When I was born, Jovita Idar had just married
By the time I was walking,
Jovita had established a free kindergarten.
By the time I was talking, Jovita was working as interpreter
Helping Spanish-speaking patients in the county hospital.
By the time I was entering school,
Jovita became editor of El Heraldo Christiano.
She would die childless in San Antonio at the age of 61
Leaving her husband and a legacy behind.
By that time I was ready to understand what I would never become
In San Antonio. Our paths would never cross.
Me llama Jovita,
Today is my birthday.
I am 85 years old.
I have no secretos.
Honesto, I will be open
About what little is left of my
Feelings and my past life
Any skeletons are here for you to see.
I think about Jovita Idar Juarez and I am ready now.
I want to be very open about muerte.
I am afraid of dying.
I cannot be a guerrera like her.
Vieja, I am afraid of getting old and death.
She would never see old age
She would never have time to fear death.
I am looking for comfort and hope.
I don't want to be afraid
Jovita Idar Juarez.
I wish to know you
I hope you are quite pleased with my small life.
I was drawn to you by our similarities
Our names, our Stories. Jovita.
Maestra, I see that you as a teacher,
A political activist,
One of eight children. Just like me
Oh, but Jovita, you led a charmed life.
You were able to attend the university.
Teaching in a small school in Ojuelos
You recognized the inadequacies and poor conditions
I stayed with mi hermanos u hermanas to help them
improve their lives.
We were both frustrated.
You knew you were left with the inability to improve conditions
But there was another life for you at your father’s newspaper
Ah, La Cronica, I know it well. I see it with my tired ojos.
Mi padre was a gardener for the wealthy.
No se, maybe your jardinero.
I stayed behind and read everything
I could get my hands on
I know you were so busy vocalizing, criticizing
Certain aspects of Hispanic-Anglo relations.
You were so lucky a break did not come to me
But I lived on.
I read about the many stories
Educational and social discrimination against
Deteriorating economic conditions
Decreasing use of the Spanish language
The loss of cultura Mexicana
Lynching of Hispanics.
Before I was born you were off
Supporting efforts of the revolutionary forces in Mexico.
Before I was born,
Jovita, you were involved in the First Mexican Congress.
I dreamed of changing the world
But you were there to organize a militant
feminist social movement.
One outcome was the formation of the congress.
I know I would have joined; it was out of my league.
I was changing diapers and wounds at home
But you, Jovita, you became president of the League of Mexican Women
You worked for ALL women and children.
You worked for me.
I married and had many babies like mi madre.
You worked for La Cruz Blanca
I was administering Band-Aids to my bebes.
I am afraid, Jovita.
Solamente, Jovita, you are gone now and I am all alone.
Who will remember me?
Charlene M. Ashendorf