An East LA abuelita turns 100


Hello and welcome to Essential California newsletter. This is Monday, September 26. I am Gustavo Arellano, writing from Orange County — and I’m a columnist, so I’m allowed to have opinions.

Like: My grandma is cool.

I told the story of my abuelita, Angelita Arellano, two years ago in my column. At the time, my family wanted to celebrate their 98th birthday, but COVID-19 regulations in LA County banned us from doing the type of party — big dinner in a banquet hall, thunderous tamborazo music and lots of people — which we are used to. So my cousins ​​pulled off a mini parade in front of my Tia Nacha’s house in East Los Angeleswhere my grandmother lives.

Grandma (we cousins ​​alternate between this and abuelita, because assimilation) sat in front of my Tía Nacha’s porch, wearing a tiara and sash that read “Birthday Queen” and waving as we drove around in our cars. It was a memorable experience, but we swore to each other that if Grandma turned 100, we would hold onto something bigger.

The “biggest” happened last Saturday.

It started with a mariachi outside Tía Nacha’s house while my grandmother was getting ready, then St. Alphonse Church near Atlantic Boulevard, where she has been a faithful parishioner for decades. Reverend Rodolfo Prado officiated the Mass, beginning with a “¿How is the quinceañera?” (How is the quinceañera girl?) when he saw my grandmother. A crowd of around 200 – mostly family, but also friends – sang “Las Mananitas”, the traditional Mexican birthday song. We thanked God for her good health and Grandma gave the roses that my wife and I gave her to the Virgin Mary.

“Go have fun tonight,” Father Rodolfo told him in Spanish. “You’re going to be in the pews tomorrow at 9am for mass, aren’t you?”

“No, 11:30 p.m.,” she replied, to everyone’s laughter.

Afterwards, most of his offspring lined up to take pictures in front of the St. Alphonse altar. The count: eight children, 32 grandchildren, 69 great-grandchildren and 17 great-great-grandchildren, the youngest being born just three weeks ago and another on the way. We were supposed to line up by generation, but because I was too busy tweeting when it was the nietosI reunited with the great-grandchildren.


The photographer of the day saw my cinto piteado (the arabesque leather belts appreciated by rancho together libertarian) and asked us if we were from Jerez, Zacatecasthe powerful Diaspora that sent hundreds of thousands of people Southern California over the past century. “Of course,” I replied.

“This is the fourth Jerez party I’ve taken pictures for this month,” he replied. “Man, ustedes know how to party!

The reception was at Party room in downtown Whittier. My grandmother sat on a gigantic, comfortable throne with “100” beside her and waved to well-wishers. My cousin Lety’s daughter, Chabelita, did great folk dance. the excellent Mariachi Tierra Azteka walked around taking requests (my pick: “La Feria de las Flores”). Dinner was not birria de res, asado de boda or whatever zacatecan party favorites but… roast beef with a baked potato. At least the table salsa was spicy. Dessert? Port and grandma’s favorite chocolate, Ferrero Rocher.

I had to leave early, so I missed the dance, catching up with all the cousins, and calling all the branches that make up the Arellano clan. But it was a grand and inspiring afternoon. I know it’s not cool to talk about the American Dream anymore, but we were. Healthcare, law enforcement, military, teachers. Bosses and workers. Owners, mostly. White collar and no. University degrees and not. Immigrant and native. Sharp suits and tejanas, high heels and cowboy boots. Mainly Eastlos and Montebello, but also the San Fernando Valley, Las Vegas, OC and beyond.

All here because of Angelita Arellano, 100 years old.

The queremos mucho, abuelita. Que Dios la bendiga.

We all love you, grandma. God bless you.

And now, Here’s what’s happening across California:

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.


