Dolores Velarde and Linda Velarde

Recorded August 10, 2008 Archived August 10, 2008 01:01:42
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBX004190


Linda interviews her mother Dolores about how she met her husband and at age 16 traveled to Mexico to find him again.

Subject Log / Time Code

Remembers seeing a Mexican man at a store, and telling her mother about him.
Age 16 she traveled alone to Mexico to see him. The immigration police stopped her, but she lied to them, saying that her parents know about her travels.
Wedding was civil ceremony.
Had three children in her parents apartment, 6 children in 6 years.
She describes her husband as more handsome than Elvis.


  • Dolores Velarde
  • Linda Velarde


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00:03 My name is Linda velarde. I am 54 years old today is August 10th. 2008, a we are in Buffalo New York and I am the daughter here.

00:17 Hello, my name is Dolores Fuller. T. I'm 79. And today's date is August 10th. 2008 in our location is Buffalo New York. In my relationship is on her mom.

00:32 And we're here because I love story. Mom has always told me since

00:39 I was a little girl. Mom was born in Buffalo. We are both born and raised in Buffalo. Mom was born on the east side, to parents of Polish immigrants, to she's all polish, but in 1944, I think it was my father came up from Mexico and he came up here because during the war, they needed workers. Everybody was in the war. So they needed some workers. And he came up here to work and something was the railroad, right? You were on their way to work in the railroad. My mom lives at 1516 Broadway, right? 1517 Broadway right behind Edwin's music store. So, everybody in the east side of Buffalo, would know that Landmark as it has been there for years and he was a real bright railroad, Trestle right there. And when I want to ask is, if you remember the very first time you saw Dad. Yes, it was Grandma. And I

01:39 Went to the store happened to go to the store right now. I'm at the end of Deshler and Ashley got a good picture in my mind almost and we went to the store with a little polish, cook corner store. And I just happened to see this man that looked very handsome to me. And I said, I said to my mom, mom, look at him, isn't he gorgeous? She said she said, don't say that you're too young. So anyway, I I I looked at him. He looked at me in the week. Went to the store again several times and the owner sale. Next time I went she's a huge sandwich for you from this fellow. You were, I am and he was I and you and I went outside with a note in and he was eight waiting out there for me. And I says, yes, and he says well, he's a butcher name. He just spoke pretty good and perfect English, but he spoke English enough for me to understand that the time using speak any Spanish. I was in, believe it or not. It goes to show you how coincidental life is because I was listening to the program.

02:39 Spanish and I would pick up words and phrases and it just, it just stuck to me and it didn't really have to take lessons. And they just stuck to me. Like I say, it was meant to be that I speak Spanish and that I do know that I'm a dad. Like, I always said it was meant to be and at the time and then we have to note that you are just 15. Oh, yes. And dad was 21. Yes. He was. So, there was what a difference and that's quite a lot for that. Time to have only has 21 and you met him and he met you. When he passed on the note you started talking and what would be a typical like date. If you did date at the time, just walk. I had to be careful because polish boys in the area looks kindly upon the Mexican people because they were here. They figured we placing the guys. Yes, but also is stealing their women and now you know, it wasn't that.

03:39 He's not in my opinion language ever a berry or was that pretty good? It's really, very good. Like I said, I don't know why, you know, it just happened it. I know I picked up Spanish so clearly cuz I can read and write it today without even studying and okay. So you've dated for about two years. Well, know, it was about a year about a year as I went to Mexico, when I was 16 right now and I are going to get into that now. So eventually get had to go back to Mexico. It's because you are something so when he left it was it like a tearful. Goodbye. Did he say, you know what, right for me because he said, you know that you know what? I told him that I want to see if I'm going to go down there. He's just know it's impossible. I should never never impossible. I'm going to be there. So we correspond. Is he? I had his address. He ain't he had my name.

