Luz Gomez and David Carter

Recorded January 17, 2010 Archived January 17, 2010 38:14 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBX006244


David Carter (38) interviews spouse Luz Gomez (35) about her father, Carlos Ignacio Gomez Arriola, who died three years ago.

Subject Log / Time Code

Luz’s father left Columbia when he was 23 years old. He went first to Miami and then to Los Angeles.
Luz describes her father as a stay-at-home dad. He ran his own business from home, so he was in the house a lot. He got a degree from UCLA on the GI bill.
Carlos was social and gregarious. Luz remembers him visiting her in New York when they went to an underground salsa club. He talked to everyone. She remembers him trying to speak Portuguese when they went to Brazil together.
Luz’s father loved learning. He instilled in them that they should study, and that he would support them while they studied. Luz talks about how the children of immigrants always want to make their parents proud.
He was always very kind, sweet, and empathetic. She wishes her son could have met him.
Luz was a daddy’s girl, but her brothers were like his confidantes. Her brother Luciano became his primary care physician when they were older.


  • Luz Gomez
  • David Carter

Recording Location

MobileBooth East

Partnership Type



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00:02 I Am David Carter I'm 38. Today is January 17th 2010. We're in Miami, Florida and I'm speaking with my wife Luis Gomez.

00:14 Alice Gomez, I'm 35 years old and we're here in Miami, Florida and it's great to be here with my husband.

00:25 Jacksonville start off with

00:28 Questions were going to be talking about your dad today. The longer with us.

00:36 Not for 4 years ago shortly after our wedding so

00:45 Can you tell me why your dad left Columbia when he did he laughed when he was 23 years old actually, it's funny enough. He came here to Miami and he left because I think his life was kind of going nowhere. Columbia is kind of the party or the fun guy was like to go out dancing and whatever and I can get kind of felt like he wasn't he wasn't getting anywhere and so he could have wonderlost to you wanted to to to go try and try his luck in America is pretty easy to immigrate at that time was about nineteen fifty-nine airport. I guess he's to be right on the water. Where are the mayor's office is actually landed just right right in our backyards probably but 5 minutes from her house isn't walking or something.

01:45 He's like, oh my God, my tummy looks so different. He's literally haven't been here in like forty years or so. He stayed here in Miami like 6 or 12 months and then there's kind of like nothing going on. It was like completely dead is like before a lot of the Cuban immigrants migrating here. So it was really like a super retiree so I can do you like washing dishes for some Cuban guy making $0.75 an hour or something. So you wanted to get out of here and go to New York. I'm so of course, he had no money. There was no other family members here yet. Right? No, I don't think so. I mean it would come to visit and have fun and I never liked him regret it here. And so I try to get to to New York on trying to get one of those cars were your driving somebody's car across country or to another location. So the car came up to go to La so humid.

02:45 It is other friend. I'm said I'm okay. Let's go to La so I can kind of tell if you like. They had no strings. I made it out to LA and whatever happened to his friend that he was it just a small little Colombian La, you know, very very very very small compared to like the Mexican immigrant population in LA, but they're you know, they all kind of hung out in the general say the same area like Glendale area and I'll start with them probably, you know, I think as a as they moved out to different areas, like a lot of people didn't move out to Pico Rivera his group, you know, so over the years like some might have emigrated back to Columbiana other ones like you lost touch with

03:38 Besides

03:43 Besides just coming here on his own and everything what other major obstacles early on that your dad over, Did he speak English when he came here and there I think I'm when he really learn English this when he actually got drafted to the US military. There was a real quick after I think it was like a year later or something crazy like that has a legal resident because it was pretty easy to get your papers I think back then but yeah the guys drop off papers and he'll like I don't know dollar to his name. He was like, I kind of doubt it at that point. So he was kind of happy to get drafted and get three squares a day and can carry training up in Northern Cal something-or-other. I forgot for Hood though.

