***Ourstories: I'm hoping to document some of our stories past in this series.***
My mother was born in DF (Mexico City). Bada (my Abuela) was in a movie theater when she knew it was time for my mother to arrive - she and my Abuelo left mid-movie to welcome my mother.
My Abuelo was something of a nomad which meant that my mother moved around a lot in her early years and my Abuelo was often on the road (often with my mother in tow). He was an engineer and he worked on airports, roads and dams all over southern Mexico. He was instrumental to bringing potable water to many of the small pueblos - my mother remembers him bringing home water samples from all over to test. He designed and built reservoirs that supplied small towns where the homes had no plumbing with safe water.
So after my mother was born they were not in DF for long before the family moved. When my mother was just a few months old (I guess it runs in my family to move with a newborn) they moved to San Luis Potosi where they lived until my mother was about a year old. After that they moved to Villahermosa, Tabasco where they stayed until my mother was three years old.
My mom doesn't remember much from this time except that it was hot - VERY hot. Extremely hot. She used to climb into the mop bucket naked to cool down. She remembers climbing under the low coffee table in their house to feel the cool of the tile on her back and cool of the glass from the coffee table on her tummy. They would often go swimming at the local balneario. Her parents would call out, "Lupita, vamonos a nadar!" and she would grab her straw hat and her rolled up petate (straw mat) under her little arm and be ready to go. She remembers bada putting clay from the balneario on her face as a mask.
In the afternoons my Bada would sit my mother in the window of their home that faced the street to people watch. The wall of the house was right up against the sidewalk and the tall windows had bars on the outside (which kept my mother from wandering away as much as it kept strangers out) and tall wooden shutters that opened into the home. At this time people didn't say "Adios", but rather the French "Adieu." My mother is not entirely sure why, but her recollection of my Bada's explanation was that it was a carryover over from the Plutarco Elias Calles presidency and his anti-Catholic policies. (This must have been around 1956/7 and Calles left office in 1928) Anyway, my mother would sit in the window to watch the passersby and from the kitchen my Bada would hear different voices calling out "Adieu, Lupita, Adieu!" as they walked by.
My mother had a nanny in Tabasco with a dirty mouth. She taught my mother to say, "Anale, quero mi talate, cabona!" Which means (Andale quiero mi chocolate, Cabrona!) "Get a move on, I want my hot cocoa, *beep*beep*beep*" Apparently my Bada found this hilarious.
My mother slept in a hammock at foot of her parents' bed and when she would stir they would give it a little kick to rock it back and forth so she would fall back to sleep. That wasn't her only hammock, though. My Abuelo drove a canvas top jeep and in the back he fashioned a cotton rope hammock. It just hung in the back from the jeep's frame. They would plop my mother in the hammock in the evenings and go out for a dusk drive. The cool air blowing through the open car would help my mother fall asleep in the tropical heat.