04:39 In the end. So this is the good part of the story because at the age of just 16, you on your own, went to know where else, you went to your mom. And you said you're going to go down there where I was living with Mom and Dad when I get home, right, but Dad didn't know when on your own into Mexico. Yes. I took the train a cousin of mine was going to go with me and then she chickened out at the last minute, so I had no choice but to go alone. So we went all the way down to Laredo, Texas from there. We have to get off because we would have to take a bus to go into Mexico, Subway, twist in Tampico. So I said I was waiting for my bus and lo and behold a squad car comes by with the

05:32 Wake up with, I guess the, The Immigrant immigration police, whatever they were doing and they put me in their squad car and they sat me down and they said who are you? And where are you going? And I told him my name he should do have your papers with it, which at that time. We just needed a tourist card. So I showed it to them. He said you got money. Yeah much money. I had and he says where you're going so I gave him the address and then he says, does your mom and dad know where you're going? Or is it where they're going to ship me? He says, what about? If we called him I said go ahead and let me see the end of it cuz, you know, he just, he just took my, I guess you took me up on it that I wasn't lying because I said Diego, call him and then lo and behold he let you go. Now how much money did you hang up on me? I don't really remember. But at that time, you didn't need a lot of

06:32 A lot of money was $20. At that time. Let me grandma. Give you the money or do you know, I have to go to work. I work for a while. I work for a while, and made my made some money to save it and take it with me. And, of course, grandma wrote me in.

06:47 My mom, he wishes your grandma. She wrote me and in the send some guys would send me money and all that. So you went down there and you went right into Tampico. You asked for the address. However, you like you found your way into Mexico. Okay. That I know even my son. David says he wasn't lying to Dad wasn't lying. He could have been kind of had a family family and you would have gone there and any one of them up what you have done or if he would have just said that, you know, I'm going somewhere else now and not been home, but he was there when he was not there at the house. His aunt and uncle were at the house and when I when I knocked on the door, they opened and I asked told him who I was and I asked for for Carmen velarde and how they knew exactly who I was saying. He says, well, he's not here, but we'll go and they didn't speak any English and he says we'll go and get them.

07:44 So low and behold, they brought him to the house and when he saw me, he naturally he was happy but probably hit the same time. My God, she really did. Go and then, and then you'll have to be after a while. We just went to his mom's house cuz his mom lived it with, with his brother and his brother had already won children, and she was going to have another child when I was there. And so, are you married down there while we met? We didn't marry right away because that we had to get papers and, and get a neighbor to be our Witnesses. But after a while we, we know where to get married, to get back to the States cuz I wanted to bring them back home with me. So, I did. And we went too well to Madero, which is just a suburb of Tampico. And that's where we got married by the justice of the peace and in what they call seal. My dad. What time I leave us and we had our to neighbors Arturo.

08:44 They were our place, they say testicles with your Witnesses, and, no, I don't even know if we have any kind of celebration at all. When we came home, have like, no one just had my best, my best clothes that I took. That's what I wore. Nothing. Nothing traditional of the Bride. Nothing at all. I just do no hater and nice dress into skirt, and it was it, then is naturally his mother was there. And his brother is also to witness our marriage but

09:19 And I all the time that you got married down there, didn't you wish your mom was down there? Well. I want them to be there. Yes, and I would have liked what I should have done actually and I I think I regretted it after a long while which is too late to even think about it now, but I should have had our marriage last when I got back home with him, but you know, I just was having children every year every year and I just never got around to thinking of myself. I was too busy and Bob with my family. So but Dad will after a while. I guess you forgave me because he welcomed him and Mike myself and my husband back home. I wanted to ask you was well, first of all, when you did get me or you were just seventeen,

10:04 Yes, and dad was twenty-two at the time, y'all and 2323. Okay, and this was in September 26th of 1946 that your anniversary and so a married in 46. And so when you came back, how was the reception? What did Grandma and Grandpa? You know what, the first of all, what did Grandpa do when you have knowing that he was happy to see me. I bet he was happy. He was just glad I was home and he have two while. I don't know what he saw it first when nobody accepted the dad, you know, it after after while he's there was no conflict ever between them. And when you came back to next to, to the states, after being in Mexico, how dad had no job waiting for him back here and neither did you for that matter? So use live with Grandma. Grandpa at Broadway Broadway, Broadway?

