Bertha Graham Interview          October 16, 2010

Bertha Graham

Bertha Graham

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* This portion of the interview can be seen as a video clip.

KENT MILES: Who would like to start?

JOSUE: I will start would you tell us a little bit about your childhood?

BERTHA GRAHAM: Well, I was born and raised in Taos, New Mexico, and I am the second oldest of ten children. My oldest sister passed away when she was a baby, so now I’m the oldest one. I’ve got two more sisters and two more brothers that are alive; everybody else has passed away. I had a brother that drowned when he was little. I had a sister that was killed in an automobile accident, and then we had two baby girls that died at infancy.

BRENNAN: What was the area, like your neighborhood, where you grew up, what was it like?

BERTHA: Well, it was very quiet because we lived far from everybody. We lived maybe a half a mile from our nearest neighbor, and we just lived out kind of in the country. Now it’s growing where I lived, but then we were out there by a river and a lot of grass, and it was really pretty. But we didn’t have any neighbors that lived close by.

ETHAN: Were your neighbors really friendly, or did all the families just kind of do their own thing by themselves?

BERTHA: In those days everybody was close to each other. I mean as far as friendships and everything, if they weren’t your relatives they were [still] really close to you, because you depended on each other. We had neighbors that had cows, and we didn’t have cows, so we’d help them round up their calves and put them in a corral so we could have milk in the morning. The neighbors would give us milk, they would give us eggs and whatever they had, and we shared everything with everybody. If they killed a pig, they’d give us some meat. Whatever they killed, they’d give us some meat. They’d give us vegetables, and we’d give them vegetables, whatever we had. We shared a lot because we were a small community and we depended on each other.

LUIS: You talk about poverty. How did it affect you when you were young?

BERTHA: Oh, it really didn’t affect me, because if you don’t know that you’re poor, you just live with it. And we were really poor, I mean dirt poor. I make a comment all the time about I was so poor that we couldn’t even pay attention, because we didn’t have anything really. I didn’t have any hand-me-downs. You know how children that live in homes that have big families have hand-me-downs; I didn’t have any hand-me-downs, because I was the oldest. And then there weren’t the things like that there are now, like they will help you with clothes. You can go to the Road House, you can go to the D.I. [Deseret Industries], you can go to different places and buy stuff cheap, or they’ll just give it to you. Those days, people were poor, and they didn’t have anything to give. I used to wash clothes overnight so I could take it to school tomorrow. And then the next evening when I came home it was the same thing, because we didn’t have very much stuff.

AURA: Please tell us about your parents.

BERTHA: My dad was born in Ocate, New Mexico; my mom was born right in Taos.

JOSUE: Can you describe your parents, like were they strict, lovable…?

BERTHA: Well, I think my dad was more lovable than my mom, ’cause mom was the disciplinarian. She’s the one that spanked us if we needed spanking. She’s the one that told us what to do, and she’s the one that reared us probably in the right direction. I liked to clean house when I was little, but my mom didn’t like to clean. So my mom had a garden, so she’d work in the garden most of the day, and she had vegetables before anybody else had vegetables in the neighborhood, because she took care of her garden. But I used to clean house and take care of the kids, and my dad was a lumberjack by trade. He went to work in the summertime to the mountains, and then he’d come home in the evening. And we’d all have dinner together, whatever there was, ’cause there wasn’t much. Let me tell you, you do not know what poor is. I bet you none of you have gone without eating, only if you wanted to, but I bet you there was [always] something [to eat]. We didn’t have much. Really and truly, you don’t know what nothing is. We had milk gravy for breakfast from the milk that the neighbor would give us in the morning, and we’d have to go get it, but we didn’t have a lot of food. We had vegetables when it was summer, but in the winter it was hard.

KENT: So the milk gravy, how would you make it?

BERTHA: We made it with flour in a pan, and then the milk, put pepper and salt, and then get bread and put the gravy over the bread and that was it. Now I love milk gravy, but I didn’t then.

BRENNAN: So your dad worked in the summertime, and during the other seasons was it even harder then? Could you tell us some more about like what you did to survive?

