My Welita (what I called her) was a beautiful woman. She was giving to each and every one of her children and grandchildren. She was also a character. I had the misfortune of only knowing her for maybe 4 years of my life (of what I can remember from my sometimes absent childhood). It may have been less time. I know I was born in Los Angeles (East LA), but we moved to New Hampshire for a short time, then we moved back. However, she made an impact on my life. I remember her dancing to cumbias. I remember the cousins throwing each other in her cactus, the same cactus she made nopales from. There were little white flowers that grew around her house. To this day, they are my favorite flower as they remind me of her. I remember her house always smelled of boiling beans and Folgers coffee. I remember, when I would stay over her house, I would sleep between her and Mickey. When we would wake up, she would cook her regular breakfast of oatmeal (she called it Avena). She would always save the oatmeal that stuck to her little silver pot and hand me a spoon to scrape it off so I could eat it. She also would make me a piece of toast, like her, to eat with it. To this day, when I have oatmeal, I always have to have buttered toast. I remember the coin purse that always came out of her apron when the ice cream man or Helms Bakery would ring by. I remember her rolled down socks or nylons on her ankles. I remember her floral aprons, always with many safety pins hanging from it in a row. I remember her long salt and pepper braid, before she cut her hair short. She would stand in front of a mirror and her little hands would quickly braid up her hair. Then she would wrap it around her head and use bobbie pins to hold it. Most of all, I remember the sting of her belt she wore around her waist. We all knew we were bad when she would call out our names and then start speaking in Spanish. The belt would come off and we would run in every direction. I only remember once or twice that belt got me -- because we were in a dangerous ravine she told us to stay out of. I remember her holding me – I’d lay my head on her shoulders, and she had what I called “wings” under her arms that I used to just squish and hold in my little hands – that was how I would go to sleep when she held me. This was a woman who had 13 children, two of which she lost when they were babies or small. Then she had a bazillion grandkids, who she showed love to each and every one. There was always something to eat at her house. And, everyone gathered there. She taught her children about God and they attended the Catholic Church. I remember going to Trinity. She left us way too early, however, I live in the hope of seeing her again and having a reunion in heaven with her.
As Written & Painted By Her Granddaughter – Cynthia “Cindy” Koch (Tiny’s Daughter)