From Guerrero, Mexico to Madison, Wisconsin
by Nancy Garduño, age 14
“To live in a land of opportunity for both us and our children is all we want,” my parents told me when I asked about why they came to America.
My mother met my father at a small pond where she was doing laundry for her family of 12. It was not long before they started talking and after a few months realized they had a “love” for each other.
However, because their parents were strict it was difficult for them to spend time together. Espiridion (my dad) eventually took the brave step of showing up unexpectedly at my mother’s home; to ask if she was willing to become his girlfriend. With an immediate response of yes, the two were engaged and eventually married in a Catholic church in Guerrero, Mexico. It was December of 1995.
By that time, Espiridion had already been to the United States three times. And he managed to persuade Gabriela that emigrating to the United States would be the best move. In other words, deciding to make the United States their home meant raising a family in a place with many more opportunities.
And that’s exactly what they did. In January, Gabriela came into the United States for the first time with her sister-in-law, Maria Garduño. Espiridion once again worked at a Denny’s in California.
After a month my father transferred to work in Madison, Wisconsin. Again, my family had to start from scratch, but they did so with their heads held high. Shortly after moving to Madison, I was born. Maria soon found work, and managed to get a place of her own in Verona. Gabriela found a job at Josie’s Spaghetti House, which was also in south Madison. And her boss began teaching her how to read, write, and pronounce English words. Sadly, the restaurant burned down in 2004.
In 2007, my little brother Samuel was born. Four years later, after almost 15 years, my whole family was able to visit my parents’ home in Guerrero, Mexico. It was the summer of 2010 when my parents finally reunited with their families. And Samuel and I met our entire family for the first time, including our grandparents.
In previous years, I had heard friends at school say they were going to their grandparents’ house for the holidays. Now, for the first time I would really get to know my own family. It was exciting to arrive in an unknown area, even though my parents knew it well. It made me feel like I was a little kid again; asking questions when I did not know what certain words meant or when I wasn’t sure what certain things were used for. I felt at home and I felt protected.
My father currently works on State Street— at the well-known Wasabi Japanese Restaurant. He works very hard to support our soon-to-be family of five. We are hoping we can go visit Guerrero again this summer and continue keep in touch with loved ones. But Madison is now our home.