Mom’s ID Card at the Marfa Airbase
Last Monday, my Mom passed away early that morning. She lived to be 90 years old and was closing in on her 91st birthday. She lived a long fruitful life raising six children.
During WWII she contributed to the effort as a Rosie the Riveter working on aircraft landing gear. She was very proud doing that and it always brought back memories when I showed her pictures of aircraft of that era. She talked about how she used to get rides on the planes and how thrilling it was. After meeting my Dad and getting married they moved down to the Valley to live and raise their family. Later she started going to school to get her degree in Education so that she could become a teacher. She started as a teacher’s aid at the Jr High school in Mission. Later, she went on to teach at Cantu elementary and in Alton as well. Eventually she got her Masters degree in Education at A&I in Kingsville. She did all of this while maintaining a full house, and working at the same time. She was a student, a teacher, a great mom and a faithful wife all rolled into one package. Overall, she was with the Mission CISD for 19 years! It is rare these days for someone to commit to one employer but, that’s the way it was back then.
I mention her being a teacher because as I was cleaning out a file cabinet, that she used to store documents, I ran across a handwritten essay that she wrote back in 1984 while she was going to school. I read the title and found it interesting so, I proceeded to read it. I went ahead and copied the essay and now present it here unedited.
The Least Age I Would Like to Be
By Ella Garza
Dr. Manual Salinas
February 20, 1984
I can just picture myself an elderly woman eighty years old. Isn’t that the age when most people, who have otherwise been healthy and independent, start declining in health and mental capability? On the other hand, I would say yes. By then I will have been admitted to a so called rest home where your life style changes completely because of all the rules that you have to abide by. Where they tell you when to wake up, when to eat, when to bathe and when to turn off the light at night. Life in a rest home is so different and so strange that I am just having a terrible time getting adjusted to it.
Why am I in a rest home? I am in a rest home because my retirement check of a mer $300.00 a month is not enough to make me self-supporting. My children who are all grown up, married and with a family of their own are financially unable to support me and to care for me at home. There’s also the problem of my health which has been deteriorating very fast the last few years. The strokes that I suffered recently has required that I get special medical attention which is available only at rest homes for the price that I can afford to pay. However, this place that I am confined to is so crowded and so understaffed that you do not always get the attention that you need when you need it. My illness has deprived mess much of my independence that now I have to rely on the medical staff to help me with my personal needs. But, of course, this is one of the consequences of being old and is the price that we have to pay for being part of the human race.
Sometimes I feel that I have been neglected and not being loved anymore by anyone. Days seem like weeks and weeks seem like years when my children don’t come to see me but, of course, this is only a side effect of my illness and my feebleness. My children do come to visit me often, even those that live far away, and so do my priest and members of my church. They do visit me every week and bring me flowers or some other gift to perk me up. Then tire’s the social worker that comes at least once a month to see that I’m getting the proper services that are available to people like me.
In concluding I might say that life is not what I would want it to be, but again it is not all that bad. Thanks to all the friends and concerned people that surround me.
For her efforts, my Mom got a B+ for the assignment.
It’s an interesting perspective of what she was thinking back in 1984 and how close she was in her prediction of the future. We never put my Mom in that rest home she was writing about, there was no need to. She stayed active and lived in her house for as long as her 90 years of life would allow. It was her decision to go to a Hospice Facility and we supported her on it.
We all love our Moms and I’m no different. She will be missed by many and by me.
Bye Mom, I Love You!