04:43 And I know that you have a choice to where he went after that or the cutoff to get like there was to cut cut off. They want to stay in the states after a certain name a through G went to like Hawaii which is where he ended up going and then the other like whatever they drawn went to Germany, please laikos bummed that he missed out to go to Germany because it's brother those living there at the food is Broken Lyrics the same time before maybe yeah, you know

05:22 All of his dream. He thought it was kind of a neat place, but he can see living there long-term cuz it was such a Tropical Paradise kind of there's no reason for him really to go back at that point was no I mean cuz he didn't meet my mom until like the late sixties and so probably cuz it was easy. I know when we actually for for like 6 months or something spend all his money and then came back to direct flights or something then to tell a long long lights.

06:22 I'm in in Watts. He's actually I've been LA turn the Watts Riots retail some crazy stories about like the riots starting and he kind of got stuck there and the guy is this Jewish guy that he work for it and the only carpet company the factory and just kind of getting to get hightail and out of there with the with his boss or whatever. You said. I was pretty trippy Foods carry me through a couple of those I guess in LA.

06:53 Some more about Colombia just before you went there for the first time. How did he describe and I was he talking about if you remember what is your earliest memories of him? How did he say about his country it mean I think what's funny is that he came here kind of young like I think about maybe at 23 years. I got you baby. And I think you would like really assimilate vs wished. He'd really did just her next time. He learned English pretty well very very well-spoken this really well over time. We always talked about Colombia like this is amazing like magical place. You know, I'll do it has it all his issues lose his old was dying to go back. I was going to go back to the Finca Dude music and you know that all the things that I was making me the sounds of a bit like fighting with you you definitely want to go

07:53 First time I like when I like when I was like cognizant of it, I went up 7 with my brothers and my mom and without him he didn't go with us and then I went at 19 with my brother Luciano that graduated from you from a key when I was there for like 6 months total and he went for a

08:34 Maybe a couple weeks and we met up in meta-gene and we were able to hang out that was really cool off on your own. But you know, I was nervous. I think that's why we never traveled there after after I was six because that's when the grill at like a lot of the mafia stuff and you know stuff is really bad back in the 80s. We went in the early 81 pinelake 1981, which is you know still okay. I know we have to the 80s. He's just like no way I'm going to send my family there, but you would travel there when you went. Yeah, I mean, it has its ups and downs. There's like, you know. The respite but it wasn't really really bad and then in the late 90s when I had come back ready. I got really bad again, but you didn't try to forbid you to travel by yourself. It wasn't like.

09:34 But after I went on before I was going to go see how excited I was cuz I had studied at American politics not Alexa friends. I like the history and what was going on current events there, and I know. I just telling him how excited I wasn't. I remember he fell back to sleep now. I'm so proud that I've been able to get that deep is your mom. I don't know probably she was happy that I went to Gladwin to peruse.

10:22 Are there anyway really Vivid memories you have like, you know your dad pop into your head when you think about him. I mean like how old is he wouldn't these memories show up?

10:36 We were always kind of liked but you know, like he had his own his own business at home all our life. And so and so he was like kind of like stay-at-home dad in a way to you would take the school to my mom would work really early and so he would take him to school you'd always pick us up. So my earliest memories are kind of like him being in his little thistle office at home from work. So I would go with him to the stuff and go to like the stationery store to pick up station go to the post office be there to drop off some stuff and I do some work for him. Whatever. Did you understand? What you didn't know how old were you when you finally understood what he was doing all I remember him doing I mean,

11:36 That one was in he started that one like around Carlos support around 6 in the late 60s until probably all the way up until like the mid-70s. So he did that while he went to school and I'm so I don't really remember him in that job probably as much as Carlos sarduy did and

11:54 Sounds so yeah, that's kind of like how I envisioned him as is always having this business is a random industry. Yeah, I would ask him if he basically like when he got out of when he finished his little degree from it was kind of I don't know. It's probably somewhere between Lincoln community college degree on a undergrad degree at UCLA on the GI Bill.

12:26 Yeah, you started working for this company in Downtown LA that did this is like exports to Latin America diesel Trucking parts or whatever and so he he work there a few years and he would travel all through an American he'd be gone for like a month sometime. And so so after that you just kind of like, you know, when 10 depending cuz I hardly paid him anything because of my mom says she helped support but he was starting up his company. So that's probably why I have a soft spot for small businesses pay any jokes, you can think about it. Your dad went down like I mean, like usual but he was telling dorky Joseph the same joke over the years.

