After she immigrated to the U.S. from Romania, my grandmother found many challenges and pleasures to her new life there. Within three years, she was a widow with two children to raise. She didn't speak much English, so finding employment was difficult. She worked in the cotton mills and cleaned railroad cars. She depended on her young son, my father, to supplement the family income by selling apples door to door and searching for scrap metal on the tracks. Forging for food in the neighborhood, such as pecans, grapefruit and nopales, provided much needed nutrition.
She never learned to drive, or even rode in a car, so walking was her mode of transport. Until she discovered the Metro. Her daughter also discovered Vogue Magazine there. She didn't understand graffiti or tattoos, but she made many friends throughout the community. Her pleasures included cooking, spending Sunday afternoons at a friend's house, or having picnics under the glorious Palo Verde tree.
Take these stories and images with a grain of salt. Although based on certain facts, I am acting out possible scenarios of a grandparent I never knew.