11:04 First lady with the back House of steers and also, at the time, Grandma had three of her own children, there were just two living at the house to brother and one sister in touch. And so you moved in with you and dad and grandma had how many bedrooms in that little toasts two bedroom. So, we had, so my sister and my younger younger sister, my brother. We're we're bunk'd, we had bunk beds in with my mother and father's, double bed. And you and Dad had another bad guy. We had another bed in the off the living room. There wasn't a one bed in your bedroom. That was yeah. And so, then you got pregnant with Jim and you had you stayed there, you can go by there. And then how long do I think I had

11:54 Diane. So she had biracial children children living in the house with you and Dad and still your other two siblings in the same house, and your grandma and your mom and your dad in a two-bedroom flat upstairs, which is kind of incredible in these days. I know it right when I got older and I'd look at that house. And I said, yeah, I said it was just like a mazing that, you know, we had the bad, the full bag in there. We had the crib and then there was a buggy or a bed crib in the in the living room for the other baby. That was always found somebody in the crib and summer and that was just amazing. But right? So you had, then you moved out after you were pregnant with your fourth.

12:43 I was right after my third after I hit 3rd, Michael, okay, I move down here and out. And then you got an apartment, and then you had a total of six children within six years ago, at the age of 24. You had six children from ages, 1 to 6, and I am the youngest, and then you had the wisdom to stop having that many more children. Well, yes, I am. And I know that it wasn't been such a such a chore for you to raise us all and I really don't because I often think and today, the kids, aren't you. They, they're waiting so long to marry and have a family. And I kind of, I don't think that's right, because I have no regrets and being young, cuz I literally literally grew up with Mike kids. Yes. I don't regret it. I had fun. I had the energy to strengthen to be with them and to take care of him. And though,

13:43 I didn't have to work. Thank god dad to did enough to support us all and I never went to work until the kids were in high school. So that was a blessing.

13:53 And so, what was anything, I'm the your, your story in your past that you never told us. We forgot to tell us or, you know, something that you think your future Generations should know about this. Great story of yours going down to Mexico at such a young age by yourself. I mean it to me, it's just such an incredible love story that world and it wasn't the easiest because it was very hard. Living, his mom was very poor was a very poor part of town. No running water and no indoor facilities. Everything was outside and

14:33 And I often think of the inside of dad to say, I want to go back to the States and raise my children, there like a little Vagabond. He never wanted to stay home. She says, she for every was looking for him because he was always somewhere doing something. And that's just the way he was, he was out in Napa Valley in California working when he was younger. He was just everywhere where his brother was just the office and you couldn't turn him away from his house to go anywhere where his dad was just an adventurer, you know, he wanted to be out doing things and things, like, what I'm thinking did he ever say, you know, let's stay here in Mexico and raise our kids or what was it? Just understood that you would come back to the song tractor to coming back with me. No, he never did. But at one point,

15:27 When he got older and we travel back and forth on vacation to Mexico, he did at time. Say, you know,

15:35 That he often said, if I die, I want to be left here to be buried here. But I, when he did die in Mexico. When their vacation, I did not have I couldn't bring myself to leave them there because he had a family back home. He had a grand children children and I'm sure they wanted their dad to be with them. You know, so you think he would have been better wanted to be buried down in Mexico needs and I think he would have liked it. But he I think he's still his his way with his countrymen cuz when he died, he was laid out and he had his people mourn him, right? When I get home, to leave mention that we dad passed away. When we are vacationing down in here, when we were vacationing. In fact, you Linda and your sister Diane, they were with us and he got sick and he may I sent them back home because I didn't want them just hanging around tonight, but don't sit for a while. We had to get back, but you brought him back.

16:35 Yeah, as you did the first time when you get married, yes, I brought him back again. Unfortunately, it wasn't alive this time, but don't at the age of 44, you were widowed. Yeah, and he was 5026 years. I think you were married, right? And that it was lovely. I have, I have really no regrets in my life, except the fact that you know, if we would have done things differently, perhaps, you know, Dad would have been treated for his blood pressure problem, which at that time was not that much knowing about it like it is today. I think he would have been if I hadn't happened here at home. I think you could have been saved but clinics where he was, there were not equipped really, it was a like a maturity maternity hospital where he was at and it was not equipped to be a, how do you think you would like to be?

