The Law Office of Robert D. Ahlgren and Associates is partnering with Fwd.US to promote and celebrate National Immigrant Heritage Month. During the month of June, we will be featuring profiles of some of our own members’ family immigrant stories.
I come from a mixed cultural background. My mother is a native of Mexico, while my father was born and raised in Chile. However, it is the story of my maternal grandmother’s life and journey back to the United States in particular that always fascinated me. My grandmother, Soledad, was born in 1922 in Kansas City, Kansas. She was one of 9 children born to Mexican Immigrants – Ignacio Reyes, originally from Victoria Guanajuato, and Macaria Reyes from Queretaro. My grandmother attended a couple of years of school here in the States, but when the Great Depression hit, the Mexican government offered Mexican nationals living here help, and my great grandfather decided that returning to Mexico would be in the best interest of his family. Therefore, he packed up his house and his family and returned to Queretaro, Mexico.
My grandmother recalls returning to Mexico to a very different lifestyle and to a very different town. Their car was the first that the inhabitants of the town had ever seen. My great grandfather was a generous man. So much so that my grandmother has stated that he gifted much of what they had to the family members that he encountered in Mexico.
At the age of 18, my grandmother started to come to the United States to work temporarily, but she would always return to Rio Verde, San Luis Potosi – a town that she and her family settled into not long after returning to Mexico. It was in that area that she met a dashing young man named Sebastian Castillo. In time, they married and had 7 children of their own. Since my grandfather did a lot of work in the United States, they decided to immigrate permanently. My grandmother was a U.S. citizen by birth, but my grandfather, aunts, uncles and mother weren’t. After taking the necessary steps, my mother, at the age of 12, arrived in Chicago.
Chicago, being the Midwestern melting pot of diverse cultures and immigrants, gave my mother the opportunity to eventually meet my father, which eventually led to me! My abuelito Sebas has since passed away, but my grandmother, at the young age of 93, has been given the opportunity to see her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow and reap the benefits that being U.S. residents and citizens give us. I am very proud and grateful for all of the sacrifices that my grandparents and parents made in order to ensure that my family and I have the best opportunity in life. I am equally proud of having such a rich family history and of being a direct descendant of hard-working immigrants.
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