BERTHA: Well, like I said, my dad worked in the summertime, and we’d try to get the things that we needed for the winter. We didn’t have a refrigerator. We didn’t have any place to put our vegetables. My mother used to dig a hole underneath the house, on one side of the house, and she would put turnips, carrots, and all that kind of stuff underneath, and then they’d cover it. In the winter we’d go down there, and maybe in the winter maybe we’d have milk with carrots and the gravy that I said, and that’s what we would have for lunch. But my dad worked very, very hard, but it was hard to save because you would get in debt in the winter, and you would kinda get out of debt in the summer. It was a vicious cycle. You just do the same thing over and overget out of debt, get in debt; get out of debt and get in debt.

ETHAN: Did your father do any odd jobs during the other seasons to make a little bit of money?

BERTHA: There weren’t any odd jobs to do at that time. Nobody had lawns, nobody had, I mean to fixone thing he did do, he sharpened the blades that they work on [for] the lumber, what are they called? The saws. Yeah, he sharpened saws. But that was a hard job, ’cause it took him quite a while. And maybe he’d make 50 cents; maybe he’d make a dollar. Of course, money went further in those days than it does now. If you made 50 cents, maybe that would buy you a meal; now, it won’t even buy you a glass of water, you have to pay for the cup!

LUIS: How hard was it for your family to spend like holidays, your birthday, or any of those?

BERTHA: Things just went by like if nothing happened. In the wintertime it was nice for Christmas, because my dad worked up in the mountains so he could get us a Christmas tree. See, downtown, we couldn’t have bought one, but he’d bring one with him from the mountains, so we had a Christmas tree. I was thinking the other night about our Christmas. We’d put candlesI mean real candleson the ends of the branches of the tree. I think now: we could’ve had a fire! But you never think of those things. And I guess God takes care of you if you don’t know any better. So we didn’t have any firesever. Our house was an adobe house. It was built with adobes. My dad and my mom made the adobes for that house. Do you know how to make adobes? My dad and mom made boxes of wood, with handles on them, and they would make mud and they’d put straw in it. Then they would put it in these boxes and smooth it over and go out there in the field where they had cleaned everything and turn the wood box over and there you had adobes, and then you’d have to let them dry. They were adobe bricks. So my childhood was interesting. But I didn’t think it was interesting at that time, because it was very hard work.

AURA: Was your family very religious?

BERTHA: We were Catholics, and so my mom would see to it that we’d go to the catechism, but I could not go to Catholic school. Why do you think I didn’t go to Catholic school? No money! You had to pay to go to Catholic school. I didn’t have any money and my parents didn’t have any money, so I went to public school. But let me tell you, it’s interesting and I think backI loved school. I loved school even when I was little. As I grew older, my mother wanted us to stay home from school to help her with the washing, because they’d have to take the water out of the well, put it in this great big kettle out in the back, and light the fire and let the water warm, and then take it in, not to the washing machine, but to three tubs of water. We washed in one with a washboard, we rinsed in the other one, and then there was something calledand you don’t know anything about thisbut there was something called bluing. We had bluing in the third water and we’d rinse it again, and then we wrung it and we’d hang it up on the clothesline. So we had to take the water, warm it, take it to the tubs, wash, and then we had this problem of throwing the water away, hanging all the clothes, bringing it in, folding it. And [we] ironed with an iron that was warmed up or heated on a wood stove. Now people don’t press, everything is [worn as is], even if it’s all wrinkled. Not in those days.

JOSUE: Tell us a little bit about your adulthood…

KENT: Can I ask one other follow-up question here? You would have been growing up during the war years, so tell us about what the war, how that affected you as you were growing up.

BERTHA: I remember that they gave my mom and dad stamps to buy shoes, and buy some things that ordinarily you don’t buy. You didn’t have to have any [stamps] for bread or anything like that, but you had to have [stamps] for bacon, for shoes, for different things. So it affected us a lot because with ten children to have to buy shoes for, it was hard, but we did the next best thing. We ran around barefooted. We just ran around barefooted all the time. And we had a pond by our house, and we took all the rocks out and made it deeper. We were the cleanest kids in town because we took many baths. Kids would come from other areas to take a swim with us, and we’d swim with that person. And then there was this great big area that was nothing but grass and we would go out there and sun.

JOSUE: Tell us a little bit when you were in school. You know how you said that you were so poor, how were you dressed, like did that affect…?