17:35 Remember yourself from your family self. Ya gonna do you think you're going to you know, leave your legacy on? Well, I just I would just love my kids to know. I really really am blessed to have such a beautiful family, the love of my family and

17:52 My grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

18:00 Play. I will always look after you all. Are you?

18:08 And what do you think is the most important lesson you learned in life, just to appreciate life each day every day? Every day, every morning in the wish for another morning to come.

18:25 But as far as having regrets, I don't have requested all anywhere that. If we let him, you want to pass on to your great-grandchildren that are you going to come? I would love them, know to know, just to to be a lot of their parents or grandparents. Right? I think that's the base of this. It, this whole family was just never ages. Rob ashamed, to show your mom, ask for forgiveness if you do something wrong.

18:59 And that's about it, you know, never number.

19:04 Never hold grudges. Life is too short.

19:07 Right, right. I think it's a it's a wonderful story and you know, your legacy will will go on and on and I hope so. There's a way, you know, I'll let you know. I will be looking out after you hang on them.

19:27 Anything else you want to know that? I just thank you for doing this interview for, I'm glad you've been after me a long time. I appreciate your time and effort. Linda. I love you. Mom. I love you, too.

19:42 Can I ask a few questions? Sure, I loved hearing your love story and I wanted to just get a few for the visual details from the story. Like what did can you give me your husband's name and what he looked like the first time you met him or his real full name is Jose Carmen Bellard. They infect his real name is should be good. Tiaras fill out of it because he never wanted to go Cheddar's East. It was too hard for me to spell, so being that he wasn't, wasn't that a fluent in English. She said, I just took my mom's name her. This man was flirting. So in other words, you know, and when he was he was well, he was

20:33 I would say he was more handsome than Elvis Presley.

20:37 He was he wasn't tall. He might have been 59, but he was a very, very much. My daughter saw his pictures when he was young. He was a very, very handsome man. Maybe that is why? I'm one of the reasons I said, I'm not going to get rid of it. I want to see if he's willing. I'm going to bring him back home. And did you go down there with the intent to marry him? Did you know she was happy about that? She was happy and factually always wrote me letters and she was telling me about the songs, the new hits that came out and everything and she would you know, you know if she missed me and she would want me back home and she's acting dad. Forgave you he'll he'll want you back home too cuz he misses you so like that. I miss them too.

21:36 And what was it like being in Mexico during that time? What was his family like? His family was very loving. They were very surprised and took the Mexican food because his mother, you know, why she made the tortillas. And she does have a pain. He was in all that she would say, she would always say in her Spanish, you know, look at this gringa. She's eating all her and I was just ravishing at Juno and I never want to pick up my nose or or whatever. They serve me. I just ate, you know, when they say, they love me for that my mother-in-law and get come down to visit us one time when we lived in the projects, my husband and all my children, six of us. We lived in a in a four-bedroom place and his mother came with her one of her.

22:28 The grandsons, wasn't it wasn't, it was like somebody she was taken care of and she stayed with us if she came on the railroad all by herself. So I'm amazed at her to that. She had the will to come and visit us in English and there are several times since my husband's passing. We've been there for him, there at his daughter's. Dumb, it 15th birthday, which they call the kids in there and they we were in there for the party and then we went for their 50th wedding anniversary and I had family was pretty poor down there. When weren't they?

23:12 Mexico, when you first went, there is definitely definitely they had no running water. You said to go and get the water from the garage door closed on the Rocks. Did you or not? Washington? Because it was convenient spot. So, ever we took a bath, we had a big tub sat on the stool, for whatever, the container in the tub, and just rinsed it and washed ourselves and the same with dishes, you know, I was helping my mother-in-law doing the dishes and I look up and there's a real big vulture signal is right up there. As is that scared me enough, where I said, wow, make my husband said don't don't be afraid. He said they just looking for scraps. I said, yeah.

