Graciela de la Rosa
Born and raised in San Benito, Texas during the 50 & 60’s, made living in the Rio Grande Valley an experience that seemed to progress at a slower rate than elsewhere. I loved it. There was hardly any daily TV drama in the News as there is now a days.
Padre Island was around 30 minutes away from home, so driving to the beach during late afternoon hours to reduce the chances of bad sunburns was one of our weekly activities. Our parents were with us most of the time. Daddy would close his Dry Goods store and then off we went to enjoy ourselves.
I can visualize it quite clearly. Wish I could experience that once again with them.
Mom always took a feast for us to eat. Depending on her mood & time she would make homemade fried chicken, potato salad, lightly salted boiled eggs or bologna sandwiches, maybe even hot dogs. Chips or Fritos were always on hand. Hot coffee in a thermos for Dad, soft drinks for us.
We’d spend our time creating intricate sandcastles, picking up shells while walking the shore or carefully sinking our toes into holes made by muscles. Playing in the refreshing and salty waters of the Gulf will never be forgotten. This family time was precious. So much love was expressed.
Daddy could be seen casting out beyond the second sand bar with one of the fishing rods he’d spent hours making from bamboo. His diligent care to never cast where the sea current might bring the fishing hook near us, kept us from ever fearing for our safety.
Back to the fish being caught. We could lick our lips to think of the red fish, speckled trout and red snapper that Dad caught for us. He’d clean the fish upon returning to home and Mom took pride in cooking it the following day. Of course, at times a small Hammer Head shark would be hooked, but Daddy would quickly free it from the hook and before tossing it back, he would make sure to give us a very short glance, so we could marvel at the creature before it glided back into deeper water.
At other times, we’d travel to Matamoros with different family members. The city was just across the Rio Grande border from Brownsville, Texas. For the best Margaritas we went to Garcia’s Restaurant & Curio Shop. They served the drinks in champagne glasses, topped off with two green olives and a salted rim. We munched on spicy salted peanuts while listening to true old Mexican music and if we were lucky, we possibly would eat frog legs with all the trimmings or Cabrito a la Parrilla with hot French fries and a green salad or vegetables.
At 17, I followed in the footsteps of my older 5 siblings. I said my goodbyes to my childhood home, its furnishings & part of my family members who remained home. I was on my next adventure to seek a higher level of education. I then went to live with my oldest sister, Mary Alice, her husband, Hector, and their two children while I attended the University in El Paso.
My sister & husband provided an old Rambler stick-shift, a gasoline card, a room to live in & food anytime I was at home. Their generosity manifested in many expressions of love to help 2 younger siblings succeed in school and life.
I started in 1969 by way of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Since my brother in-law was transferred to Dallas, Texas, from El Paso, Texas, I then attended & received an Associates of Arts degree from El Centro College, located in downtown Dallas.
I worked at Sanger Harris in Dallas to pay for my clothing, semester tuition fees and food on campus while attending school.
My undergraduate degree or BA was accomplished in 1971 from the University of Texas, Arlington, Texas.
While teaching in the Garland ISD & Dallas ISD for 9 years in total, I obtained my Master of Education from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1976 and lastly, I earned an Administrator’s Certification soon after that.
When I left teaching, Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages gave me the best sales job that afforded me all the monetary items that I have at present. It was a very hard job and I often wonder how I did it. In part, it must of been my persistence, being a self- starter and motivator, the goals I set for myself and the provided company health insurance.
All the time I was working, I did my stain Glass creations at night or weekends.
How did we get started in creating Stain Glass Art? Well, my younger sister, Norma & I took a beginner’s class in Stain Glass Making at El Centro College, using the “Foiling method” verses the “Leading method” back around the late ‘70s.
We learned the basics of imagining a design in our minds or simply using a purchased pattern, cutting glass, sanding the glass, Foiling, soldering, assembling the glass to fit and finally framing to complete the piece.
The class was basic but gave us enough to know that we wanted to continue this new form of expressing ourselves, so we each moved to refine our level of expertise.
While working as a Special Ed teacher & later an Elementary Counselor until she retired, Norma simultaneously went on to work for a professional Stain Glass Shop in Oak Cliff. There she learned to use Leading verses Foiling. I continued Foiling and experiencing complete “Satisfaction” on my own technique. I guess that’s true because I’ve been involved in creating Stain Glass pieces for over 40 years.
My stain glass pieces stir my imagination on the simplest levels of peace and harmony. They give me time to spend time with myself to be with just me….
I am thankful for that.
I grow with each piece that I create. Each piece is a new adventure in shapes, colors, and texture not to mention the satisfaction of completion.
Some pieces I’ve kept for myself and others I given away to friends & family members.
Those that I have sold were for the enhancement of my client’s pleasure. Whether my pieces are purchased or received as gifts, I am happy that they keep on giving each time they are viewed in someone’s home or office.
In fact, I am proud to say that I sold two of my pieces to Christina Winters.
Both were original creations. May they be enjoyed forever.