By Jimmy Dutra, Watsonville Mayor
This week my grandmother, Epi Tavarez, turned 100. Just seeing that number is surreal. She was born one year after the 19th Amendment was ratified and women got the right to vote. My grandma has been a lifelong voter who has seen the terms of 19 presidents. She has lived through World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the establishment of the United Nations, the Civil Rights movement, desegregation, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy, Watergate, fall of the Berlin Wall, the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, Persian Gulf War, Marriage Equality and Covid-19.
She was raised in Castroville with her six siblings by her mom, Cornelia Lopez Ramirez. She eventually moved to Watsonville after she married my grandfather, Fermin Tavarez. They raised their three children, Cornelia, Teresa and David on Lincoln Street. Her many decades have contributed to a very wise woman.
Now that I am older, I am able to reflect on the many years I have been so lucky to share with my grandma. As a child, I would always want to be by her side. I would decorate her house for Christmas, cruise the local garage sales with her in search of great finds for her secondhand store, and eventually I would assist her with renting videos when she opened up Pajaro Video. I always had a great connection with my grandma. She has always believed in and supported me. I am thankful for the sacrifices that she and my grandpa made so that their family could achieve the American dream.
Most people have big dreams for their families. Not everyone has the opportunity to see them evolve. My grandma is blessed to have seen her family grow. Her children have married and have families of their own and they have kids as well. I had the honor of presenting my grandma with my first Mayor’s Proclamation. I asked her, “What is the secret for such a long life?” She told me it was due to “living good, being a good woman and loving her children.” I asked her what wishes she has for our community. She told me she hopes for kindness. I couldn’t agree with her more. Happy Birthday, grandma, and here is to many more.
Mayor’s Update is a recurring column from Watsonville’s Mayor, Jimmy Dutra. His opinions are his own and not necessarily those of the Pajaronian. Contact Dutra at [email protected].