Crossing the Border
Griselda, a mother of four, who has had her fair share of difficulties. She lives in Mead Valley, California. She does her best to hide her harsh past from her daughters and provides the best for them. She was born and raised in Nayarit, Mexico, where many of her family members would visit from the United States, as well as her now-husband Rudy Pena, born in the United States.
What was your childhood like?
When I was a little girl I had cousins over here living in the United States who would go to Nayarit. And I would always see them with nice things and I said I would one day go over there.
What made you want to come to the United States?
The biggest reason was because I wanted to live in another world. I thought it was a beautiful thing to be over here.
Describe your first time crossing the border.
The first time I crossed I didn't know what was going to happen. I wasn't scared. I came with my husband because he asked me to come with him so I didn't know the risk I was taking so I wasn't afraid or anything.
What happened throughout the days it took you to cross the border?
Well, crossing happened so fast. I just remember that I crossed alongside the line by some trailers. We just had to wait for the person who was going to pick us up to transport us to where our family can pick us up.
What went through your mind?
During those days nothing passed through my mind, but I did live a bad experience because some assaulters showed up and I did not know what was happening, so they told me to get aside and thanks to God nothing happened to me during the robbing and the rest of them did end up getting robbed. But thank God everything with me was lucky.
Describe the feelings you felt upon arriving.
I couldn't believe how easily I crossed the only thing was what I risked for doing that.
What you would have done differently?
What would have made everything for me more differently was if I studied in Mexico and asked for a visa to cross like any other person crosses.
Do you want to go back to Mexico?
Honestly, no, because the last time I crossed, I crossed from Reynosa and it was very ugly by there, [it was] a bad experience and I would not want to redo that.
What has been the hardest being away from your family?
Not being able to hug them, not being able to talk to them. It is not the same to talk over the phone as it is seeing them face to face.
What has been the best thing to happen since you have come?
Having my own family, my 4 daughters and giving them a home and watching them grow.
The above oral history was completed in Mr. Sepulveda's English class during Spring 2021. The oral history is shared with the permission of the narrator and has been lightly edited for length and clarity and to protect the narrator's privacy.