First Person: Tracy native shares story
Nov 02, 2012 | 4866 views | 7 7 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A community altar honoring members of the Tracy community who have died, including Southside native Lupe Morelos Garcia, is displayed Wednesday, Oct. 31, at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts.
A community altar honoring members of the Tracy community who have died, including Southside native Lupe Morelos Garcia, is displayed Wednesday, Oct. 31, at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts.
• Editor’s note: Members of Tracy’s Latino community will celebrate the Day of the Dead today and Saturday, Nov. 3. On those two days, prayers for the dead are given at special altars at the Guadalupe Center, 126 W. First St. One of those ancestors for whom family members will offer Day of the Dead prayers is Lupe Morelos Garcia. For a number of years, she was a major leader of the center. She died in 2003 at the age of 72. Thanks to her daughter, Esther Garcia Kelly, here is her story, in her own words:

On Jan. 5, only five days into the year 1932, I was born to a humble Mexican family on the Southside of Tracy. I was the 11th child born to Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Morelos at 19 E. First St.

My parents had come to Tracy from San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. My grandparents came to Tracy before my parents, and they were the ones who helped them come to Tracy.

My mother and father spoke no English, so when it came time for me to be born, my mother had to get someone who spoke English to call the doctor for her.

At the age of about 4 weeks, I became very ill, and my mother says that I almost died. She really couldn’t explain what my illness was. I passed the crisis, but then at the age of 4 years, I had a ruptured appendix, and at that time I almost died. I was given up ’til midnight to live. If I was alive by midnight, the doctor said I would survive. I survived.

Even though we were a very large family, my mother kept our house so spick-and-span. I remember how she would get up so early in the morning to chop wood with an ax for the wood stove we had.

My father would make up games for us to play. One was the Coyote. He would draw the game on a box and we would use pinto beans almost like a Chinese checkers game. We were poor, but we were happy poor.

My dear father was a carpenter, and he would build cabins all by himself with a little help of my brothers. These cabins he rented, and that seemed to help the income of our home. Also, my mother was very budget-minded. We had our ups and downs, but who doesn’t.

At the time of the Second World War, we had a very large accident. My grandmother Anastacia Barrientos and my second cousin Delfino Ortega Jr. were on their way to town from the Southside when they were killed. Living on the Southside, we had to “cross the tracks.”

That day, a train caught my grandmother, and my second cousin tried to save her, but he was only 4 years old and also was killed.

During World War II, my two oldest brothers were both in the Army, Raymond Morelos Sr. in the Philippines and Charlie Romo in Germany.

When they returned home, they were amazed how much I had grown, and how thin I had become.

My father had promised the Virgin Mother of the Lady of Guadalupe that when my brothers returned home safely, he would take them to visit her at the basilica in Mexico City. I was 14 at the time, so my father also took me and my brother to Mexico City.

My sister lived in Mexico City, and we visited her and also went to San Miguel de Allende, where my parents had come from. I was very happy to go on the trip

Going to Mexico was one of the best experiences of my whole life. It was not only pleasant, but educational to see how my ancestors lived in their native country.

I had been brainwashed here in the United States that Americans — Anglos — were superior to the Mexicans, but then I began to believe that no nationality is superior to any other. I believe God provides intelligence and culture for each country.

During the trip to Mexico, I found out so much about Mexicans and their way of living. The beautiful music, art and the blue sky were wonderful. As I was standing on a mountaintop in the hometown of my father, I felt if I reached for the blue sky, I could touch it.

San Miguel was so quaint, so humble and yet so beautiful all around. So much of it had been made by the people with their bare hands, not with machinery. Those are memories that will live with me until I die.

In 1965, I was asked if I wanted to work as a community aide for the Office of Economic Opportunity at the South Tracy Community Center. I had just finished working as a teacher’s aide for Head Start. I talked it over with my husband, Frank, and we decided that I should take the job. I could help others, and the money would help support our five children.

My destiny was that I would help people, and I remember saying once, if God would only give me millions of dollars, I would use it to help out. And while I never got the millions, I was helping people.

I realized that I always liked to help people who don’t speak or write English. I guess the doctor who saved my life when I was 4 days old and then again when I was 4 years old didn’t realize the little girl whom he was helping stay in this world would be so willing to help her own people have a better life here the United States.

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November 05, 2012
My parents also came from another country at an older age and had to learn English as there was no one available who spoke their native language to translate. Did your mother ever learn to speak English? Also, no one forced them to come to America so why would they chose to come here if they felt the "Anglo's" thought they were more superior? My parents came here and have loved and respected this country and the people, or in your words, "Anglo's" who fought, died and worked so very hard to establish the America we know and love. Otherwise, your mom sounds like a very hard working woman who loved her family and her native Mexico. As for the rest of the story, I could have done without the racist and disrespectful comments toward your fellow AMERICANS.
November 05, 2012
It clearly said she was brainwashed into thinking Anglos were superior. You need to read it again. Racism was prevalent in the late 1940's when she was 14 years old. If you found it disrespectful to refer to white Americans as Anglos, here is the meaning:

Anglo (from

1. Informal An Anglo-American.

2. An English-speaking person, especially a white North American who is not of Hispanic or French descent.

Maybe I am being biased, but I have read this story too many times to find the any comment racist or disrespectful. This is how she felt. These are her words and they should not be edited because someone might find them offensive.

--Rosalina, Granddaughter
November 05, 2012
I could be wrong, but we were taught rhat both the anglos and the saxons were both from two parts of Germany.
November 07, 2012
rose1234 - It is a beautiful story minus the comment regarding "Anglo Superiority". There is no need for you to tell me the meaning of the word "Anglos's" or what transpired in the 1940's as I lived through those years and I can tell you that racism is just as prevalent now as it was in the past. It has just been redirected. Example: If I or any other non hispanic individual were to retell a story of the past and I/we refered to Mexicans as "Wet Backs", which is what people used to call them back in 1940, I guarantee you that there would be thousands of reply's from the hispanic community telling me that I was racist. This is the reality of today. In closing, I understand your bias as this is your mother and grandmother, but it is what it is and I do not understand why the comment even had to be included in the story at all as it should have been a focus on your grandmother and not your monther's opinion regarding "Anglo superiority". Thank you!
November 08, 2012
lulugiles -Again, these are my grandmother's words. Lupe is my grandmother. My aunt, not my mom, did not add any of her own opinions in this story regarding Anglo superiority. This story is a journal entry my grandmother wrote herself years before she died. If you read it again my grandma realized that Anglos were not superior to Mexicans. It is an important part of her story. The focus is not on how Anglos were superior. --->The focus is on how she believes each culture is unique and no nationality is superior to any other nationality.<---
November 04, 2012
Lupe Garcia was my mom Julia Morelos Adame's sister. I will never forget my Tia Lupe's kindness. Even when we went to visit her in the hospital, she had a smile on her face and even comforted us. She truly lived to fulfill her destiny. Thank you, Esther so much for sharing this beautiful story with us.

Linda Adame Verdugo
November 02, 2012
Thanks for sharing. Very insightful.

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