Memories of Cesar in Stockton

Reader Carlos Lopez called to comment on the Cesar Chavez column.

“My family went on that march from Delano to Sacramento. We only walked from Modesto to Sacramento. The movie was all right, but after going through it and being so close to it with my dad (Latino leader Richard Lopez) I wanted it to make me inspired but it didn’t, you know?

Delores Huerta, one of her daughters lived with us for a while. Celeste. Laurie—that’s one of her other daughters—she went to Assumption for a while with me and my brothers and sister.  Dad and Delores Huerta they started the local chapter of the CSO here (the Community Service Organization, a precursor to the UFW). Towards the end of the CSO I even got a loan from them to get a van, Volkswagen bus (laughs). They had an office on  8th street. In fact, I made the sign for them

You know how in the movie Chavez is in the church of Guadalupe in Delano? I remember us going over there and hearing Chavez speak. Chavez was a very mild speaker. Very mild. But because he was so soft-spoken when he got up there everybody got quiet and listened. … He came down an sat next to me hey said, “Hey, hey how ya doin’, Richard?” he thought I had the same name as my father. I can always remember that.

“I remember my feet getting all blistered from marching. But by the time I got ot Sacramento … my feet got accustomed to it. We stayed in so m ny places. Church halls, peoples’ houses … People would give us food. Sometimes there wasn’t too much food (Laughs). But we didn’t starve. What different times those were.

“My dad would bring Chavez to speak. You know the curcillos? (Catholic lay leadership retreats) My dad was really involved. He would bring Chavez to speak at the curcillos at Annunciation (grammar school) or Assumption where they had the curcillos. My father would say, “Don’t tell anybody!” But sometimes the word would get out. Once Ch. 13 and other stations bombarded our house. Ay yi yi, what a thing!

“(Chavez), “This was  a guy … being around his presence was like … he had this subtle aura around him that was kind of saintly. This is what Chavez had. This is coming from somebody, I’m kind of a skeptic. But if anybody could be saintly, it was that guy. It was Chavez, man.”

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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