Downey woman dies after traveling to Mexico for liposuction

DOWNEY -- A 51-year-old Downey woman died Nov. 11 after traveling to Tijuana to undergo a liposuction procedure. 

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Irma Saenz died at Chula Vista Medical Center, the L.A. Times reported. She had been in a coma at a Tijuana hospital before an ambulance brought her across the border. 

Saenz reportedly had the procedure done at Embellecete Aesthetic Surgery Group under the supervision of Dr. Guillermo Diaz Vergara. He is not a licensed plastic surgeon, who are the only physicians authorized to perform liposuction, the Times reported. 

According to family members, Saenz found the clinic in a Facebook group. Through an intermediary, she paid a deposit, scheduled an appointment and arranged for an Uber to drive her from Downey to Tijuana on Oct. 27. 

She slipped into a coma that same day and was transferred to Hospital Arcangeles, a Tijuana hospital with an intensive care center. She was transported to Chula Vista on Oct. 30. 

Results of an autopsy by the San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office are pending. Friends and family have created a GoFundMe page to pay for funeral expenses.

'Irving Berlin's White Christmas' comes to Long Beach


LONG BEACH -- “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas,” a stage production based on the beloved film starring Bing Crosby, will be performed at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach Dec. 1-10. 

The holiday classic features 17 of Irving Berlin’s best-known songs, from “Blue Skies” to “I Love a Piano” and the timeless holiday favorite “White Christmas.” 

The musical tells the story of veterans Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, who have partnered as a successful song and dance team following WWII. 

After meeting a sister act, they follow the girls and their hearts to a magical Vermont inn, owned by their old Army commander. Will the spirit of the holidays bring together families old and new? 
Performances are Dec. 1 at 8 p.m., Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Dec. 3 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., Dec. 8 at 8 p.m., Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. 

Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased at 

Downey offense too much for Corona del Mar

Downey beat Corona del Mar last Friday, 49-42. Photo courtesy @DowneyVikes on Instagram

Downey beat Corona del Mar last Friday, 49-42. Photo courtesy @DowneyVikes on Instagram

DOWNEY – The Downey High School football team traveled to Newport Harbor last Friday night and defeated Corona del Mar, 49-42. Downey improved to 10-2 on the season and will face an undefeated Capistrano Valley team (12-0) at Capistrano Valley on Friday.

In the Downey/Corona del Mar game, both offenses showcased their talent. Both teams scored two touchdowns and converted their PAT’s early in the game. The score was tied at 14 at the end of the first quarter. 

Downey gained the advantage in the second quarter when they scored two more touchdowns. Corona del Mar only scored one touchdown in the second quarter and the Vikings took a 28-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The two teams continued battling in the third quarter and each scored a touchdown. The score was 35-28 at the end of the third quarter. 

Both teams scored traded touchdowns in the fourth quarter and Downey held on for their hard-fought, 49-42 win.

Downey quarterback Kijjon Foots completed 19/25 pass attempts for 309 yards and five touchdowns. Foots’ passer rating was an impressive 156.5. Kijjon also ran the ball 20 times for 102 yards.

The Viking ground game was led by Baraq Ross’ 22 carries for 156 yards and one touchdown.

The Downey receiving corps were led by Chris Atkins’ highlight reel performance of 10 catches for 206 yards and four touchdowns. Baraq Ross also had four catches for 41 yards in the winning effort.

The Downey defense was led by Nicholas Whitney’s four solo and four assisted tackles, Brenden Hodge’s six solo and one assisted tackle, Tijeer Bryant’s five solo and two assisted tackles, Noah Skobis’ five solo and one assisted tackle and Malcom Perry’s two solo and four assisted tackles.

Coach Williams, his staff and players are all looking forward to their game against Capistrano Valley later today. A win tonight will get the Vikings into the C.I.F. Division 4 championship game against the winner of the Cajon/Murrieta Mesa game.

WARREN GIRLS' CROSS-COUNTRY: The Warren High School girls’ cross-country team saw their season come to an end last Saturday morning at the Riverside Course in Riverside. 

The Lady Bears ran at 8:05 a.m. and finished 18th in the Division One Race with 421 points. Warren finished in a team time of 1:35.10 and an individual runner’s time of 19:02. 

The Lady Bears finished in seventh place last week in their respective heat at C.I.F. Prelims to advance to the C.I.F. Final Saturday.

Great Oak finished in first place with 56 points, Vista Murrieta finished in second place with 138 points, Arcadia finished in third place with 164 points, El Toro finished in fourth place with 207 points and M.L. King finished in fifth place with 230 points. California High finished in 17th place with 416 points and Roosevelt finished in 19th place with 447 points.

