Month: April 2016

Reviwing Our Story

I based my narrative from my grandmother’s account of world war II, and I feel that I focused much more on why the things happened to her rather than create a story from it. I would describe the drafting or the rationing that occurred in Mexico, but I did not take into a detailed account of what happened during those events. I want to be able to add in more of what happened to my grandmother, more of her opinions and actions towards those changes in her life.

The main focus of the story is my grandmother, Valencia, who lived through World War II in early childhood. I was hoping to try to describe what it was like to be a child living through a war, how it affected them and what they saw the world around them. It be different than that of an adult but I felt it needed more substance as to what her perspective was. She told me more of what was happening but not exactly much about herself too much.

There were other characters such as her aunt and uncle but they were minor characters though they contributed to the plot as people who were also affected by the war during that period. I could describe them a little bit more to add more to the plot and how my grandmother’s relations with them affected her view of the war. The aunt was one who was able to forward herself for the equality of women to men. The uncle was a soldier and so was her brother, they were living in America at the time with her father. Unfortunately the cousin and uncle did not fair so well, suffering from burns and deaths. The father faired much more better but he still was a worker for the war itself, which was why he was not drafted into the army, his contribution was an alternative from fighting in battles. I felt that learning about the the adults through a child’s perspective might have been different and interesting but I wrote it somewhat bland and more factual.

I wanted the plot of the story to have a basic moral of how it’s not only adults who are hurt but the children, the ones that needed the most protection. They don’t necessarily contribute to the war but they do suffer in other ways. I should have had more of her perspective in it than my own and my facts.

The Interview

World War II has some fascinating angles to look at. From the inside the battlefield to a family’s basic home.

I thought it would be interesting to interview someone who had and experience from World War II outside the battle. People’s lives were heavily affect by this war, either personally or economically, it would be surprising to hear that no one was affect during that period.

I decided I wanted to interview my grandmother on her personal experience with the war. Though she was a young girl at the time living in America. She and her family were impacted by how the war itself forced them to ration and be in constant fear of what is to happen next.

I hope that during my interview with her I would gain insight of what it was like to be a child growing up in World War II.

From the interview I would need to construct a narrative out of it. To make the story impacting or interesting, I would need to combine her story with facts of the basic lively hood of Americans during that war period. I would also need to focus on her perspective the most, since it is her story, while explaining how she acted during the interview and her current living situation is now.

I hope to ask her these five questions:

  1. How much of the war were you aware as you were growing up?

> How have your feelings or perspective changed then to now?

2. Did you have any close family or friends that did enter the war, Who were they?

> Have you remained in personal contact with them when they were in the war or after? Do you still contact them?

3. How did you react when you learned about the Holocaust?

> Did you ever meet a Holocaust survivor? Did they change your views about how the war was?

4. How was school like during that period?

>Did teachers or school staff constantly inform students about the war? Were there any drills related to the war?

5. How were you and your family economically during that era?

> Since many raw materials were invested into the war, did you ever donate, or even forced to donate?

 

The Meaning Behind my Surname

Like my first name, my surname is very uncommon to find. The surname ‘Andujo’ originated from Chihuahua, Mexico and the majority of the history of the name is unknown. My father would tell me that the name belonged to two brothers, who then separated to different places to have families of their own and live different lives. Thus, every Andujo is related to one another and can be traced back to those two brothers, as the story goes.

I have a fondness for my last name due to its rarity, though it can be a bit annoying to have it pronounced incorrectly for most of my life. After awhile, you accept that people will never pronounce your name right the first time. It is just a name afterall. However, I used to be proud of the fact that my name was not only unique but for its mexican roots. It enforced what I am, Mexican-American. I never questioned my strange glorifying behavior for the mexican culture, putting more emphasis on a country that I never was born in, the one I only visited every summer, something I wasn’t a part of in totality. I have always called myself Mexican-American  and was proud of it for a very long time, and yet I feel like a hypocrite for doing so.

My mother was born in Mexico and immigrated to America for a better life and to be able to support her family back home. My father, on the other hand, was born in America but he had grandparents born in Mexico. My father was American, and my mother was not. Due to this, my mindset then immediately declared that I was half Mexican and half American, like a mixed dog breed. I refused to be simply American, I wanted to be Mexican because that’s what I was, what I identified as. Except that it wasn’t. Like my surname, it means nothing whether I’m Mexican or not or whether my name is mexican or not, because truly, I only ever cared for it whenever something mexican related occurred in my life. From watching George Lopez to the high school assemblies of people singing in spanish, I only used it as some accessory, like I was a special half breed and proud to relate to people like “me”.

During a family gathering years ago, my relatives told me I was Mexican, one hundred percent. It made me feel happy, but my father told me something afterwards that I couldn’t forget, it was subtle yet I understand it now. He told me I wasn’t, that I was American. Of course I pushed it aside, it was only his opinion. Yet, he wasn’t wrong. I may have my roots but I was raised in a country that allowed me to develop to the person I am. Being American doesn’t mean an exclusion of cultures, religions, races. It does not mean being mexican first and then american, it means what people wanted: opportunity, liberty, individuality, and the pursuit of happiness when other nations could not award. You could have lived in Mexico for twenty years but still be regarded as American if you wanted to enter the United States and be a productive citizen with you’re own “American Dream”. It is an inclusive label that allows myself to practice the culture from mexico, or any nation, and yet I can still be American and be happy about it. I’m proud to be American, it is how I want to identify and want to be regarded as because it is a label that does not separate who I am or who I was or my roots.

A person may be black, white, jewish, christian, homosexual, heterosexual, from Ireland or Mexico, as long as you are a pursuer to be great and follow the nation’s law, you are just as American as a person who was or was not born in this country.