Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My grandpa

As the school year ended the kids brought home their report cards.  I am happy about the grades :)  They ended the school year pounds heavier, inches taller, wiser and more mature when they entered fifth and first year respectively.

They also brought back home lots and lots of papers, worksheets, art projects, essays, poetry books, crayons and pencil boxes.  Big projects and little things that I treasure.  They worked hard and they do deserve a break!

One of the project Sophia brought home was one that specially touched my heart when she worked on it and now that is back home I'd like to share part of it with you.  She worked on a heritage project.  She decided to do it on my side of the family.  She interview my mom and my late grandpa was featured on a little corner of the project.

Jose Cruz Flores 1918-1995

This is my grandpa Jose Cruz Flores, born in 1918 in Jalisco Mexico.  He was a well respected man in his town.  They called him Don Cruz.  People talked about him in admiration when he came down the hills riding his white horse and his guns by his side.

He was a hard working man that hardly finished first grade.  He didn't know how to read nor write but the only thing he knew how to write was his own name. He wrote it often in every single paper he could 'Jose Flores'.

He worked in the bracero program, which hired the services of laborers from Mexico to the United States.  He worked in the cotton fields in Algodones, California between the years of 1942 and 1950.  Many years later he relocated his family to Tijuana Mexico where me and my brothers were born.

He was a loving grandpa he granted us gran kids everything our heart desired I don't mean financially but I could say we could get away with lots of things :)  We called him Papa Cruz He gave us soda in baby bottles when we were school kids (thanks Papa Cruz for all the cavities in my childhood).  You know I don't drink coffee now but the smell of Nescafe never fails to bring back memories of my grandpa.  As kids he used to give us black coffee and we dipped a 'Mexican birote' in it (imagine a fat-baguette)...Nice memories but I am glad I kicked the coffee habit at a young age.

He once promised my younger brother a purple horse!  He used to carry each one of the grand kids in his arms and say 'let me weight you, oh my you've gained weight' he used to say every time, 'you're definitely heavier!'.  He was also a tough and strong man.  If one of us scrapped his or her knee it was best not to make a show or cry in front of him because he scolded us immensely so it was best to keep the pain in secret than hearing him scolding us  'I told you not to go there, not to do this or that..." he would go on and on.   He used to curse a lot too...in front of the kids :/

When my immediately family moved to the U.S.  and we visited my grandparents house he asked us 'so do you speak English now?  Talk to me in English.    I know English he would say.  And then say a couple of phrases in English.  He was funny too.

Everybody in the neighborhood loved Don Cruz.  He was a good cook too and loved for that!  He only cooked on the weekends.  On Saturdays he would marinate carne asada (grilled beef) on Sundays he would make caldo de res (beef stew).  He used to make big quantities and feed whoever visited his house.  Of course he had many visitors.  Best carne asada and caldo de res I've ever had! 

I miss him.  I am also glad that through this heritage project Sophia could learn a little bit about the great loving man he was. 

He's been feature here in my shop!

and here!
I love you Papa Cruz!


  1. What a loving tribute, from you and Sophia both!

  2. What a post! I so enjoyed reading about him. And what a special relationship you had with him!

  3. Beautiful tribute Claudia. I love that photo! Sophia must have really enjoyed learning about him. :)


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