RosaMaría Henry and Patricia Gibson

Recorded February 24, 2020 Archived February 24, 2020 38:54 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby019692


Friends RosaMaría Henry (73) and Patricia "Patty" Gibson (70) reflect on their Latin roots and remember meeting through work. They talk about their friendship, moments when they have supported each other, and their shared sense of civic duty to create positive change in the world.

Subject Log / Time Code

PG remembers meeting RH in an interview.
PG recalls meeting her ex-husband, moving to the United States from Colombia, and getting dual citizenship.
RH talks about coming to the United States from Guatemala when she was 5 years old.
PG reflects on the challenges of adapting to life in the United States.
RH recalls when her mother died and PG supported her.
PG talks about her sense of civic duty that she and RH share.
PG shares how she feels when she visits Colombia.
PG and RH reflect on influences in their lives.
PG remembers her interest in European history while growing up.


  • RosaMaría Henry
  • Patricia Gibson

Recording Location



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00:05 I'm rosamaru00eda Henry. I am 73 today is Monday, February 24th 2020. We're in Fresno, California, and I'm here with my very dear friend Patty Gibson.

00:21 Hi, my name is Patty Gibson and I am 70 years old. Today is Monday, February 24th, 2020 and we getting Fresno California and I am so pleased to be here talking to you Rosa Maria my dear friend. I've known you a long time. Haven't you remember how we met? I do I do I I hadn't been taking care of my children for Rihanna when they were little and the minute my daughter came started kindergarten. I started working at the Diocese of Fresno Chancery office and that you interviewed me and it was just a real real different things. I was so used to just being with babies all the time back into the workforce and back talking to adult.

01:21 And so it is I stayed in there for eight years you remember I said I do do they were good years and I was sorry that you left and I remember interviewing you and at that point I was a little frustrated because we were looking for a receptionist was truly bilingual and people didn't understand what that really meant and it wasn't just being able to speak Spanish but being able to read and write and translate and you had all the qualification so I was really happy I did I did and we were very very blessed that we work for the most wonderful Bishop of Fresno. And so those years were very nice in my memory and I used to do translations for him. I was his Spanish secretary I did translations for the newspaper and help you and the TV station. Yeah. Yeah you were going to use me that one of the one of the proudest

02:21 Of my life to help started television station that was religious television station in educational station and it was multilingual that was exciting. It was beautiful. And actually I have to say through channels 49 listening to some of these beautiful beautiful and wonderful enlightened people. I became born again. I started opening the you know, what the holy scriptures and and everything was just beautiful and so it is a really wonderful thing for people that are Homebound and for people that are and not able to attend church we can do it at home that was in the Great Adventure and it was wonderful that you were part of it and you were a great help to us and we both came from different.

03:21 Places at different times we were born someplace else. I was born in what the my legs were born in Colombia. And what brought you here to remember? I actually I was born and my father was an attorney and we had a pretty stable pretty wealthy family and but I decided that I was kind of hard rival I decided to go live in London and I live with an English family and then and then my mother became ill I had to come back to Columbia, but I came here for vacation here to America. I never thought I was going to leave here never but I came to visit my sister on a vacation and I miss my ex-husband and now he is it Love at First Sight and

04:21 We saw each other and we just fell in love with one another and because I was only going to be here a month and then I went back to Columbia we corresponded and he asked me to be his wife and I came with a legal status as his wife and them and it was just wonderful, but I didn't become a citizen until much later because and if I was going to be an American citizen, I would lose my Colombian citizenship and I just didn't want that to happen. I'm primarily a Colombian + and so I've I waited and waited and then in 2000 and 2000 or 2001 and there was an opportunity to have the dual citizenship. And the most poignant thing is that when they are taxed me your happen that the following day I had an appointment.

05:21 Did you know I'd immigration office. That was my last appointment and when I went to that appointment I was crying so much because I thought that was the most horrible thing that could happen and the man asked me if I wanted to be sworn in that same afternoon and I'm like yes. Yes. Yes, you know as long as we have been friends. I never had to ask you how come get your family most to America what all is not all of them move to America just my aunt and grandmother on my father's sister and mother and I and everybody else stayed in Guatemala, then that since changed but it was one of those things in our family problems and my parents were divorcing and this way.