13:26 Cardi B like try to test it out on us and all the kids if you like to talk to you.

13:50 Cal he never he didn't visit me that my mom would visit me more account but in New York, you actually did visit me a couple times. Ruth Cooper memorable cuz he would come that my mom is it when you do that without my mom like they're very different people obviously mom's very no

14:06 Great conservative and she's chill out while he's kind of like the crazy guy like you let him listen to like want to go dancing one time when he came to visit me how we went out to pack. He had so much fun. I took him to like this underground salsa club in it was really fun. And he's funny cuz he'll talk to he would talk to anybody that was probably like the most funny part of like him he would talk to anybody because I'm not like at all and getting picked up my part of it all we could go up to people and talk to them and I remember you like this Cuban guy the way he dance like he's like this guy was all decked out in a white suit, like he was like, you know went up to his party would have his joke, so they were waiting in line to go to the to the bathroom and then the guy like tapped him on the shoulder to ask if he was um, you know, if he was waiting for the

15:06 After my dad looked at it when he's like Oh, I thought you were going to ask me to dance so we would have a good time with you need those were actually probably the funnest time that we had just one on one or then we went to Brazil to that was fun. Yeah. Whose idea was that by the way, my Nicholas wanted to go with it. Always Brazil. I can't remember my miles. So Brazil was kind of like some place that I was wanted to go.

15:54 Two stones out and meeting people know you was again, he would always try to like yeah make friends with people is really funny and it be like I'd be slightly embarrassed in like I here we go again ever with him on this trip and then when we're in Columbia Taylor's like this newlywed couple that he like befriended movies like normally good timer for talking like what do you like to do? You know, I just like the to talk to people in like listen to their stories trying to speak Portuguese. Yeah you like he's really cute and really funny.

16:50 Leonard had never met your dad. What did he look like physically physically God. I don't know. He's he's like 5-9 had a big ol nose, Very European. I mean. Sometimes people wouldn't be like, you're from Colombian. Okay, cuz you speak English pretty well bald guy. Yeah, but was funny. I like that. Sometimes we'd be traveling in Latin America remember a couple times and they people think that I don't like it cuz I wasn't related to him all that. We looked alike except I was really far. Can I go and get really tan Amazon's diving like what you doing with this young girl? I guess that's the problem sadly.

17:50 You did say something that he didn't didn't really look like it was from Columbia ramming. His family was from Spain a part of Andrea and he was actually talked about that. I like how it was really into the GM IGN what he went through. I'm from a place where because he lost his parents. So young because I was like kind of looking to get to find your roots, you know, like like trying to capture back some of the family. I think it was I was actually looking up some papers. The other day is probably like in the late 90s, my sister-in-law had given him during had given him a book on on bask and ask history. That's right his family with the Trump and and so he of course read the whole book cover to cover cuz he was an Avid Reader and at the end, you know, who wrote the author which

18:50 Genealogist from Spain, you know, they would do that. He would just like write letters on his old typewriter like and this guy like everything he knew cuz he had been doing his own little research whatever we've been years and they now this is something so my my grandfather and migrated to Columbia. I'll probably at like 8:18 something, you know, this is there go there last names, you know, can you tell me anything and I got I ended up writing them back since like 5 Page Letter telling them like, yes you have family here. If you have cousins there like they were not first cousins, but I like second cousins or something better that are alive and well and they're your age. Country. Here's their name blah blah blah, and I think you're not even giving them there at that like a contact information.

19:42 So course he's not shying and he would not be contacted them and he ended up going to Spain to visit them and she said it was a little freaky that they're like, like he never met them before their life and they were very much had the kind of similar Personalities in terms of being very gregarious as a highlight of his research for sure. You'd love that stuff and he used to keep you up-to-date with his emails, right totally. Like I found this person isn't even try to get some from family members in Columbia every time you impact.

20:33 See if you guys were there anything growing up that you really really?

