Little Moni

Posted: July 20, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

I was named Monica Felix. Moni, Moniquita, Monica (in gringo and spanish accents), were all used to get my attention. No middle name for this girl. Mama didn’t want it.  Not for me. Not for any of her children.

I was born in the summer of  1969 in Montebello, California. I was a first generation Mexican-American. Don’t forget Mexico, but remember that you’re an American.  Cinco de Mayo counts as much as the 4th of July  (maybe a little bit more if you’re drunk enough).  And don’t let the gringos tell you it’s Mexican Independence Day either. Cinco de Mayo is the victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla.

My father, Manuel de Jesus Felix, named me after either the city of Santa Monica or the saint herself.  I like to think it’s the city. My name turned out to be his greatest contribution to my life. No matter. Life would have been worse if he had stayed. Drunk gamblers never make good role models.

Up until the age of 7 or 8, I was like everybody else in my East L.A. neighborhood. Pobre, feliz and undistinguishable. It made no difference that my family had nothing, because no one had anything. Everyone was my friend. I was adorable and outspoken. Worst of all, I knew it.

My joys were simple. Cajeta, frijoles, homemade flour tortillas and the ice cream truck were the stuff of dreams for me.  Jumping off a retaining wall onto an old mattress on a barrio lot, sheer wonderous magic!  And then there was my Mama.

My mother looked like an angel to me.  Maria del Carmen Felix changed her name to Maria Felix. Who could blame her?  She hailed from Torreon,  Mexico.  And she was a noncomformist after Manuel’s departure.  Religious, beautiful, tough and uncompromising – that’s my Mom.

My heaven was my head laying on her lap. As far as I was concerned, nothing could harm me as she massaged my scalp and brushed my hair.  For all intents and purposes, she was my deity. As I write this now, I can still recall her scent – sweat, Shalimar, fijoles and that other element that made her my mother.

  1. I love this 🙂 Im gonna keep reading the rest tommorow–i love ur writting style tho. its so entertaining.


  2. coconutspeak says:

    You have no idea how much this means to me. Thank you for your comments. To get a perspective from a fellow Chicana who grew up in L.A., is priceless to me. Gracias, querida!


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