Momacita had a warmth about her. You could see it in her smile and you could feel it emanating out of her very being. Her hugs were as good as gold and her laughter was contagious. Standing near Momacita, it seemed as if everything was safe; everything was going to be okay. Her faith could move mountains.
She had faith in me and for that I am forever grateful.
I fled to her house. It was after dark. I had to get there. I had to get away. The only items I could take were those I could carry as I rode away on my beach cruiser. My Walkman and cassette tapes were on the list of necessities. I didn’t call and ask permission. I just showed up.
Was I crying? Visibly upset? Or, was I relived?
The time I spent living in Momacita’s presence were absolutely days of relief and restoration. Yet, I was not at a spa.
I was a teenager and Momacita was a single mom with 3 daughters, 2 of them teenagers. We lived in a HUD subsidized, 2 bedroom, sparsely furnished apartment. It was the 80’s and people were feeling the pinch of Reganomics. Momacita was not able to work due to disability.
I remember the day began with the smell of beans cooking on the stove. I can see Momacita now, in her night gown, stirring a pot of beans. She would season them so that it seemed like you were eating a special grandma stew. I promise, it had healing properties, thanks to Momacita’s special touch.
The food came from the food bank. I remember a certain day of the week she would get a bag of beans, a bag of rice and a block of “Reagan” cheese (American). After I moved into my own apartment, I went and got these same items for myself once or twice. It was better than nothing.
Because at the time, I could not even think about going back home. I would rather sleep in my car, and I did.
Once I settled down a bit, I had a series of waitress gigs including Bob’s Big Boy and Norm’s and I lived in apartments with roommates. It could have been dismal but it was blissful in a sense. Maybe not so much at the time as it is now, reflecting back on the 30+ years of life that have passed since then and the many times when Momacita’s love and faith intervened in my life, turning me away from destruction and toward rejuvenation and healing.
I was learning to live a life free from fear and violence. I was learning what it was like to live principles versus just preaching them in public.
If it weren’t for women like Momacita, who knows where I’d be.
It was easy to say yes when the family asked me to speak at the memorial. I wanted to share the story of Momacita’s love with all in attendance. I believe she deserves public recognition and I hope the story inspires others to know what a difference love and acceptance can make in someone’s life.
On October 31, 2014 this loving woman, who touched the live’s of many made her transition. She was a living example of the saying, “one person can make a difference” and an example of someone who cares for people, regardless of their race or biological family ties. She proved it doesn’t require lots of money to make a mighty difference. A little love can go a long way.
When I feel like giving up, or I think I don’t have anything to give, I remember this. I think of all the people who did little things here and there to help me out, to lift me up. I try to be aware of the fact that my meanness or kindness could be a turning point in someone’s life whether I realize it or not.
Here’s to Momacita, an angel in the darkness. God bless her and the many women like her who provide a safe haven for lost souls and who help parent and redirect youth who come from broken homes.
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