The Los Angeles homeless count raises doubts about its accuracy. Is it time for a new path? When the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority released a spreadsheet this month breaking down its homeless count by each census tract in the county, those who knew Venice were in disbelief. Los Angeles Times

Rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters are neglected in shelters across the city of Los Angeles, volunteers say. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: humans don’t deserve to have pets. Los Angeles Times

Here’s what led KTLA to fire anchor Mark Mester after a week of drama. As I said on the LA Times Facebook page: Stan Chambers and Hal Fishman are rolling in their graves over what happened to their station. Los Angeles Times

‘There’s Our Last Name’: Sacred Book Honors Japanese Americans Incarcerated During World War II. Next year, survivors and their descendants will make a pilgrimage to the National Japanese American Museum in Little Tokyo to stamp a blue circle next to the names of their loved ones – 125,284 in total. Los Angeles Times

Check out “The Times” podcast for essential news and more

Today, waking up to current events can be, well, daunting. If you’re looking for a more balanced diet of information, “The Times” podcast is for you. Gustavo Arellano, along with a diverse set of reporters from the LA Times’ award-winning newsroom, delivers the most interesting stories from the Los Angeles Times every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.


Chronicle: Isn’t Karen Bass the victim? Why all these questions about his stolen guns? my companion columnist Erika D. Smith is also allowed to have opinions, and the fact regarding the hubbub surrounding the Los Angeles mayoral candidate. Los Angeles Times

LA mayoral candidate Karen Bass votes at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw mall during the primary.

(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

The law will remove the word “squaw” from California place names. In a ceremony attended by Native American tribal leaders, Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday signed a bill that will remove the word from nearly 100 geographic features and place names. Some are not happy. Los Angeles Times

The Portuguese president is preparing to visit Gustine and other cities during his trip to California. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa swings in the Central Valley, home to tens of thousands of people of Portuguese descent – muito bom. Modest Bee

Opponents of California’s abortion rights measure are misleading taxpayer spending. Proposition 1, skip straight to silly election season. Kaiser Health News


California’s electric vehicle charging network could use a jolt, a trip on I-5 shows. LA Times automotive reporter Russ Mitchell drove from Berkeley to Southern California in a Ford F150 Lightning EV. The path? Great. The refill? Terrible. Los Angeles Times

Salmon snoop around the banks trying to escape the Klamath River. As the removal of dams along Northern California’s mighty waterway looms, fish must survive increasingly complex calamities. High Country News

How a loan-to-buy program in San Diego is improving access to e-bikes. A nonprofit in America’s Finest City is working with California to implement an e-bike incentive program by helping low-income residents adopt e-bikes. Next city


How the pandemic saved one of California’s smallest public schools. My Sister of an Okie mother Hailey Branson-Potts travels to Kneeland, which, as she describes it, “isn’t so much a town as a rural fire station and a handful of houses in the forest,” to find the best in education. Los Angeles Times

The collection of vintage cookbooks is often kind, sometimes ruthless, and extremely online. Although this article focuses on collectors in San Francisco, the scene is also huge in Southern California – take it from someone who owns original copies of the very first LA Times cookbook (from 1901, I believe) and “The Landmarks Club Cook Book”, a 1903 collection by beloved Angeleno antiquarian Charles Fletcher Lummis who helped save the California missions. To taste

Just in time for Rosh Hashanah, another cause for guilt. My former editor Rob Eshman — with whom I recently enjoyed margaritas at Casablanca to Venice — kvetches on modern interpretations of tachlichthe tradition of throwing bread into water during the Jewish New Year to atone for one’s sins. the front

A folk dance group brings “a little piece of Mexico” to Fresno festivals. With all due respect to my colleague zacatecansthere’s no party like an Oaxacan party, and Oaxacan parties are BACK. Valley Public Radio

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Los Angeles: 91 and sunny. San Diego: 80 and sunny. San Francisco: 69 and cloudy. San Jose: 84 and partly cloudy. Fresno: 98 and sunny. Sacrament: 94 and sunny.


Today california memory is of Sheryl Luxon:

I grew up in Sunland in the 50s and 60s. Everyone knew their neighbors and the kids played outside until dark. On weekends, we’d pile into the 1956 Ford station wagon and drive up Big Tujunga Canyon to Bill’s Place, a picnic area and trout farm. There was also a swimming pool and barbecues to cook your freshly caught trout. The children were delighted to catch trout in the overcrowded pond! Our other adventure spot was Carpinteria Beach, an hour and a half drive through Simi Valley and Ojai, where orange groves shrouded the two-lane highway known as 101. world” was our coveted treasure.

If you have a memory or a story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please limit your story to 100 words.)

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