How My Spanish Ancestors Ended Up in the United States

The Bookshelf of Emily J.

From as early as I can remember, I was taught to be proud of my Spanish heritage. My siblings and I all have Spanish middle names. “You are a quarter Spanish,” my mother would always say. My dad would teach me words and phrases, and Spanish colors and numbers were a regular part of my vocabulary. We listened to the children’s song “De Colores” over and over in my Spanish grandmother’s cadillac during drives around Morgan Hill, California. When my first grade classroom got a new student, a girl from Mexico named Maria, I befriended her and spoke with her as much as I could. It’s funny, though, that I don’t actually remember doing this. When I visited my friends from that school several years later, they remembered that I had been a friend to the girl who could not yet speak English.

Both of my parents speak Spanish. They…

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