20:40 Butted heads on or disagreed with your dad about

20:44 Butted heads on I think that every teenager has a couple years like I was always like serious Daddy's Little Girl Like like, you know,

20:54 Like super close to him. Then there was like a. Of like from 14 to 16. Butthead mostly because I was trying to like probably assert My independence and probably about sneaking out. I'm sure he know he probably didn't know. No, I mean I got caught doing but relatively like tomorrow or whatever but that's pretty mellow. Other than that. We had our two years did wherever you can get along. But other than that, yeah, he's like

21:50 Just when you told him you were going to get married. Do we tell them right? You told him? He was like so suit, what did he tell you that buddy? David so soon?

22:12 What about

22:15 Was there anything that about your dad that you knew that cuz your secret with him that's like and no one else knew Brothers your mom knowing you.

22:26 Other special things you would do and you wouldn't do with them. I don't know if he ever told him that we went out salsa dancing until like 3 in the morning and he stayed up watching the news with drinking beer really like, you know the times we took me spend together by

23:00 Kevin most what's my questions?

23:15 Was like really strong cologne. Yeah, like I was like freshido. You didn't know it was like right like my dad never look messy. I was like how like a little lizard ever.

23:44 Videos like had a really a proper English, which is really funny to say stuff like like shall he said to me one time Dave? Shall we get some beers now? He's really funny. Yeah. He was a good guy. He had him. Yeah, he worked hard. I mean he's got like if you think about it like total American American Dream store Diana like you was at a like I came here with $8 in my pocket and I unlink like three of us went to college. When's the doctor look like Mason, you know, like for big bucks of kind of crazy and he's like,

24:35 Like nothing crazy happened. Do you remember he was always liked and then cuz he didn't take advantage of you is really smart. But he didn't I mean he didn't even finish high school maybe even Columbia and he got his GED here and whatever and so he just love to learn like he likes so enjoy going to have to use. Hella. I'd like to know what's up, cuz I think he wasn't still like you got to do it at the time that you're supposed to catch you later life is like to him right now and have all these opportunities, you know, like you need to worry. I'm helping you and I think yeah, but yeah, I always knew I was going to go to college in my ear like

25:19 Right now couriers Munich

25:22 I'm the same with your brother then to you at your brother's. Yeah, I totally know I was trying to

25:30 Time do Best for 4. I think that's kind like the Immigrant thing to make your parents proud.

25:44 Hopefully long look at that and still loving him. Somehow got to keep the immigrants. Eliza exactly.

25:58 What's your dad's name? Carlos Ignacio Gomez.

26:04 Areola with a second name.

26:13 Do you have a specific?

26:18 Memory are memories about a particularly kind moment from your childhood when he was very just like kind to grind all the time. You know, you're just so sweet. Thank you. Very very loving person. Very loving person. Empathy don't you wonder about that? Like like how do you pass on empathy to your children? You know, and I think it's because you see it when I go is concerned about like

26:48 Like the poor or letting you know, like he was very thoughtful about all that stuff. I think but has carried on a shows you empathy and like your kids end up.

26:59 Taking some of that on to

27:03 Hello, sweetie was real sweet to like everyone to call my friends to he's always really nice to jail is former roommate Suites up. A lot of people few people ever said that they didn't like him going to

27:21 Yeah, I know. I kind of remind anybody that didn't like him. He was just fun to be around.

27:27 Now I know.

27:30 Now the old ladies I was like them at like weddings and stuff.

27:36 You haven't done I don't receive.

27:39 Saying he was a Casanova and all that sort of stuff to anybody else little ladies are like cool.

27:54 What was

27:58 It's so cool. You guys are so close. How is it been losing him know? It's like one of those things that it was stays with you, but it stops being like a really difficult presents in terms of like living your life after a while.

28:15 So I think about him I probably think about him every day just like in passing but good memories. I mean, I think it's probably hard for his Dave after after he passed away the first few months and stuff, but

28:27 Yeah, what time is appealing a lot of stuff?

28:30 I wish I could have met her son to see how they would had a great time.

28:41 Is he was like, you know, you would have a ball without regretting his like we were so, you know, that's that but you know.

28:54 I always think you know, I was so lucky to have somebody like that or so people were tortured enough. I think to have a parent that so kind and

29:04 So I think about like the Luxe I have I have them for so long.

29:16 And I'm not on his feet done Columbia.