Warren’s sophomore standout Nadine Gomez was the first Lady Bear to finish. Gomez finished 53rd overall with a time of 18:28.4. 

Senior Leann Pavana finished 60th overall in a time of 18:34.6 and senior Vilma Alvarez finished 106th overall in a time of 19:13.7. Freshman Natalie Esparza finished 119th overall in a time of 19:20.8 and junior Arianna Cervantes finished 129th overall in a time of 19:33.4.

Coach Waldron is extremely proud of this year’s team. This team has improved steadily throughout the season due to their hard work and determination. The Warren girls’ cross-country team was the only Downey or Warren team to advance to C.I.F. Finals. 

MIDDLE SCHOOL SPORTS: Downey’s middle school sports program has concluded its second rotation and five city championships were up for grabs in boys’ volleyball and girls’ soccer. 

There were three grade level championships in boys’ volleyball and two championships for girls’ varsity and junior varsity soccer.

In 8th grade boys’ volleyball, Griffiths finished first with a record of 6-0, Doty finished second with a record of 4-2, Stauffer finished third with a record of 2-4 and Sussman finished fourth with a record of 0-6.

In 7th grade boys’ volleyball, Griffiths finished first with a record of 6-0, Stauffer finished second with a record of 4-2 and Doty and Sussman finished tied for third with records of 1-5.

In 6th grade boys’ volleyball, Doty, Griffiths and Stauffer finished in a three-way tie for first with a record of 4-2 and Sussman finished in fourth place with a record of 0-6.

In girls’ varsity soccer, Doty and Griffiths were co-champions with records of 5-1, Stauffer finished in third place with a record of 2-4 and Sussman finished in fourth place with a record of 0-6.

In girls’ junior varsity soccer, Doty and Sussman were co-champions with records of 5-1 and Griffiths and Stauffer finished tied for third place with records of 1-5.

After two rotations, Doty and Griffiths are tied with 3.8 championships each, Stauffer has 2.8 championships and Sussman has .5 championship(s). Outright championships are one point, co-championships are .5 point(s) and tri-championships are .3 point(s), respectively.

Doty was a co-champion in 8th grade football, won 8th and 6th grade girls’ volleyball outright, were a tri-champion in 6th grade boys’ volleyball and were co-champions in girls’ varsity and junior varsity soccer.

Griffiths won 7th grade girls’ volleyball outright, won 8th and 7th grade boys’ volleyball outright and were tri-champions in boys’ 6th grade volleyball. Griffiths was also a co-champion in 8th grade girls’ soccer.

Stauffer was a co-champion in 8th grade boys’ football and won 7th and 6th grade football outright. Stauffer was also a tri-champion in 6th grade boys’ volleyball. Sussman was a co-champion in girls’ junior varsity soccer.

Coaches and players are all looking forward to competing for more city championships after the Christmas Break.
The third rotation will begin in January and feature three grade level teams each for boys’ and girls’ basketball as well as two boys’ soccer teams consisting of a varsity and junior varsity team.

Tryouts and practices at each school site will begin before the Christmas Break and games will begin on Jan. 9.

Paging Dr. Frischer: Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm


AAA means one thing to a driver with a flat tire, but quite another to someone with a dilated aorta. 

If you are a man older than 50, you run roughly a 4-7% chance of having an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), and if you are a woman over 50, your odds are closer to 1%.

The aorta is the largest artery in the body, and it carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart and supplies it to the rest of the body. The problem with an aortic aneurysm is not simply that it is a swelling of the aorta, but that as it grows larger, the risk of the aorta rupturing becomes significant. 

Usually there will be no symptoms before it ruptures, and it may not be possible to have immediate emergency surgery in time to repair it. The risk for rupture depends on the size of the aneurysm, and if it does rupture, 75% to 90% of the time it is fatal. In the United States, ruptured AAA is estimated to cause 4-5% of all sudden deaths. Therefore, screening is critical for those at high risk.

Typically, an AAA is found when an exam is performed for another reason. A doctor may feel a pulsating bulge in the abdomen, or it might be detected through computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or abdominal ultrasound.

So, should we all be routinely screened? The answer is complicated. The majority of aneurysms never rupture. As the number of screenings increase, so will the number of previously undiagnosed small aneurysms that are unlikely to ever rupture. Elective surgery can prevent aneurysm rupture, but every surgery always carries with it some level of risk. And, since the patient who is most likely to have an AAA is older, the risk that
accompanies surgery is even greater. 

Surgical repair is typically considered an option only for aneurysms that have reached five and a half to six centimeters in size. Imagine knowing that you have an aneurysm of “only” five centimeters! Would it feel like a ticking time bomb? You can see how challenging those borderline cases can be.

