Born in Roswell, New Mexico; my friends have always claimed a space ship left me behind. First female Teamster in Chicago in 1972; 2nd in the USA. That was the same year I worked as a Gaslight Girl and passed the Illinois State Trooper's exam while working on an AA degree in art education at UI Circle Campus. I am a professional student (BS divinity and in business, MS in business, EdS and PhD in special education). Now I'm living in Central Mexico; my only home since early 2008. I've been a volunteer teacher here since 2005. My AZ based nonprofit (est. 1993) offers horse and water therapy to disabled Native Mexicans and teaches English and swimming to any who come to our gate. Completed my PhD in May 2010 at Univ. of Arizona. My first book, nonfiction, will fund building small libraries in rural Mexico.
My passion is to offer educational opportunities to marginalized Mexicans. In my youth in New Mexico, Mexican immigrant mothers nurtured her self-esteem at a time when my own parents could not. My mother, Rosaline at 20, was a strikingly beautiful cameo perfect olive-skinned woman of Scottish heritage and of Lutheran faith. She was 6'1" tall. My father, Joseph at 24, appeared to be of Mexican heritage. He was barely 5'6" tall, dark-skinned, handsome, charming, uniformed (USAF) and wore a handlebar mustache. His entire life he was mistaken for a Mexican. His first language was Polish, his second English. He spoke excellent Spanish; he was the first-born son of a Polish immigrant and of the Roman Catholic faith.
People always remarked on my parent's physical differences. The couple told of their attraction, short 28 day court-ship then leading to their matrimonial goal of being the parents of six tall sons. Nevertheless, after six years of trying, they had only one girl and no joint heritages, rituals, or family ties to strengthen their marriage. Additionally, Joseph had been totally rejected by his family for marrying outside the Roman Catholic faith.
Rudolph David Zaleski was born eighteen months after I was born. Their overwhelming joy was very short lived. Rosaline developed Hemolytic disease. Their infant was large and appeared perfectly healthy, but died in only four days. Joseph and Rosaline were devastated, neither ever totally recovered. While Joseph had his love of work and spent his whole life as a workaholic (USAF and NASA), Rosaline branded herself a failure at life and sank into a deep depression by becoming an alcoholic; a state from which she never emerged.
I learned, first hand, the value of preserving cultural roots and reducing emigration to foreign countries. Every day I give thanks to God for my many early Mexican mother role models. They inspired my life's work, to help those who are marginalized or disabled to be understood by those who face fewer challenges.
(1) Empowering Spanish Speakers - Answers for Educators, Businesspeople, or Friends of Mexicans, (2) Victoria's Crown, (3) Mexico's Queen, (4) Empowered Mexico
Summerland Corp. ATC
Voluntary teaching of Mexican children by being a host family to volunteers from outside Mexico, transporting used and discarded bilingual books from the US...
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