BERTHA: [I] had to wash my clothes when I [would] come home from school, and then the next day I was clean to go to school again. And my shoes, they didn’t let me wear shoes too much, because I’d wear them out, then I couldn’t have any shoes for school, so I’d take my shoes off when I got home and wash my socks. I remember my mom used to put some, I don’t know if you’re familiar with cotton socks, those thick, cotton socks, kinda brown? They were very, very thick. I was so embarrassed when I’d go to school with those. I’d walk to the bus, when I got to the bus I’d take my socks off, ’cause I didn’t want to go with those socks. But it was hard during those days, but I loved school, I really did. And we memorized a lot. Now kids don’t have to memorize very much. But we memorized like Paul Revere’s Ride. “Listen, my children, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere. On the 18th of April of ’75, hardly a man is now alive, who remembers that famous day and year.” And it goes onI know it all!

BRENNAN: In these notes from your phone interview, you said that education helped “more than I can tell you.” Could you talk a little bit about what you meant?

BERTHA: Well, when I graduated from high school, I came to Utah because there weren’t any jobs in New Mexico, in Taos. If your mother had a job at J.C. Penney, she would pass it on to you, and if you weren’t in that loop, you didn’t get anything. So I studied a lot. I remember I used to like the times tables, and you used to have to memorize the times tables, and you used to have to read, and then when I went to high school, the teacher read to us a lot, in junior high. When I graduated, I came to Tooele, and I started working as a waitress in a Chinese restaurant in Tooele. That’s about eight miles from here. I started working there and I worked there for, oh, several years, and then I went to Salt Lake and I worked at a place called the China Tea Garden. Do you remember that place?

KENT: I do.

BERTHA: I worked at the China Tea Garden for a while. And then when my husband came back from the service in December of ’54, we got married June of ’55, and we had our children. After we had our children I was bound and determined that I was gonna go to college. First, BYU used to come to Tooele, and they had an extension class there, so I went to school with BYU. Then Utah State came into the picture and I went to Utah State. And I was working at the Tooele Army Depot full time, I was taking care of my children full time, [and] I had a house to keep up full time, except for my husband; he was a big help. He was my partner; he’d help me do everything. Finally I graduated from college, and then they said they were gonna close the Depot here in Tooele, or they were gonna downsize it. They never closed it completely, [but] they downsized it really a lot. But when they said they were gonna downsize, I thought, I am not gonna wait around ’til I get laid off. I’m gonna go look for another job in Salt Lake. So I looked for another job. -A friend of mine that I had worked with in the community, she had an opening. She interviewed me and I got the job at the Bureau of Reclamation. Then there was a job opening at the Bureau of Land Management, and I put in for that and I got that job. I think my boss was impressed with the fact that as an adult, I went to college and graduated. He thought this person will do a good job for us because this person will get things done. I got a job with the Bureau of Land Management, and I worked there until I retired in 2000.

ETHAN: So how did you do in college? Did you get good grades?

BERTHA: I graduated with a 3.8 average. Not bad, for an old lady!

KENT: How old were you then?

BERTHA: I was in my early 50s. So it’s never too late for you to go to school. It’s never too late to learn. It’s never too late for anything!

LUIS: What were some significant challenges you had to face when you were in college?

BERTHA: I think the most significant was getting myself the time to study, because when you have all these other side things to do, it’s hard to study. But other than that, I didn’t have a hard time, because I worked and I had money to pay for school, and then Utah State University was very good to me because I took the CLEP test for Spanish, and I passed it. I taught Spanish for Utah State for about 15 years at night. So it was easy for me. I took Spanish when I was in school, when I was 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, six years of Spanish. Even though I could speak Spanish fluently, I took Spanish and I was able to read it, write it, and I knew all the rules for spelling and the verbs, the nouns, the pronouns, all those things where they went and everything. So I had a pretty easy time, except it’s hard to study when you don’t have a lot of time.

KENT: So you spoke Spanish in your home when you were growing up?

BERTHA: Oh, yeah, my dad and mom didn’t speak much English. We speak a lot of Spanish now. We spoke Spanish to our kids so they could learn it. They all know how to speak Spanish.

AURA: So you say you loved school?

BERTHA: Oh, I loved it.

AURA: What made you like school so much?

BERTHA: I don’t know. Some people are just born with that instinct to go to school, and some you gotta push, and some don’t like it at all. I loved school. Even when I was out of school I read a lot. I read a lot now. I’m constantly reading, and you learn a lot by reading. So I read a lot then, and I studied my lessons. But I do remember one time when this history teacher asked me a question, and I said, “I don’t know, Mr. Parr.” He said, “Now, there’s an honest woman.” But it was not hard for me to study, because I loved it. I loved school.

