.
My mother, thanks to my sister being born three weeks late, was able to complete her college finals and receive a teaching degree. She worked while my father went to medical school at the University of Utah. She supported him again in Miami, teaching while he fulfilled his residency requirements. Anyone who has been through a medical residency knows how **financially difficult it is. Then add what would be a total of five children to the mix – and there’s a whole lot of prayer and faith and miracles that follow.
Back in Salt Lake while we watched my father and Uncle Ed drive off we all cried. I cried because it would be a week before I could see my papito again. My mother cried because we were actually moving. Guelito (my mom’s dad) hugged her and told her that he had promised Guelita’s mother when they moved that he would someday take her back to Mexico. After all these years he still had not been able to do it. He then told my mom, “Peter says that he will bring you back someday. Don’t get your hopes up for you need to be where your husband’s work takes him.” I learned from watching my parents that working together and sacrificing together draws couples, and a family closer to one another.
**As a funny side note, as children we really weren’t aware of the financial hardships my parents were going through in Miami. Several years ago my mom and I were discussing something and she mentioned that while we lived in Miami we were on WIC (a government program). “Really?” I asked. My mother replied, “Why do you think we ate so much beans and rice while we lived there? The beans and rice went further than most other foods.” “Oh, I thought we ate those because we were Mexican!”