06:21 Opportunity that I could come to the United States and they felt that I had more educational opportunities in the United States oyez. So I came when I was five years old in 1952 and I've been here ever since I will my whole back a little bit closer. Oh, but he's always so wonderful going back home it is it is I can never forget and you give him as much as we love this country and we love it down to the core, but our souls are Latin for Mark and Kris Colombian Guatemala and everybody else feels the same. Yes. Yes, and I've been here since 1976 by Charli, you know, I always have felt like I have a kinship not only with Columbia with America to so it's kind of a double your soul is almost

07:21 Divided because part of you is they're part of you is here, but being that we have our children here and my grandchildren I have two beautiful grandchildren that I absolutely adore and and actually those grandchildren are take joy of my life. I couldn't imagine a most beautiful love that my grandmother feels for their grandchildren and you can enjoy the more you don't have to worry about them because you're my daughter being a teacher and you know, I like this is baby since they were born. I kept them too and two days out of the week. So I feel like I'm a Grammy and yeah, that's really

08:14 In so, what do you think in a proud of many many things? But what do you think your proudest stuff in your life?

08:24 Well, you know, I I have to move back and I wish I had to go through a lot of adversity because when I came to America, I actually I didn't know anyone my sister lived here, but she had her own life with her husband and children and so because you had lived in England, yes, but not notice much sometimes my ex-husband and I would be having a conversation. I'd be like grasping because I couldn't express myself. Well, but actually I think they they think that I am the most proud of is that I / I was able to overcome so many difficulties cuz we divorce when the children were so young and my my baby was only 5 years old and my older one was nine and at

09:24 When I started working at the Chancery office, but it was very hard cuz I didn't have a car. I didn't know how to drive when I remember those days and I feel very isolated. It was so much isolation. It was nobody to talk to calling to Colombia is not like now that you pick up a phone and you do FaceTime and and you carry on the conversation from the ones ago, but it was just calling long distance, but I think overcoming so many difficulties and becoming the person that I am today. I am so proud of myself. I have accomplished a lot of things and I have been I have done good to a lot of people in my lifetime the things I admire most about you, of course, but you do Rosa Maria. You are such a smart person. I think I have always throughout our men.

10:24 Years of knowing each other the thing that I admire the most is your intelligence but he's always so wonderful. We have very very poignant conversations that talk about you many many things. I think that's the one of the things that brought us together. When we first met. Over 30 years ago almost 40 getting close to 40. I think this is great. I think we are Kindred Spirits other sister from another mother something like that a lot of things together in our marriage is dissolved. And at one of the things I will keep very close to my heart always.

11:22 Is when my mother died you were there for me. Oh, she was so sweet. It was a sweetheart. I will never forget you heard about it must have been 9 at night and I had just gotten the phone call an hour earlier and

11:43 I think Lewis. My daughter called you and tell you I had been out with my soon-to-be second has been found and I had to run home and get ready to go back home from barium and my gosh. I thought you were right there. But can I do I'm sorry and that meant a lot to me. Yeah, losing our mother sister such a traumatic thing because there is basically nobody. Love says with so much love and no no no interest for anything except our happiness and it was only was such a surprise. I want to tell you she was killed by hit-and-run driver. I know how sad that was was equally happened with me with my father. So I think I identified myself with you because my desk

12:43 Something happened to my father and it's just you know, when you lose first one parent and then you lose the second one you feels like an orphan and he's an extra is no matter how old you are very sad extra layer of sadness. We were adults but then you did is that that creeps into your thinking, you know, you you look around and you think they're both time Morphin. Yes, yes or no riddles. Yes. It doesn't matter you were still and I think my daughter is now kind of starting to go a little bit through that because we lost my ex-husband recently and then she had to go through all that really. Yeah and my son to you know, the hardship of losing a parent and now I see her being a little bit more tolerant to me cuz you know, I like life is very precious frayed because yeah, yeah, we never know.

