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Mother’s Day inspiration from a family on the move

Transcript

Geoff Bennett: Finally, tonight, a new animated story from our partners at StoryCorps for Mother's Day, Lourdes Villanueva's parents worked as migrant workers picking fruit across the country. She spoke with her son Roger about what it was like to go to school while her family was constantly on the move.

Lourdes Villanueva, Migrant Worker: Everywhere we went, even if we weren't going to be there for four weeks, six weeks picking the crops, my mother would make sure that they enrolled us in school. And Spanish was not allowed in the school systems. Even out in the playground. I mean, they used to have the little playground patrols, which were our friends that were supposed to turn your interview, we're speaking Spanish are in the playground, which of course, I was always in trouble because I was speaking Spanish, then of course, in the ninth grade is when you started working for credits to graduate. And we've never stayed in one place long enough to get any credits. So why even bother?

I thought I knew everything that I needed to know at that time and got married at 18. And had you, you pretty much grew up in the back of the pickup truck. I was picking crops. And in my breaks, I had to change the diaper and do whatever needed to be done and continue on working. And I always thought that you need to do what I didn't do, which is finish your education first.

Roger Villanueva, Lourdes Villanueva' son: You always said that you were going to lead by example. I remember when you got your GED, you were in the fields. And instead of having lunch, you will have your books and up study. After that, you say you know I'm going to go to the community college at night. And I remember you taking one class and you started off like that. And then dad was the one to take care of us to cook for us. And we hated the beans and eggs because that's all he ever knew how to cook for us.

I keep stuffing it into the refrigerator and then we will act like our plates were done. He used to make us eat everything because he wanted us to appreciate everything that we had because I know that both of y'all came from basically nothing and I mean I was just so proud of the day that you graduated.

Lourdes Villanueva: I had to hurry up and graduate before you guys did because I know you guys were coming right behind me.

Roger Villanueva: Yes, well, that really that was special. If I was to have the choice to choose another mother, I would never choose anybody else but you. And when I look for my partner, I always said, If my wife can be half the woman that my mother is, I will be OK. And I know I've never told you that, but that's the way I feel.

Geoff Bennett: It's quite a story. For more stories like that you can go to storycorps.org.

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