AURA: Were your parents educated?

BERTHA: My parents were not educated. I think I’m the only one of the ten that got a college degree, or even finished high school.

BRENNAN: In your pre-interview you said there was a lot of racism in Tooele. Could you talk about some of your experiences and how you handled them?

BERTHA: I was on a committee that was set up out here to try to take care of the problems of racism. It was an organization called SOCIO, and SOCIO is the acronym for Spanish Speaking Organization for Community, Integrity and Opportunity. I worked very hard with them, and we had problems with what they called, the Hispanics and the cowboys. We had problems with kids that liked to dress [as] cowboy[s], in boots and hats and everything, and the Hispanic kids. They didn’t call us Hispanic, they didn’t call us Mexicans; they called us Chicanos at that time, yeah. We worked with the community, we worked with the parents, and we worked with some of the kids. [We asked]: What is it that you’re fighting? What makes you fight? They said [there] were provocationsChicanos would ask the cowboys stupid things they didn’t like; the cowboys would ask the Chicanos things they didn’t like, [so] there were altercations. And then they didn’t want the[ir] girls to go with our boys.

KENT: What was the time frame?

BERTHA: Oh, I would probably say in the ’70s and the ’80s, around there.

BRENNAN: Did you ever experience any racism or discrimination back in Taos?

BERTHA: Everybody was the same as I was. I never even knew that there were other religions until I came to Utah `cause everybody was the same, and in Taos they were either our friends or our relatives. So I didn’t experience [racism] at all. But I certainly did here in Utah. After I got married, there was a store here in Tooele, a men’s store. I went in there to buy clothes for my husband. I bought him some clothes, I took them home, and my husband says, “Well, these pants need to be taken up, and this shirt has some coloring right here, and will it come off?” So I took it back to the store, and I said to the man, “Will this come off?” He says, “Oh, yeah, take it to the cleaners a couple of times and it’ll come off, and the pants I can take care of them.” So I took them to the cleaners and the lady at the cleaners told me that shirt could not be cleaned, because it had sat folded on the sun and it was faded, so it would never come clean. So when I took it back and told him that the lady at the cleaners told me it was faded, boy, did I get in trouble. He called me a Mexican. [He said], “Why don’t you go back where you came from?” And [then] he told me get out of there and don’t come back!

We [also] had problems with the smelter the whites would not eat with the Chicanos, the Mexicans. There was a bar in Tooele that said, “No dogs or Mexicans allowed.” It was pretty bad in those days. And I think it’s just because we were different. I remember a Greek guy told me, he says, “When we came, we experienced what you’re experiencing. Now you’ve taken our place. You’re taking the guff we took when we first came.”

LUIS: How did you feel experiencing that racism?

BERTHA: Well, it doesn’t make you feel very good. It makes you feel you’re less than. But I thought: If I get an education and show that I can work hard and get the things that the other people have, I think I’ll be accepted. And then another thing that I always liked is to be clean. Clean your house, clean your yard, so they don’t say, “You dirty Mexicans!” ’cause that’s the one thing they called us.

AURA: In all the struggles you went through and everything, what kept you motivated?

BERTHA: Well, first of all, I had a good husband, a very good husband. He’s my partner, and he helps me with everything, with the kids when they were little, and then I had the kids so that kept me motivated because I wanted to bring them up so that they could have things that I didn’t have when I was younger, like at least food on the table. And then we had a good, close family; we were very close knit, all of us, here in Tooele. I think if you have a close-knit family that is the neatest thing, ’cause they can help you in time of need.

AURA: Were drugs a big thing in growing up?

BERTHA: You know, if there were drugs, they weren’t noticed because apparently they weren’t out there for people to see, not like now, you know, you can see there are drugs and kids use a lot of drugs, and adults use a lot of drugs. But in those days, I don’t ever remember anybody even offering me anything. I went to Denver one time, during the summer when I was in high school, and there were some kids, and I think they must have been doing drugs ’cause they were laughing and carrying on, and they weren’t laughing at anything funny, so they must have been on drugs. But, you know, those kids never offered me any drugs. When I grew up and I had my children, my oldest son, I was telling him that I didn’t know anything about drugs. I said, “I’m really dumb, I don’t know anything.” So one day I washed clothes, and he said, “Mom, what did you do with that T-shirt, I want to wear it.” I said, “It’s out on the clothesline.” So he went out there, came back in the house, and he said, “Mom, you said you’ve never seen drugs or smelled drugs?” I said, “I haven’t.” He said, “Come out here ’cause the neighbors are having a party!” So I went out and a guy lived behind us who was a postman, and they were having a drug party, they were smoking marijuana, and that’s the first time I’d ever smelled it. I said to my son, “Have you seen it?” and he said, “Yeah.” I says, “Where?” He says, “In English class; they sell it in there.” That’s what he said. So I think, “Oh, my gosh!” But you know what? My kids don’t even smoke. They don’t do drugs, and they don’t even smoke. So I was just lucky, because drugs are out there, and people want to be in the in crowd, they want to do the things that other kids their ages do, and so they do drugs.