13:43 From one day to the next but now we have the 3rd Generation with the grandchildren, which is phenomenal. I think he's beautiful and I actually thank you and I have been so worried lately with all the things that are happening in the government but more so I have become such a kind of proactive person on the climate change and all of that because I look at those beautiful faces of my grandchildren and I think what kind of world are we going to leave you with? What kind of disaster are you going to have to leave through? If we don't try to do something if we don't try to raise our voices against this am complete Reckless Behavior that the government has no right, but at least we realize that I think we're at we're on the same wavelength that we we tried to be to conserve things in.

14:43 Try to recycle me to try to do the basics. We're trying to buy the oldest planet better than we found it yet. And I know so I I do I do if I'm not a rich person, but I have always even when I was super for I've always contributed to causes that healthier. So I do a lot of De conservacion Rock lullaby. Do I do donations every every month. I do five or six different donations of people like the Animal Defense fund which they defend all these people do the excuse me all the animals in the wild life as well as domesticated animals and but you know, so many of the different causes

15:33 I asked me is just we have to these people are you know, like it this attorneys go to Washington and they try to to help or to Sacramento. Are they try to help you know, putting it into action laws that are so helpful to the environment to the animals to people to all the cars. I just you know, I'd rather spend my money that way then going to buy me on YouTube how we do want to conserve the environment and and that's a no part part of our lives in part of our lives with their face and being proactive wherever we can yes, but like we say put your money where your mouth is. Yes, not just yes.

16:33 Yes, and I do remember when I did the day I became a citizen that same day. I went to a voting registration thing and I said I will start folding because I couldn't very day sort of took it for granted when we came to the United States and my aunt became citizens you went to the classes in and she she was my legal guardian and I just as well I'm a citizen to I thought and then we went to the immigration office in LA and they said oh no, you can't become a citizen. You have to wait till your sixteenth note to your 18 to take the classes take the test and do it on your own and I broke down and sobbed. Oh God.

17:33 And luckily, I went ahead and 1965. I became citizens. And that's one of the things we shared as well as descendants of the civic duty the civic duty for our not only for our but also this kind of world citizenship Beauty. I feel. Very strongly in my heart. I were not World's End to ourselves. We belong to the bigger world. Oh, yes. Yes. Yes. Yes and I think it's partly because we are very spiritual people. So we don't just the result of people that are all about the reality Here and Now on the material things and so they don't allow themselves to see beyond today today consequences of actions and

18:31 And then I think it's very important to be habitat espiritualidad Roble spiritual concerns us is not just our immediate place in our immediate family and just us yes, whatever. We're like a ripple in this big ocean, whatever we do affects zombies. Yes, and I actually you know, so it's so funny I go for silent prayer every Monday. I've done that for like 17 years for one hour of Silent prayer and I always think my little prayer thing here is going to join so many prayers are go round the world around the world and hopefully we can be in America a positive change. So is it you know it all it all helps especially in this day and age when there is so much division.

19:31 And so much to me, it just breaks. My heart. Which is listening to the news and what is happening to this country. It's just it's heartbreaking absolutely heartbreaking not to talk about when you hear about what is happening to other countries like Syrian. I mean, it's just endless remember we've talked before about leaving a legacy and you you were going to write a test that like a testament like you're writing your your life story. How is that going and I already have to keep on adding a little things here and there I want to you know when we die.

20:15 Then some people knew as well in our lifetimes but like my little grandchildren, they're so small. And even though they will we love each other so much as like I know they love me so much like phone was like her mommy and I do too but I think that so many of the things that I am that I went through they will never know and I think I'm kind of more than anything living all of those experiences and all those things to them. So one day and even for my children did might be curious that you are you are you writing things down or are you keeping a journal or are you doing it? I'm recording it now. Actually, you know what I'm doing. I have a tablet that I don't use it for anything except for that. So that's my little so I you know how I write I haven't been writing lately because I had been like so preoccupied with

21:15 Political stuff that is going now I'm going on now, but I think after everything settles down a little bit then I'm going to carry on doing that. It's just a really interesting way and I encourage everybody. I think that's a lot of gift that you here to your children or grandchildren and it's also a way to know that you know that Mom ordered the grandmother look at all the things she did look at all the things that she went through to become who she is today and to you know, the day I died and it will be it at him and I'm okay with that deer noise. I'm at peace with my dear God so, you know we have no I think it's great to to leave something written for the Next Generation. Yes, I wouldn't call issue rosamaru00eda. You have had a really interesting life as well and will wonderful experience has so many friends and so many things you've done.

