Growing Up in a Mexican American Home

Memories of East Los Angeles

By Cynthia Sylvia De La Loza
Published on LatinoLA: December 16, 2004

Growing Up in a Mexican American Home

These memories I will never forget. I'm proud to have lived in that era and being a Mexican American. We never struggled, if we did, dad didn?t let us know about it. Dad worked hard, we had a decent home, always clean and with a lot of love there. Walking home from school, you could smell the freshly made tortillas and knew mom made them.

There were nine children. Growing up in E.L.A. was so wonderful.

I can still hear these words; I tol' you, Wait for me, I know. huh, Here comes the cucui, Here comes the Llarona, Where?s my chancla? She?s a metiche, Who took the last tamale? Hey, those were my tortillas. Mom made those tortillas for me.

Hearing mom?s loud speaker playing Mexican records, dad?s loud speaker playing Glenn Miller Band records.

Daddy made menudo. ?Cabezas!? Hearing these words from my uncle when realizing the barbacoa was done at 6:00 AM coming from the backyard, underground cooking. Making a trash can out of a brown paper bag. Coming back from a party and being able to warm your feet using your three other sister's feet, ha ha, we all shared a bed.

Grandma, Mama Chiquita coming over and making you speak Spanish and pray the rosary before bed every night. Caldo, yum, my friends called it ?Project? food. Daddy using my mom?s stocking to catch the lint from the dryer.

Asking dad if we could go across the street to see Flipper in color, they had a color tv, we had black and white and of course, dad saying ?No.?

Seeing daddy?s Purple Heart medal from WWII, tucked inside his desk, understanding why he limped, yet knowing how proud he was to work two jobs and never complain.

Saying, ?Hey daddy, those white people over there?,? dad stopping and interrupting us abruptly, picking up a white envelope and his question was, ?Are they as white as this envelope?" Our answer, ?No." His next statement, ?Then they aren?t white.?

Daddy?s best quote, ?Show me who your friends are and I?ll tell you who you are and what you are.?

Thank you for allowing me to share my story. My siblings and I have all grown up and are far away from E.L.A. Dad and mom are gone many years now. I think they died too young, sixty-two and sixty-six years old respectively. Sometimes I drive by our home and reminisce?.

About Cynthia Sylvia De La Loza:
Hello, I am Cynthia Sylvia De La Loza, I was born in East Los Angeles. I am proud to be a Mexican American. I was born on January 19, 1954. I grew up three blocks away from East Los Angeles College. If you'd like to contact me,

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