Grandma Velia — The Quintessential Abuela
Grandma Velia. She was my relative, my friend, and my inspiration. Born 23 April 1923, she was raised in Los Angeles, California by her Mexican immigrant parents. Second in the brood of five, all others boys, Velia early on exhibited a natural nurturing quality. She was caring, resilient, positive, and through it all happy. It was these traits that had her loved by all —friends, coworkers, family, even strangers. We were all blessed with her presence in our lives.
During World War II, Velia found herself under the “Rosie the Riveter” moniker working on planes for Lockheed Corporation. She spent most of her professional life within the Los Angeles School District as a Clerk in the Counseling and Nurse’s office as well as Office Manager at Gates Street Elementary School. Velia had a gift for handling troubled children. During this time she was also a wife and mother. The birth of her one and only daughter, my mother Rosalinda, was her true joy. Rosalinda became her sole focus in life and was her foundation.
Love for her expanding family grew and highlighted her true calling in life, being a grandmother. Velia loved my siblings and me in a way that words cannot describe. She was our babysitter, my confidant, my shoulder to cry on, my advisor, and my joy. There were always movies, Fruit Loops cereal, root beer floats, or trips to Chuck E. Cheese when grandma was around. In times of need she always knew just what to say and put a smile on my face. Above all she always made me feel so special and loved. Grandma Velia’s been gone since 23 April 2009 and will always be missed.
Aunt Velia was the heart of our family. Her life was a lesson in how to be generous, have grace and above all, to be kind.
I miss her terribly, too. All of us are better people for having had her in our lives.
Her memory is a blessing.