22:15 Your life and you know if you leave it in there and it's kind of a little bit of therapy way. I am this way. Oh now I remember and so you still kind of putting two and two together and I think it's a fabulous way to do it more like on page 16 still have a little time left. I think I hope so I hope so. I hope I can you know, maybe one day finish it. I'm hoping I can retire this year and then I'll have more time to do all this and all those projects now you go back to Colombia every so often right? Yeah. I'm sure we both would like to go back but it's not always possible. You know, I came from a big family.

23:15 Evan the baby. So no matter how old we all are. They still treat me as the baby but you know, when you go into your own country as soon as you set foot in that is like this smells the people the face is the people there. This world and the food for the people cast being with family and friends and you know a sore muscle you getting there and he's almost like you just left the day before because we take up from where we left last night. When was the last time you went through with the mother of Summer 2016 s2016 on 2015 vibration?

24:15 10th anniversary we went we went on a cruise and we stopped in in history law L. Wonderful is wonderful have you but happy con lately for a. Of time when you can go to all these sites and gold yet while we went to all the sites in 2000 when my niece was married in him go in and see what their mother and we went to think. I'll the jungle in the Mayan ruins. We went to at the land and Chica and mangle with you the big tourist things Marketplace and stayed in Antigua, beautiful original capital of Guatemala, and it's it's wonderful and

25:09 I wish more people visited our countries to see that yes. Yes the beauty that is all over yet has landed Eternal spring. That means oh, yeah the same in Columbia for what time would I was born this app in the Andes but if you go in your car two and a half hours going down the mountain it's it's hot these beautiful flowers pineapples mangoes beautiful colorful bird of world. Yes, beautiful color Peaks and valleys and like we used to go down to melgaard which is a small City, but my mom had a class in there and she had a big Ranch and so we used to go down to melted white off and and of course.

26:09 Many years ago cuz long she died long time ago and but beautiful I mean is the people are so friendly that's the difference. You know, when you see Colombian people tell how can you even if they just meet you they hug you they treat you like you are a brother or a sister immediately they open up to you and I think it's just something that I really May sometimes cuz people then some days to be a little too guarded here. I'm reserved reserved.

26:50 But you've changed at all in terms of being open to people living here or do you feel like you try to channel that part of your background? I do I do a channel that part of my background and I

27:03 You know, I have never lost that I think it's a beautiful thing to be often and I think it's a beautiful thing to be loving and open and not to allow all of these other things too kind of invite who you are and so high I do I try to force you have to take people at that there would be at at so not everybody is willing to you know to have somebody like you were me for some reason. I am trying to be super friendly with them cuz that's not who they are. So you're going to kind of this thing which that yeah. I used to get very hurt when you go to hug somebody because we hug. Oh, yeah, and then somebody has their hand out in front of me shaking when you're coming from

28:03 But you say you have to take people where they are. Yes. Yes. Yes and you know if they if we are to open and to loving and to you know kind of demonstrative and if it bothers them then you stay in your corner and I'll go to mine the really feel that way. That's part of our DNA. Yes. Yes. He has that makes all of us everybody in the world is so different in one way or another and we going to celebrate those differences. We got to celebrate who we are and not try to completely leave who we are and become somebody we are not exactly.

28:56 We've had a lot of important people in our lives in in you mention someone who is very important to both of us. Do you think the most important person fart for you or is there somebody else maybe I think so many people that are so important but I got to say I got to give credit where credit is my sister. I have I have I was a younger self Five my older sister talked about not just being sisters. We were just like so close there was so much spirituality between the two of us and she took me under her wing and taught me a lot of lifelong lessons a lot of lifelong lessons and now we're here.

