Then she pops her favorite question: "Tienes hambre?"
By nightfall, it's time for a movie on Channel 13. Again, Grandma will let me know if I miss anything.
Glimpses of a Life
One particular night as the movie unfolded, so did Grandma's life story, an off-limits topic if there had ever been one.
Born in 1902, she said she hardly knew her parents. When she was 17, my father was born. Six years later she moved to the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez across from El Paso to find work There she gave birth to my aunt Hortensia.
She and her two children were on their own when she met a Ft. Bliss soldier, Marcelino Ramos. They were married in a Mexican civil ceremony in 1930, and later repeated their vows in a church in 1933.
In 1936, Marcelino, Grandma and her two offspring came to Los Angeles, settling in an area near 8th and San Mateo streets on the southern edge of downtown, now an industrial area.
Well, things didn't work out. Marcelino left, the Army was looking for him, he married someone else. (What happened to the divorce, Grandma?) By now her memory seemed to be getting deliberately hazy.
Finally she concluded with the inevitable, "Are you hungry?"
I finally decided to eat.
If life at 812 N. Record Ave. is pleasurable for Grandma, then the opposite was true for my parents.
Miguel Antonio Vargas Ramos and Maria Santos Medina were newlyweds when they moved into 812 N. Record Ave. in 1946. The prospect of living there did not excite them at all.
-- They saw no future in the house for a young family, given the surroundings and the condition of the dwelling. It didn't come close to the post-World War II housing tracts being built in places like Lakewood.
-- There was no possibility of expanding the house. It already had been expanded to add the bedroom, bathroom, porch and garage.
-- There was no door-to-door mail delivery. Mail had been delivered down at the corner of Record and Floral Drive, about 300 yards downhill from our house, since the homes on Record were built.
-- The same situation existed for trash collection. It had to be hauled down to Record and Floral, no easy task for residents living up the hill where Record trailed off, a distance of about half a mile.