Alice Valcarce Barreiro was a force to be reckoned with, everyone can attest to that. She was a fighter who never gave up. She grew up through difficult times, the Great Depression and then the Great War. These things only made her stronger. She developed a realistic set of priorities that spelled the formula for success. First, faith. My mother said the rosary every day until she forgot how. She may not have made church every Sunday, but she was always looking to the Lord for support and guidance and had a prayer for every worry.
Then, family. My mother loved her family. She cared for her parents, sisters, and brother and missed them terribly. She was a completely devoted Mother. I have no doubt that my brother and I were the most important things in her life, and after that it was her grandchildren. But the love her life was my father. I found a small and yellowed prayer taped inside an old box of my mother's, it said this, "Some pray to marry the man they love, my prayer will somewhat vary: I humbly pray to heaven above that I love the man I marry." And she did, deeply, for 60 years.
Of course you must work hard. Get a Job. A job equals security, security meant the family could be together. Then, get an education. Get an education so you can get a better job. And excel, do your best and do it right. Alice also knew the value of the dollar. It came from the harsh lessons learned at a young age, to lose her home and be separated from her family taught her that. And then the pain of the losses during the war. She learned not to be wasteful. It was a time when people repaired and repurposed things. Being "green" wasn't a trend, but a necessity.
Always there was pride in her heritage. We were Spanish and everyone knew it. We spoke Castilian and we descended from Ponce De Leon. If it was from Spain, then it was the best.
She was Alice in Wonderland and an original Rosie the riveter, and she loved telling everyone! Mom had a sharp sense of humor. She was that person who always had the right little quip or comment for everyone and everything.
I thought we were tired of hearing these old phrases:
Que se fue a Sevilla...
Mas se perdio en la guerra....
Tiene hambre de quince dias!
And of course,
It's better than the alternative...
But instead I find that I really enjoy saying them now!
Alice slipped away from us so slowly. We thought we had lost her, but I found her in the last few weeks. She will always be with me. For better or worse, she's the voice inside my head which propels me to do better. She has left her mark on all of us. So to my mom I say... wait for me in Sevilla!