29:56 And she was just always she was a very super spirit is she could even see the auras of people. That's how it's very much was. She was she was like sweaty real almost like she she was in from this world and her and I just have to send dying love we had this undying love and I have to say I love my parents to death and like Bishop another animal that I have had so many people and my sister I have to put her first to be cousin and then the sad part is that she died so young. She had Lou Gehrig's Disease and went through absolutely awful last 3 years and I often think of her because he's like, I don't know she didn't deserve such an ending to her life.

30:54 Cuz it was all day. But what are we to tell God has better plans and we owe ya. My sister was unique like no other human being I know really she was just so so different she was in life. Like I say very ethereal, you know, there are people like that in their lives unto you rosamaru00eda. There's so many people at the head of the list. This is definitely Bishop Jose. This is my letter he was a wonderful spiritual was look at me, look at him as a spiritual father, but then I remember that all the strong women that raised me except the marvelous nuns that I knew in Elementary and high school.

31:54 Yeah, that really formed me and they were the Swiss way back before the women's movement in the early sixties when I heard them say you can do anything you want if you work for it, if you study and learn and put your effort into it, you can do anything. I was I never referred by foot from them. I never heard you were a girl or your woman and all you're going to do is get married and have children. And so don't try too hard. I was always is always being challenged one way or another I will good good good and keeps us going in our lives. Yes. Yes what I said before me and my dad was like that. He he paid University for my older sister the one my my sweet dear sister and she never finished cuz she got married and started.

32:54 Maybe so she didn't finish then my other sister she didn't even want to go to college but yet he paid for her and me I wanted to I wanted to go to go so badly. He said you're going to be like your sisters. I'm wasting my money. How is that and how is that but you know what I retired. Maybe I'll go back to school like like Rodney Dangerfield certainly can taking classes and eat. Yeah dancing. Yes, and I read a lot about many issues that are important, you know, so I don't know. Yeah. I try not to reach things that are not that are unimportant. I tried three things that my mind is going to be more challenged.

33:51 And the informed yes. Yes. I have to pick up with you or with somebody else.

33:58 Read books alignment read articles a lot. We don't know what's going on in the world intelligence to discern all the important things in life that we have. We have the right tools. I think we've always had the right tools. Regram solutely yet. Always I always admire you Patty and I do to roast somebody I admire you use in my faithful friend for so many years and I think that that what I give that God gave us this friendship. I think you meant that to happen and that over the years we've been constant friends and you know, you have some friends that they, they call us when you see them again, but you know, it's just as casual friendships and relationships whereas we had this car.

34:58 Instant connection that hasn't been broken so far maybe maybe in the next life. We will sit down for coffee in heaven know that's right. Now would be a good idea. We can never know nobody. Oh my goodness. So great. Yeah. That's that would be so good. He's there anything you miss about.

35:30 Being in Columbia are having a having grown having lived in Columbia in your life. Do you think there's anything you've missed? You know, I actually Nite live in Colombia versus the city where I come from. It's a very very diverse city as so we had the lady from across the street from our home was from England. Then there was another one I breathe excuse me German lady on the other guy German family. So my dad's best friend was a Russian count. Yeah. I really interesting people. So and we we have is schools for all these different in Africa in German schools and a British school. And so it's the American school. So I owed my life. I really wasn't interested in America America bus to New

36:30 The history of America didn't really interest me that much. Where is the history of Europe everything in Europe? The Greeks the Romans day everything I was told was just mesmerized by that and so I wanted to live in in Europe I didn't care where I just wanted to live in Europe because everything is so close. Actually. If you go to live in one country you end up living in all of this country. Is he really in the contact you were in England for several years years years, but but how I loved it in there and the only thing I didn't like was it cold reading you bring a Colombian bird and claims. He actually a little bit of all of

37:30 You don't like I said, it's part of who we all are we through with we have all these Amazing Stories to Tell and will wait for you movie with somebody that would be great. I really do know that you are retired and I know you are very very busy, but I make a lot of notes together. I don't like to be in that long thing to do. If it is well with my have to work on that. Yeah. I will see your movie. You will see my Facebook. That's very close. You know, it's been great talking to you. It's been great talking to you.

38:30 I told wonderful and we found out some new things are well. Yeah. Oh, yeah. I knew you so much. I appreciate it.