KENT: Your job with the Bureau of Land Management was as the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer. Tell us a little bit about how that informed you about what was going on with minorities and equal opportunity and so forth in our community.

BERTHA: Well, you know, I always said when I worked in the Equal Employment Opportunity Office, I said, “People don’t come in here because they feel good. They come in here because something has happened they don’t feel good about, and they’re coming in here to see if they can rectify it.” Some of the things they complained about was age, ’cause we had older people that worked; some of them was their race; some of them was their handicap; and some were their color. And it was my job to help them so that those things wouldn’t happen to them. We had equal employment opportunity counselors. I trained them, not personally, but I saw to it that they got trained. And if you were discriminated against, if you felt you’d been discriminated against and you’d come into my office, I would refer you to one of these counselors. These counselors would go out and try to uncover some things that happened so we could put our finger on it and see what was happening. And then my counselor would come in and she or he would tell me the problems they encountered, and [we] would go in and talk to a manager and see if we could work things out so that this was not happening to them.

KENT: Are there examples of discrimination that really stand out in your mind, that people were dealing with here?

BERTHA: We had a young manhe had a handicap. We had several field offices out of Salt Lake, and he was working in one of the field offices, and they didn’t want him to go out because they were afraid that he would get hurt because there was something wrong with his legs. Well, he knew more about fire than some of the ones that were well, and so we looked into that. Sure enough, they had to give him back pay, and they had to give him the job. He had put in for a job and they didn’t accept him, so they had to give him the job. And then there was another one, not all of the complaints were valid, but some were, and when we looked into them, the management rectified them because they could see that there were some problems.

KENT: Did your experiences with the Equal Employment Office influence how you went about dealing with the Hispanic community issues, like the Chicanos here and the cowboys?

BERTHA: Well, the cowboys and the Chicanos no longer existed, because when I worked for the BLM, we didn’t have that problem. But it helped me in the fact that I would communicate with other Equal Employment Opportunity managers throughout the United States, because we used to go to conferences and I would meet them and we’d exchange names, and I would call them or they would call me and we’d try to solve our problems.

ETHAN*: Did you face any discrimination directed at you in the work place, in your jobs, anything like that?

BERTHA: Well, you know, one of the things that I would feel was because I was a woman, more than anything, because I was a woman. Some of the managers didn’t want me to go to their staff meetings, and I said, “Why?” “Well, you don’t need to know what’s going on.” I said, “Of course I do! It affects what I do and what decisions I have to make.” So my supervisor and my manager, the BLM Director [said], “She will go.” So I went, but I could see I was discriminated [against] because I was a woman, I could feel it. More than a Hispanic woman, I could feel it because I was a woman. And then I’m a short woman! But I got a big voice. So that helped.

AURA: You told us about where you started, where are you today?

BERTHA: Oh, I’m just retired and happy! I don’t do anything I don’t want to do! I get my pension and I go where I want to go, I do what I want to do, and what more could you want? Get an education, get a good job, [then] retire, and relax! Yeah! That’s the thing to do.

LUIS: How do you feel about the things that you accomplished in your life?

BERTHA: One of the things I think I’m most proud of is my children, because they grew up to be good, responsible adults and they have good jobs. All of them have good jobs, and they all make a good living. They all have their homes, they have their children, and their children are getting a good education. And I still think that I’m helping people. I have a niece that’s got a mental disability. She was out on the street; she was homeless. So I thought, I need to help her. I told her, “Let’s go to Social Security and see if I can’t get you Social Security. It took usten months, but we finally got her Social Security. And I am the payee, I get her check, and I pay all her bills, pay her utilities and I pay her rent. The only thing she buys herself is her food. And then I had a brother-in-law that was at the nursing home. I’d go see him every other day. I’d clip his toenails, his hand nails, shave him, wash his face and comb his hair. And my mother-in-law was in a nursing home, and my sister-in-law’s got Alzheimer’s. I used to cook a lot and take her food every day. So I’m still good for some things.

