The “Cholita Chronicles”

May 5, 2009

In the Welcome post, Lydia (Chole’s sister) introduced an idea that it might be fun to share a few of our favorite stories with each other. She also submitted one of her own (pasted below, just in case you missed it in the Welcome post). If you have a story that you would like to share, please post it here.

By Lydia:


I totally love this blogging thing and can’t imagine why I haven’t done it before. Leave it to Cholita to introduce me to yet another favorite thing, big sister has always been a role model. I’m signing on daily and seeing posts by people Chole has fondly mentioned over the years and it’s so cool to get to know her circle of friends this way. I’m assuming you each have a favorite Cholita story and I would love to hear it. Some of my favorite childhood memories are from when Chole would phone my mom and ask if she could pick up Rebecca and me for an outing. She was already taking the world by storm by then but Rebecca and I were just snotty kids. You’d think Chole would have had better ways to spend her time and money but no, she’d come pick us up (was it a blue Corvair?) and off we’d go for an adventure. Once, we were supposed to go see the premeire showing of Disney’s Jungle Book but thanks to Chole’s sense of direction, which is pretty much non-existant, we wound up at a carnival instead. See, that was the great thing about Chole’s outings. You never were quite sure where you’d wind up and most of the time it wasn’t where you originally set out to go, but you were sure to have a great time because you were with Chole. I’ve tried to follow that same “Cholita” philosophy ever since because hey, why not enjoy where you are and who you’re with?


9 Responses to “The “Cholita Chronicles””

  1. Rebecca Avina Lara Says:

    My Sister & 2nd Mom

    Hi, I was so touched by watching all the pictures of my sister Chole. Growing up I was the second of the youngest in our family of six kids. I always felt as if I was invisible among the six of us. My Dad was hard working and my Mom did her best to be both father and mom in watching over the family. I don’t know how the subject came up but she let me know that she would always take care of me. When Chole went to nursing school I would ask my Mom when she would be getting home. I one time found her notebook with her notes from class and hid it from her. I thought if she didn’t pass, she wouldn’t be gone from me so much. As I saw her looking for very hard, I finally handed to her. She asked me why I had done what I did without any sign of anger. I told her why and she told me not to worry and that wouldn’t happen. She was right. No matter how busy she was in her working or private life she still made time to be with my little sister and I on outings. She later rented a place by the beach and would take us to visit. There were numerous outings that we spent together. For me this was a very happy and special time of my childhood. I would always see her pretty smile and that sparkle in her eyes. Later in life when Howard and her kids came she still had a way of holding life still while we got to enjoy one another’s company. Not too long ago my Mom and I visited her and while I was refilling her water glass she said “Rebecca, its not suppose to be this way; I am supposed to taking care of you!” I turned to her and replied “it’s now my turn to take care of you”. She is and will always be a special loving sister that I will carry in my heart and mind forever. Thank you for all that you have given me Chole and know that I will always love you, Rebecca

    • Lydia Avina-Drayer Says:

      Rebecca, I couldn’t have said it any better. Back in those days I thought of Chole as “Junior Mom”, Joe was “El Unico” and Irene “The Teacher”. Do you remember the time when you, me and Mague were wrestling in the back yard and Chole came to the back door to yell at us to stop it before someone got hurt? I’ll never forget the image of Chole standing in that doorway, hands on hips, eyes on fire, trying to look like Mom. The three of us did stop wrestling, but only because we were cracking up at Chole’s mimic of mom, knowing she was too sweet to issue any punishment.

      • Howard Joseph Says:

        You, Rebecca and Mague wrestling in the backyard? Was that last year?

        These stories are turning out to be very educational for me. It had always been very perplexing to watch sitcom moms warn their TV children about the trouble they were going to be in when their “father got home”. Huh? Wait for dad? When it came to resolving disputes between my brother and I, mom didn’t need a wingman.

        As a teenager, the most sacred rule of the house was the curfew. To this day, if I was to come home after a certain hour, I would expect that my mom would still require me to wake her up and say “goodnight”. That’s how she would know that I had arrived back home safely. Failure to rap lightly on my mom’s door would inevitably result in unpleasant consequences.

        Even if the “goodnight” occurred just slightly after the hour that had been agreed upon (which VERY rarely happened), there would be no chance that the indiscretion would be forgotten the following morning…

  2. Linda Haymond Says:

    Thirty plus years of memories with the Jacksons!

