“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”- Ann Landers
From The Dust Bowl to World War II, Eufemio Velasquez has had his hands in a whole lot of life and a whole lot of history. In the five years since he welcomed me into the family, I have learned more about the history of this nation than I ever could have possibly learned from textbooks in school and more about life than I could have ever realized at my own age.
As my husband’s great-grandfather and head of the Velasquez family, he offers his wisdom and stories to his successive generations nearly chance he gets, some entertaining and some much more grim, but nonetheless, always leaving us with treasures of a time that is before our own. Conversely, we are left with our own stories of him- joyous memories and seemingly impossible trials he has overcome- that each of his descendants will undoubtedly and gladly carry on some day.
From his humble beginnings in a small shack along the railroad, we see the difficulties he has faced as he struggled to learn English, left school to work for the benefit of his family, and worked his first 10 hour work days. By the end of this piece, it will become apparent why, to us, he is the epitome and living proof of the phrase “hard-work pays off”.
With 90 years of experience under his belt, through this performance by Stephanie Paris-Quintana, based on an interview, he looks back to tell the story of a young Hispanic man from Canadian, TX who worked his way up through the Santa Fe Railroad and now answers the question- if you could leave a message behind for your great-great-grandchildren, what would it be?
Bio for Stephanie Paris-Quintana
Stephanie Paris-Quintana is a senior at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. She is currently pursuing her B.A. and certification to teach high school English in her hometown of Amarillo, Texas. After a few years in the classroom, she hopes to obtain a master’s in library science to become an elementary librarian and spread the joys of story-telling to people of all ages. She is married to Daniel Paris-Quintana, a great-grandson of Eufemio Velasquez.