Family Life

Mary Louise Cantu Remembers Traveling to Reynosa from McAllen to Visit Family

Mary Louise Cantu is a native of Edinburg, Texas. Like many other South Texans, she has family ties to Mexico. She remembers traveling as a teenager along with her mother to Reynosa to visit her grandmother who lives there. Because Mary and her mother didn’t have a vehicle, they would rely on rides and buses to get from place to place.

The trip to Reynosa is important to Mary because it connects her with her Mexican heritage. With this photo shoot, I wanted to capture memories of Mary’s experience waiting for a bus to go to Reynosa. So, we went to the same HEB store where she and her mother would board the bus. At this store, there is a bus stop that offers frequent departures to Reynosa. It’s located in south McAllen about ten miles from the border.

Mary and her mother would buy items like milk, bread, and corn tortillas at the HEB store, walk to the bus stop on 10th street and then board the bus. In Reynosa, they would be dropped off at a Seven Eleven convenience store and take a pesera (another bus) to her grandma’s house.

I asked her what she thought about the trip being of an international nature and she replied that as a kid, she never thought about it such terms. “Going to Reynosa was just something we did every other weekend and it wasn’t that big of a deal to me.” she said.

Mary Louise Cantu in McAllen Texas

Mary Louise Cantu remembers boarding a bus similar to this one to travel to Reynosa Mexico to visit her grandmother. Photographed on June 6, 2014 in McAllen, Texas.

Mary Louise Cantu in McAllen Texas

Mary seats at a bus shelter located outside an HEB Grocery store in McAllen. She leans next to a shopping cart to symbolize the shopping experience she remembers as a kid. June 6, 2014. McAllen, Texas.

Mary Louise Cantu in McAllen Texas

Mary remembers visiting this HEB grocery store located on South 10th street in McAllen close to expressway 83. June 6, 2014. McAllen, Texas.

Mary Louise Cantu in McAllen Texas

Mary remembers what grocery items she and her mother would buy before visiting her grandmother in Mexico. June 6, 2014. McAllen, Texas.

Mary Louise Cantu in McAllen, Texas

Mary remembers shopping at this HEB on South 10th street in McAllen to buy some groceries before visiting her grandmother in Reynosa, Mexico. June 6, 2014. McAllen, Texas.

Mary Louise Cantu in McAllen Texas

Mary remembers using coin operated telephones like these to call her grandmother in Reynosa, Mexico before visiting her from McAllen, Texas. Photographed on June 6, 2014 in McAllen, Texas.

Advertisements

Maria Adela Lazcano and her daughter with El Zarandeado Mexican Seafood in Albuquerque NM

Cooking is an art says Maria Adela Lazcano owner of El Zarandeado Mexican Food Sinaloa Style located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It took her 13 years to create the recipes for El Zarandeado Restaurant. Maria is originally from the state of Sinaloa, Mexico. Her recipes are inspired by the culinary traditions of Sinaloa, Nayarit and Sonora.

For example, el zarandeado is a traditional dish from Sinaloa that features the a kind of fish called Pargo. The fish is sliced in lengthwise and marinated before being baked in the oven. The result is a fish with a crunchy texture that is cooked evenly. The restaurant was named after this traditional dish that literally means “the shaked one.”

Maria is grateful to be running a family restaurant with the help of her daughters and her son. El Zarandeado has two locations in Albuquerque and her family collaborates in the operation of both. Family is very important to Maria. She told me that one of her major goals was to have her kids work alongside with her.

Although Maria is happy to live and work in the City of Albuquerque, she feels culturally connected with Mexico and wishes to open a restaurant in her home state of Sinaloa in the future. “My heart is in Mexico” she tells me “I want, god willing, I want to end up with a restaurant in Mexico.”

Maria Lazcano and her daughter with El Zarandeado Mexican Seafood in Albuquerque New Mexico

Maria Adela Lazcano (left) and her daughter with El Zarandeado Mexican Seafood Sinaloa style. Albuquerque, New Mexico. June 1, 2014.

Maria Lazcano with El Zarandeado Mexican Seafood in Albuquerque New Mexico

Owner Maria Lazcano holds a Sinaloa inspired seafood plate. Albuquerque, New Mexico. June 1, 2014.

Maria Lazcano and her daughter with El Zarandeado Mexican Seafood in Albuquerque New Mexico

Maria Adela Lazcano (left) and her daughter with El Zarandeado Mexican Seafood Sinaloa style. Albuquerque, New Mexico. June 1, 2014.

Maria Lazcano and her daughter with El Zarandeado Mexican Seafood

Maria Adela Lazcano (left) and her daughter with El Zarandeado Mexican Seafood Sinaloa style. Albuquerque, New Mexico. June 1, 2014.

