(Photo Charles Lenida)
I was born and raised in the Inland Empire of Southern California. If you have never been to Southern California, the Inland Empire is about 40 minutes from Los Angeles and 30 minutes from the beaches. It is a lot of desert, winds, warehouses, citrus, and freeways. It is beautiful and it is ugly, and it is my home.
My parents were born in Mexico. My dad is from Sinaloa, and mother is from Guanajuato. They met after they had both crossed the border and had been living in the U.S. a few years. Those early years for them were tough. My mom worked looking after an older couple and cleaning their house, and later in the kitchen of a convalescent hospital. She often worked double shifts, to make ends meet. My dad worked putting RVs together, and later as a cabinet installer, which he still does now.
As a kid I grew up in Corona-a small city that used to be filled with citrus, and even touted a racetrack, now one of the main streets. Because my parents worked so much, an elderly couple helped raised me, Victor and Lucia; they became my abuelitos. Both of them have now passed away, but I still miss them very much. I went to Garretson Elementary School, Corona Fundamental Intermediate School, and Santiago High School, and when I graduated, I went to Cal State San Bernardino. I had some of the best teachers, and some of the not so best teachers, but all of this help me become who I am today.
When I was a kid my mom would walk my brother and I to the library, a couple miles from our house in Riverside. That library will soon become the The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture, and Industry of the Riverside Art Museum, or “The Cheech.” I would always take home too many books to carry, but my mom always helped me with the load. She was always very encouraging when it came to school and reading. Some of my fondest memories of time spent with my mom are when I was learning how to read and she would sit and read Amelia Bedelia to me.
I have one younger brother, and he’s pretty cool, but I still do my best to embarrass him by dancing in public or making inappropriate jokes. An older sister’s job is never done.
I write fiction for children, young adults, adults, older adults, and ghosts. I also write poetry. I am an avid pizza and taco eater. Pizza being my favorite food, and tacos a close second. You can read about why I write in my first blog post, titled, “Why I Write.”