29:25 Hanging out

29:38 Maybe we'll name our second to Carlos if it's a boy.

29:56 Do you talk and ask more questions you or talk to you?

30:01 Your mom about your dad or I'm going to need your brother's to certain extent your one brother took it especially hard companionship.

30:15 Blue card for her because she he took care of her and so many different ways but she's a tough little perfume lady, but I really took care of herself but for her something for Lou

30:31 Reddit amazing. We need you think that you can't service or pass the pain around that but I mean, you do know how life goes on I guess.

30:42 But it's nice cuz he's out with Luciano gave me a Christmas list.

30:48 The album of like old pictures of me when I was little so that was cute. And I think he very much wants to keep that memory of

30:59 My dad like a lifer for the kids movie daddy's little girl doing he loved he like went through Medical School through Luciano. You know what I mean, like dance Primary Care

31:40 And he's proud of his proud of them.

31:45 Bill's key when he and I take out the album that they gave me a little I opened it and I have no Elantra input to know who our love is and he's like a willow.

32:06 Yeah, he lives on you all. I mean, I think he has to live on like he lives on in like all of us.

32:16 How many did he beat it bass on his business to your other brother? You know, I think is probably a little conflicted about that. You know, I think of the one hand it was it was a great relationship and they were both doing it, but I don't know if it was his passion to do it on his own hook and he's kind of doing his own thing now think it's finding his own way.

32:46 So yeah, I think it was a good experience for them to at least have had that time together, you know.

32:58 Experience your dad talk to you about like how it was working with your brother or vice versa.

33:08 I did it for so long and Carlos was literally I mean, he never really had another job out of college and you worked with him. What like 15 years or something.

33:20 We have a mean-ass Morgan still in a small lot going on a long car doesn't smell out of the office was in their house a bigger office slightly bigger than the Pico Rivera house. Mellow Carlos's mellow, dude.

33:46 Honestly

33:50 You were in one household time you grew up right in the mood when I went to college until that other house and pick that neighborhood or how that happened. Cuz my 99 crappy delivery grow up in Pico, you know, I think it was a move-out and they lived in didn't like literally like when the outskirts of downtown LA like Boyle Heights like when my brother was born late sixties and stuff and I think they just got the opportunity to like buy a small house and probably more affordable out. Then what was considered the burbs, you know used to be a white neighborhood and then, you know slowly like it became like 100% Mexican-American neighborhood pretty much then than the Colombian fruit and Pam.

34:51 You guys were a minority among minorities. Yeah, everybody just assumed we're Mexican, you know the real ink in my neighborhood.

35:07 Are you similar to your father?

35:09 I'm similar to him in that that I love to dance and like have fun. And yeah, I think in my love of like Columbia my roots and stuff like that, but he was like adding special in that. He's a very angry. I'm more shy like I'm very definitely much more shy person in general than he was out there all the time again is what time is it in Paris?

35:38 Good, but that's what I loved about it because he can just like talk and talk and have a good conversation with him and then implemented by the the listening part. It was nice.

35:50 Close on route to the magazines in the Articles all over the place. He loved history anthropology and he'll all kinds of Science. And now he was just in love with that stuff and such an Avid Reader, you know plow through book in a day is a Jesuit school in I think it was like that he tell stories of when he was really little that. He would be like, I don't know 5 6 7 and use these really big words in Spanish and like the adults with laugh like why are you using that word is because you would like flipped through the encyclopedias and we'd be reading stuff.

36:50 Really smart I hope I hope you dance like that with Dad. That's for sure. Yeah, I think he was just like again, I think he was a little bit too precocious too smart for his own good like think, you know back in the day in like the forties in Columbia Jesuits for like I think he did something like question.

37:24 Like what? I don't understand. Why would God punish you for that or something like in the wake of existential question coming from like a 10 year old or 12 year old and I don't even know how old do us.

37:35 I didn't like he got kicked out. I think he was as kind of like always asking questions like that that he got kicked out. So kind of sad wasn't cut out for school life.

37:50 Poor guy

37:52 We made it through Catholic school. So maybe were the Redemption.

38:03 Both look great.

38:06 But I have to buy that's for sure.