In 1924 my father was born on Pomeroy Street only blocks away from here, LAC + USC Medical Center formally known as the General Hospital. As a baby, my father was repatriated to Mexico along with his two brothers and his father. He was 15 when my Grandmother found him and was reunited with him.
Grandma Ruth educated herself and it was during this time she had the opportunity to join a work-study program in this same hospital, and she became a nurse. A time, she said, that when a doctor entered the room, nurses were expected to stand at attention.
It was in this hospital that I was born. Grandma Ruth was present when I arrived September 20, 1951.
My mother was undocumented so Grandma had lent Mom her adopted daughter’s birth certificate for identity and so it was Guadalupe Garcia whose name was put on my birth certificate. Guadalupe had died in the communicable diseases ward from tuberculosis of the bone at the tender age of 15.
It was because of her losses that grandma held on so dearly to what mattered to her, her grandchildren. She made me feel as though I was the center of her world. She was definitely the center of my world and is still my hero. In 1965 when I went to live with her, she worked the night shift up in the County Jail up on the 13th floor.
She filled my world with books and Art, gave me family stories, corrected my English and Spanish, convinced me short people were just as beautiful as tall. She warned me against drug use and threatened to take me up to the jail ward to see how drug addicts were forced to kick their addictions cold turkey. She was the foundation of my spiritual being and is forever intrinsically tied to this hospital.
This is Home Again.
The work I offer you here is intended to be a shared pleasure, please enjoy.
-Margaret Garcia, 2016