Mexicali Rose – A Love Story From My Heritage


When I think of romantic love, I think of stories that my mother would tell me of her own mother and father – my grandmother and and grandfather.  I knew my grandmother.  Rosario Castro Camacho Domingo.  We called her Grandma Charo.  As a child I loved her warm hugs.  She also was a great cook. My siblings , cousins and  I would salivate to and love eating her homemade baked goods.

We would be playing around her house and the smell of newly baked doughnuts or cookies would be wafting through the air calling us  wide eyed into her kitchen.  Even when she would discipline us when we were naughty, she always had this twinkle in her eye. I knew she loved us. Grandma Charo was a safety net for me.   My parents worked and I stayed with her awhile.  Her love helped her little asthmatic grandson up through his kindergarten years.

I never knew my grandfather.  Grandma Charo had remarried.  So all the stories I knew about Jesus San Nicolas Camacho was mostly through my mother and Grandma.   From what I can tell, Grandma and Grandpa were really in love.  I can see it in the way my mother spoke about her dad and when Grandma Charo got lost in the memories of him.

They went through some hard times together.  They lived through the occupation of the Japanese during WWII and lost one of their daughters in a concentration camp due to starvation.  My grandfather, after the war, became a police detective in the Guam Police Department. My mother has memories of this loving dad who would bring home gifts for his children from conferences he would attend. He was an affectionate man.

He also brought gifts to my grandma. He was in love with her and was unabashed about it. He loved to serenade my grandmother.  Back in those days , they would set up a microphone and speaker. He would sing, Mexicali Rose, to my grandma as she sat on his lap. He was a romantic.

You would think that such a powerful love would be happily ever after, but while my mother was young, my grandfather contracted a form of paralysis that left him bed ridden for a few years. He finally passed away.

I can only imagine that the love between my Grandma and him just grew stronger during those difficult years.  They had even sent my mother away to the states for better educational opportunities.  My mom was not able to see her father when he died.

Grandma worked hard to raise her children.  She remarried later in her life but I never saw her happy in that relationship.  I only saw love in her eyes when she spoke of Grandpa.

My Grandma  passed on and of course I miss her terribly.   I liked to think she has reunited with Grandpa.  I can almost hear Mexcali Rose whispering the message of true love in their reunion.

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