My mom, Sarah Salcido Galindo, was born January 1928 in Jerome, Arizona a small coal mining town. Her life’s journey was not an easy one.
Her father died when she was a young girl. Her mother, Fernanda, forged forward as a pillar of determination, resourcefulness and stubbornness to support her nine children. Mom had the perfect example of facing and overcoming adversity, her mother.
She and my dad, Augustine, married in 1947 and had 5 children. Life was not kind to them; there were many struggles, but she performed miracles with very little money.
She made all of our clothes. Admittedly I did not like that she used the same fabric to make shirts for my dad and brothers, dresses for her, my sisters and I because she could buy the same fabric pattern for less money.
Meals were always homemade flour tortillas, beans, sopa, eggs, and occasionally ground beef mixed with potatoes. She taught us that we could have more fun making mud pies, rock trails, and searching for Rolly Polly’s in our dirt backyard rather than having new toys.
Christmas was always a sad day for mom as a child because they didn’t have money to celebrate or for gifts. She was determined to give us the Christmas she never had and bought our Christmas gifts at second hand stores. One of my fondest memories is a Christmas morning when my sisters and I saw our dolls all had beautiful new dresses and matching ribbons in their hair. She made the dresses from an old bridesmaid dress.
Our old raggedy dolls looked so beautiful and fashionable. It was exciting to see them go from tired, old dolls to looking like princesses. That was the year they didn’t even have money to buy us gifts at a secondhand store—the best Christmas ever!
Once we started school, she became an advocate and an important voice in the community. She took us to various meetings and voiced her support or opposition to all issues that would impact East Los Angeles and in turn affected her children.
She always told us that she wanted a better life for us. She and my dad didn’t graduate from school. It was frustrating that they couldn’t help us with our homework. But she didn’t accept that as an excuse for us not to do our homework. She encouraged us to graduate and work hard toward a successful career.
On March 1, 1968 mom took her advocacy to the next level when she told my sister and I to walk out of school and be part of the East Los Angeles Walkouts and demand education reform. As a senior at Garfield High School I hesitated for a minute because I worried that as a punishment I might not be allowed to graduate in June. Mom taught me we have to take action, take a position, take a risk, make our voice heard to effect change, and I proudly walked out at 10 am as she had asked me to do.
Mother’s Day 2018. Mom is 90, dad is 95. In June they will be married 71 years. They have five successful children. We’re so blessed to still have my mom and dad with us to celebrate “her” day. She is still an incredible force and influence in our lives. She demands we reach for the seemingly impossible, stay involved in our community and make a “Galindo” difference.
When I look at a picture of my mom as a young girl I think about her life growing up. I see her hardships, struggles, creativity, determination, and successes. My parents still live in East LA in the house I was raised.
My Mother’s Day message to my mom is you are the richest mother I know. You met your goals, you succeeded in improving your community, you raised grateful, successful children, and as you always tell us, “be proud of who you are and that you were raised in ELA.”
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.