24:05 But it was it was hard to get used to, you know, the Milkman would come with her with their dumb case and deliver the milk, you know, right from from the cow itself. I guess he would let me get on the on the donkey, you know, and I don't want you if you wanted to turn the headlights. Are you hurry up? Got off? I thought I was going to bite me. So no, they won't. He send the Spanish. He won't bite you. But do you know? It was another question and that when you went on date. So you were down there. What would you do? Did you guys ever go out on the town together, right? Going to do down there a relay because nothing to do that. I think is your dad was at the time. He was working odd jobs, so, he was doing some work and I just stayed there with my sister-in-law.

24:56 And no.

24:58 In fact, I had when she had one child and she was about to deliver another child. When I was there. She did deliver the child and, you know, I was there when she delivered it in there and helping her out. Well, she had a midwife yes or no. I don't mean with the birth. I mean with her babies you were helping her where you cuz you live together. It was one big room and we was just invited with beds and was like a community, a room, you know where they were when we were in another part. But, you know, I remember he knows, see my nephew being born and, you know, I thought that would scare me from ever having chills, but wasn't your usual. Fortunately, it wasn't your usual dating going to the show or anything. I don't remember really what we did. We might have gone for a walk from my telephone to another town or something that we did. Nothing. Nothing exciting that I could really that would say

25:58 In my mind that I remember really, we did this. We did that know, we did a lot when we were eating and what was it? Like when you had your first child yourself?

26:11 I really I was happy. I was very happy. I was living with Mom and Dad. So that made it very, very easy, convenient. My husband was work in my bed, made him a job. So he was working.

26:26 And no.

26:28 You know, a naturally, with my first time. I was really, I didn't know you was born and sisters hospital at the time. Just being changed out. How old were you? I was 18. Okay, and you know, I

26:50 Like I say, I really didn't know how much.

26:55 You know, what was I going to experience pain wise or whatever, you know, and and I guess I just it was surprised to me anyway, but the well, I always thought that it was so funny that you were so young when you had kids and you know, Granny maybe you were more mature, but I think that you did a good job bringing us up because you know, you may not have taught us much but you taught us the basics and that was just to love each other. Take care of each other, you know, you know all six of us were right. We're just a very loving family and I think it was due to your love for dad and his love for you and he showed at you all the time. And I think that just goes to show that that's all, you know, and, you know, we didn't have much. But at least you were always clean. Like I'm, I must say that I was fussy about, you know, having clean clothes for you Sandy and looking pretty and right. They may have been second hand, but they were never torn or anything, right?

27:55 They are always clean. I know my husband used to nickname me Second Hand Rose, because I think since the beginning of of time, I used to always tell you, no.

28:10 Call me Second Hand Rose. And you did you finish ninth grade or did you started? Started it, but I never finished it. And you know, I don't know if I've ever told you that but I think you're pretty wise and you speak three languages, you speak Polish, right? So there you go with somebody who didn't even complete 9th grade. You have that knack for learning a language. I think I've been very smart and I didn't work, and I made me some decent money and I made myself some saving. All right, now, I'm retired in about 15 years and I live comfortably. I must say, I enjoy life because I am alone, but I ain't that lonely. Yet. My children are always concerned. They always call me or visit me and asked me if I want something chance to do the way you brought us up, though. We know.

29:10 Have to take care of you because for all those years, you taken care of us, and you raised us all very well. Thank you. I appreciate that. And I think any loving mother would do the same to any of her children. If she's a loving mother to our children, always come first always.

29:27 So it sounds like he was quite the Romantic. Do you have any stories? Yes. I always was. My daughter gets mad at me because I was say, Linda, she's going to wonderful. Wonderful boyfriend, but let's not get into that and I tell her Linda, please take care of him. Thank you very much. I know that and he always showed that he was always kissing you and crampy but no no family because it was so much love in our family all all around and then my family to let you know whenever we greet each other we always kissing each other. Hello kiss each other. Goodbye, because you know, my mother awful often God Rest her. So she often said, you'll never know if you can see that person again, so you have to be say what you want, that person when they are alive, the last time you going to see me cuz it might be the last time One X.

30:27 I think we're done. Are you done yet? Anything else. Mom know? I guess that's a you for all the love. You've given us. Thank you for allowing me to, to share my love story with you and whoever else is interested in listening to him and hope they do. Listen in the few. Alright. Thank you so much. Love you. My love you, too, Daughter.