    Chole is my “soul-sister.” Always has been, always will be. As my soul sister/older sister, her role seems to be to lead me into some interesting places, Women who Run with the Wolves book club comes to mind. We’ve shared many long warm talks over Mexican soup on Sunday mornings with topics often existential in nature. These converstations are always punctuated with seriously direct and seemingly unrelated questions from Chole. That’s what makes them so meaningful and so fun. Her conversational style has never been tethered to staying on topic.

    My life has been enriched by being included in many of the events of the Jackson family and I thank them.

  3. johsef Says:

    Until I was around 7-years old, we lived in a house on a cul-de-sac in La Puente (a suburb of Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley). At the time, my mom was a stay-at-home mom, while my dad worked at a free clinic and served on the local school board – or something like that…I was just a kid.

    Dad’s work often required him to attend meetings in the evening, so until my brother showed up on the scene, it was often just me and my mom at the house. All of this occurred over 30 years ago, so there is a good chance that what I am about reveal is just a youthful hallucination…but I distinctly remember a pastry truck that would drive into the neighborhood in the evenings (similar to the “ice cream man”). They would sell all kinds of stuff from the back of the truck. The best jelly doughnuts I’ve ever had.

    But I digress…

    One night, when my dad was at a meeting and I’d already gone to bed, my mom woke me up and told me to come into the living room. She made me a cup of broth…just a bouillon cube in some hot water, and we sat together and watched “To Catch a Thief” with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, which remains one of my favorite movies of all time.

    Every time they play that movie, I always think of that night with my mom.

  4. Flor Romero Says:

    Chole became my “EPU mom” possibly from the moment we began to share an office. She may have been a mom to other co-workers, but I truly took it to heart. She was persistant and pushy in a way a mother is. If she saw me slouching, she would give me the look and I quickly staightened up. If I ever sneezed or coughed, I tried to hide because I knew Chole was going to make me go home from work. I remember clearly the “upset mom look” I got from Chole way down the EPU hall when I wore hills once when I was pregnant…oh boy, did I get it from Chole! If I was a toddler, she would have put me on time out, taken off my shoes, and thrown them as far as possible! And, I will never forget, the one time that I became very ill with my asthma, Chole and Howard came to see me at my home, brought me yogurt, some snacks, and some meds…that was very much appreciated. Thank you. For the many times you had us over, including my mother, for a wonderful meal, thank you! For all you do, for who you are Chole, thank you! Both of you are and always will be very special to me!

  5. Don Priest Says:

    Howard and I went to high school and boy scouts together in West Covina. There are so many special times with Howard and Chole that it was hard to select just a couple that were very special to me.

    One was at their wedding in 1968, a very hot day. One of the groomsmen fainted dead away, did a face plant, and we took him off the altar to recover. When we came back, Chole was feeling the effects of the heat. Howard, very descreetly, raised his right hand and motioned to the Priest with a raised finger and in small circles motioned for him to speed it up. The rest of the ceremony was conducted at triple time with no further faintings.

    My second special memory was when my youngest son, Donnie, was in an airplane accident and in ICU in Valley Medical in Fresno. After a week of eating out of hospital canteens and cafeterias, Howard invited me to join their family for dinner. I was reluctant to leave Donnie, but accepted. Chole fixed a chicken mole that was to die for. It was just the break I needed. I can’t thank Chole and her family enough for including me. Donnie took another 5 weeks in ICU to recover, but I still treasure that dinner and evening with the Jacksons.

    They remain very special people to me.

  6. Cindy Lopez Says:

    The first time I met cholita was on my first day of work at EPU in 2001. She walked up to me and said “you have an old soul and we are going to be friends”! When my husband asked how my first day of work went I said fine, that I had been told that I had an old soul and wasn’t sure how to take that- as a compliment or an insult! Either way I was going to steer clear of that woman for sure! As usual, Chole was right and our “souls” young or old did connect in a very special way and I treasure that so much- but I hate it when she is right! She was always asking me to take her out dancing and I would have to tell her that the band didn’t even start playing until at least 9:00 and she went to bed at 8:00 so she was SOL but Chole manages to “dance” everyday in her own way- I learn so much from her!

  7. johsef Says:

    Yes…it was a sapphire blue Corvair — it was almost black but in the sun you could see the blue. My contemporary sensibilities say “no way, huh uh”…but I think the interior was light blue? I’ll check with my mom tomorrow on that. I think we may even have some pictures of that car sitting in the driveway at the house in La Puente.

    Howard Joseph

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