Christina Ledesma (1910-1981)
Who would not be taken by the site of this beautiful woman? I was. And it was my good fortune that she felt the same about me. There was the usual roadblock. That is to say, I wasn’t good enough for her. How many of you parents were pleased with your children’s choice of partner? Christi and I had a small wedding in Oxnard. My family was there. Hers wasn’t. They did not think that John’s people, the Pochis were good enough.
In my world, the Pochis, that is to say the original Spanish-speaking families in California, were different in a negative way from the Mexican people who came here later. I am both and I am neither. My father came from Mexico City, and my mama was from the original families that settled El Paso and New Mexico. I grew up as the son of John Olivas. I carried his last name all through school. That is why Christie’s family had questions about me.
Soon after we married, I went to work for Luis Brenneis. I wrote about him earlier in Luis Brenneis, and The Last Ride of Luis Brenneis .
The job was designing Farm Machinery. Luis Brenneis was a German, he insisted that I start working with him like they do in Germany. First I had to learn how to use all the machine tools, then I became a blacksmith. His reason for this was: this way I would not design something that the shop could not manufacture.
After I accomplished this I started to design farm machinery. I went to school. I learned how to be a draftsman. I stayed with his company even after he sold out to Allis Chalmers Incorporated.
My career as a Machine Designer lasted thirty-seven years. It brought us to the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1950s. There were many jobs for draftsmen and here I accepted one for Food Machinery Incorporated in San Jose. Just like IBM, they shortened their name to FMC.
There is something else that brought me there. I wanted my children to go to college. Nearby was San Jose State, University of Santa Clara, Stanford, Hayward State, UC Berkeley, San Francisco State, and University of San Francisco. There were many others including local junior colleges, as they were called at the time. All four of our kids continued their education after high school. Xotchl, the oldest, graduated from Hayward State. Carlitos graduated from San Jose State and became a librarian. Teresa earned a medical degree and worked in the medical profession for many years. Joe, the youngest, graduated from San Jose State and became a teacher.
It is a good feeling when your plans work out.