Once Upon a Time...
On July 31, 1915, my grandfather, Simon Hernandez, was admitted to the United States as an immigrant.
Soon after, he met my grandmother, Soledad, and together, they made a beautiful life here.
Both migrant workers, their daughter, my mother, Corinne, grew up in the cherry fields of Fresno, often picking green cherries, though she was warned not to. My grandfather had to pay for those!
Years later, my mother met my father, Donald, a retired sailor who settled in El Paso. Originally named April, my name was quickly changed to favor my dad after my grandmother tucked a note in his hand a day after my birth and sent it to my mother in the hospital. It was written in Spanish: "No seas así. Por favor cambia el nombre de la niña a Donna porque se sintió el vato."
My five siblings and I had the best of both worlds growing up on the border, learning and living our Mexican heritage and our southern roots, treasuring both cultures through the precious stories our both sets of grandparents told, and though we had a terribly humble upbringing, there was never an absence of delicious and traditional Mexican dishes and soul food on our table.
Now we're all married and parents ourselves, and life just gets more magnificent.
These stories, these people, are who and what inspires everything I do and very often as you will see, my writing.
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