Theresa Gonzales Co-Director at La Plazita Institute in Albuquerque NM

I met Theresa Gonzales at La Plazita Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The organization works with the most marginalized and vulnerable population of the South Valley, which is a neighborhood just south of Albuquerque. Theresa experienced an unfavorable upbringing due to poverty and addiction problems in her family. She also faced education barriers and spent time in the streets. She refers to that experience as “street knowledge”. Despite the odds, she is an avid learner and is constantly looking to improve not only her life but also the community of the South Valley, New Mexico.

The South Valley is also referred to as the Town of Atrisco or the Atrisco Land Grant by people in the area. Theresa is a land grant heir of 2 historic land grants – the Town of Atrisco and Cañón de Carnué.

Theresa Gonzales Co-Director at La Plazita Institute in Albuquerque NM

Theresa Gonzales Co-Director at La Plazita Institute holds the organization’s Impact Model. The main categories are Personal Development, Family Wellness, Community Engagement, Institutional Engagement and Cultural Healing Services. In the background to the right, there is a photography exhibition highlighting La Plazita Institute’s programs. South Valley, New Mexico. May 30, 2014.

Theresa Gonzales Co-Director at La Plazita Institute in Albuquerque NM.

Theresa Gonzales Co-Director at La Plazita Institute poses in front of a mural that symbolizes oneness of spirit. The mural makes reference to Indigenous people, land, and water. The eagle represents strength, transformation and resiliency. Mural by Lonnie Anderson. South Valley, New Mexico. May 30, 2014.

Theresa Gonzales Co-Director at La Plazita Institute in Albuquerque NM.

The tattoo represents Theresa’s spiritual and physical journey. It represents her hardships in life, her transformations, her Indigenous roots, and desire to help others in need. The tattoo depicts a dragon, an Aztec serpent, a jaguar, an eagle among other symbols. Photographed at her office at La Plazita Institute on May 30, 2014. Mural in the background by Woody Bitsie.

Ali Morales and his family in The South Valley in New Mexico

Ali Morales is 25 year old enthusiastic law student from Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua. He is a first generation Mexican American and is setting up roots in the United States. His wife and young daughter Aliana were born in the United States.

Ali’s plan after finishing law school is to practice law in the areas of Criminal law, immigration and worker’s compensation. He currently works at a law firm called Abogado Elias Law that serves Mexican Americans and Hispanics in the South Valley, New Mexico. The South Valley is located just south of Albuquerque.

I asked him what the term Mexican American means and he replied that he thinks of someone who immigrated to the United States from Mexico. He considers his young daughter, Aliana, also to be Mexican American because she has an American mother and a Mexican father. “She is a Mexican American, she represents both cultures” he said.

I also met Ali’s parents and sisters at their home in the South Valley. We drove south of Albuquerque for like 20 minutes and we got to a neighborhood outside of the city. When we got there we found Ali’s dad, Jesus Morales, working on a project to restore a mobile home. We toured the backyard and gathered the family for some photos.

I would like to thank Ali for inviting me to his parent’s house to get a glimpse of Mexican American life in the South Valley.

Ali Morales and family in Albuquerque's South Valley

Ali Morales with his wife Mercedes and their daughter Aliana. Photographed on May 28, 2014 behind Abogado Elias Law in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Ali Morales in his small office at Abogado Elias Law Albuquerque New Mexico.

Ali Morales in his small office at Abogado Elias Law in Albuquerque, New Mexico. May 28, 2014.

Ali's father Jesus Morales at his home's backyard

Ali’s father Jesus Morales at his home’s backyard in Albuquerque’s South Valley. May 28, 2014. Jesus Morales has a home construction and remodeling business.

Ali Morales with his family in Albuquerque's South Valley.

Ali Morales with his family in Albuquerque’s South Valley. From left to right: Mercedes, Ali, Jesus (holding the dog’s leash), baby Aliana, Manuela, Jessica and Diana Morales. May 28, 2014. South Valley, New Mexico.

Ali Morales with his family in Albuquerque's South Valley.

Ali Morales and his family inside their home in New Mexico’s South Valley. From left to right: Jessica, Diana, (sitting down), Jesus, baby Aliana, Manuela, Mercedes, and Ali Morales. May 28, 2014.

Lupe and Rosa Navarro celebrating on Easter Sunday in San Juan, Texas

On Easter Sunday I visited the San Juan Texas Municipal park and met Guadalupe Navarro and his wife Rosa. Guadalupe is a 66 year old Vietnam Veteran who goes by the name Lupe for short. He is originally from Cotulla, Texas, which is about 90 miles Southwest of San Antonio.

I asked him what the term Mexican American means to him. He replied that the term describes his identity. He said that he is neither Mexican nor hispanic, he is Mexican American, born in the United States with Mexican descent. He has not used the terms Latino or hispanic when filling out job applications. Instead, he has always selected the option “Other” and filled out the blank with “Mexican American.”

“For me the word Latino means nothing, the word Hispanic means nothing” he mentioned “I know I made a lot of people angry, that was me.”

Lupe Navarro in San Juan Texas

Lupe Navarro and his wife Rosa celebrating on Easter Sunday with family. San Juan, Texas. Photo from April 20, 2014.