BRENNAN*: Do you see yourself as a leader, and what do you feelhow do you become a leader for the Chicano community?

BERTHA*: I still think I’m a leader. The other day I went to Workforce Services to do some work for my niece that has a handicap. I went in there to do a fax for the Social Security Office in Salt Lake. There were three guys sitting out on the lawn, and one of the guys said, “Bertha, I almost called you the other day.” I said, “Why?” He said, “Because the cops are bothering me.” I said, “What for?” He said, “‘Cause I don’t have a place to live, I’m homeless. I wish they would just leave me alone.” I said, “Well, the best thing to do is find a job and get a place to live! They will leave you alone.” He says, “I already have a house. I’m gonna move in this week, and when I see the cops, I’m gonna go like this.” I said, “What does that mean?” He said, “Now, I have a house, now you leave me alone.” I said, “Don’t do that!” He says, “Why?” I says, “Have you ever heard the saying that goes, the more you stir poop the stronger it smells? Don’t do that. Just go about your business, do your thing, do good for the community, and the police won’t bother you. If you have a place to live and you’re living straight, you’re not doing drugs and all of these things so that they can catch you again and put you in jail. But don’t pick at something that’s settled. Leave [it] alone.” And people, they’re still calling me, sometimes they call me because they can’t get a job. This one guy called me the other day. He’s in the United States illegally. I said, “Well, first of all, you need to become a citizen, and in order to become a citizen you probably need to go back to Mexico and start doing the right thing to come to the United States the right way and not illegally.” He said, “Well, I don’t know if they’ll let me back in.” I said, “Well, you took a chance when you came here, you gotta take a chance going back and coming back again. But do it the right way, because you’re gonna be caught.”

ETHAN: So looking back, what was probably the hardest challenge for you to overcome?

BERTHA: I think probably going to school. I couldn’t go to college when I was young because my parents didn’t have any money. That was a big challenge. Just think how many years I had to wait to go to college. I wished there would have been help like grants and stuff when I was young. Then I wanted to be an airline attendant and I didn’t make it. Why? I was too short.

LUIS: How do you feel about how your life has turned out to be?

BERTHA: Oh, great! I have a good family, a good husband, a good supportive husband, and the only thing I’m lacking for is my health. If I didn’t have issues with my health, I could climb mountains. I like to travel. We’ve traveled many, many places, my husband and I, many places, and I would continue to do that. We’re gonna go to Mexico, to Puerto Vallarta in February, and then we’re gonna go to Ireland in May, God willing.

AURA: What about you has stayed the same or stayed with you throughout your life?

BERTHA: What has stayed with me throughout my life? Well, for that I think I need my tablets ’cause I wrote a few things that I would like to pass on to you, and think this has stayed with me throughout my life. Be proud of who you are. No matter who you are, as long as you do good, and as long as you’re doing the right thing, be proud of who you are. It doesn’t matter who you are, be proud of that. I’m proud to be a woman. I’m proud to be a Hispanic woman, and I’m proud of what I’ve done with what I had. And stay close to your family. In time of need, they’re the only ones that will come across to help you. And be obedient, especially with your parents. You know, my husband always says, when somebody tells him something, I say, “Why didn’t you say something back to them?” He said, “It’s better for there to be one crazy person and not two.” He says, “Sometimes your best bet is to keep your mouth shut.” Pick good friends that are loyal to you and are good to you and never lose them. I have friends that I went to school with that I still exchange Christmas cards with them, and we write to each other, and keep close to your friends. And always, always, always reach down and help somebody that’s less fortunate than you, and especially in school, because if you’re learning something in school and your friend doesn’t know, help him or her along so they can make it. And then, laugh a lot, have a good time. Laugh at yourself. Laugh at things you do that are funny. I think that’s another thing that’s kept me alive. And be health conscious. Keep clean, eat the right things, don’t do drugs, and help your parents, so they can help you. Those are the things that have stayed with me.

JOSUE: We’re finished, we’re done, so thank you.

BERTHA: Well, thank you, and thank you for coming to our house. I hope that everything that you came here you got, and then some! And I have a treat!