Current recommendations suggest that men between the ages of 65 to 75 who have ever smoked cigarettes should have a one-time screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm, using abdominal ultrasound. In addition, men aged 60 and older with a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm should consider regular screenings. 

On the other hand, the statistics don’t support screening of women smokers ages 65 to 75, or those with a family history. The reason is that when lower risk populations (such as women) are screened for AAA, they are twice as likely to undergo elective surgery within three to five years. While the risk of death from elective surgery is far lower than the risk of death from rupture, many of these elective surgeries are unnecessary, and pose needless risk.

The goal of treatment is to prevent a rupture. If the abdominal aortic aneurysm is too small to justify elective surgery, then it can be monitored. Monitoring would include annual x-rays, controlling blood pressure (which relieves the stress on weakened arteries), not smoking cigarettes, getting regular exercise, limiting alcohol, and eating a healthy diet. To regular readers of my columns, most of this list should look pretty familiar! 

Speak with your doctor about whether you are a candidate for screening.

Kaiser hospital in Downey receives 'A' grade for patient safety

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DOWNEY -- Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center once again received an “A” grade for their dedication to patient safety by The Leapfrog Group in its fall 2017 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade.

“Patient safety is so important to us and we’re constantly working to ensure our patients are safe while under our care, so we’re extremely proud that our hard work has led to us earning recognition in Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Grade,” said Jim Branchick, senior vice president and area manager, Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center.

“Members gain more confidence in Kaiser Permanente's patient-centered, physician-led system knowing that they’re receiving care at one of the nation's safest hospitals.”

“Physicians and staff here at our medical center utilize advanced technology, along with carrying out the highest safety standards, all while delivering exceptional care that Kaiser Permanente is known for,” added Binesh Batra, MD, area medical director, Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center.

“Receiving high marks from the Leapfrog Group is a testament to Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to quality health care and patient safety.”

Along with Kaiser Permanente Downey, nine other Kaiser Permanente Southern California hospitals received Leapfrog’s “A” rating, including medical centers in Anaheim, Baldwin Park, Fontana, Irvine, Moreno Valley, Ontario, Panorama City, West Los Angeles and Woodland Hills. 

Developed under the guidance of Leapfrog’s Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 30 national performance measures to produce a single letter grade representing a hospital’s overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade methodology has been peer reviewed and published in the Journal of Patient Safety.

Louise Willick passes away at 95

DOWNEY -- Louise Eva Skinner Willick passed away peacefully in her sleep Nov. 11. Age 95, she died of natural causes at Vistas Assisted Living Facility in Redding, Calif. 

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Louise was born April 7, 1922 to James Frances Skinner and Eva Mae Skinner of Sacramento and Los Angeles. She grew up in the Los Angeles area with one older sister, Inez Ellen Skinner and a younger brother, Elmer Okerson. 

Louise worked for a defense company during WWII building military airplanes. She also volunteered at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in Downey as an aide helping patients with their grooming as a beautician for many years during the 1960’s. She worked full time for over 35 years as a real estate agent in Downey until her retirement in 2000.

She was married in 1945 to Edward Lee Willick of Downey for over 61 years until his passing in 2006 at age 88. They made their home in Downey for over 44 years. Edward was the prominent owner of Willick Engineering (building industrial x-ray machines) located in Los Angeles for over 45 years. 

Louise was a devoted mother to her only child, Ronald Lee Willick born in 1948. She is survived by her son, Ronald Lee and daughter in-law of 49 years, Marilyn Granger Willick of Redding, California. 

She had five grandchildren, Ryan Lee Willick of El Dorado Hills, California, Christopher Michael Willick of Santa Cruz, California, Grant Matthew Willick of Redding, California, Brooke Elizabeth Willick Vaughn of Elbert, Colorado, Kristen Nicole Willick of Reno, Nevada and 11 great-grandchildren, Alexis  Willick, Gavin Willick, Chloe Willick, Brayden Willick, Nathan Willick, Lillyan Willick, Elijah Vaughn, Savannah Vaughn, Cannon Vaughn, Mandelyn Vaughn and Scarlet Boyles.  

A private service will be held at Rose Hills Memorial Park in  Whittier, where she will rest with her husband, Edward Willick.In lieu of flowers, please donate to the A.S.P.C.A. in Louise’s honor per her wishes.

Letter to the Editor: Parking scofflaws

Dear Editor: 

We go to the post office on Lakewood Boulevard at least two or three times a day. My husband sells several items on Ebay and we use the post office closer to our home. 

It has really become more of a pain than a convenience. Everyone who goes there thinks that it’s a drive-thru; no one takes into consideration the handicap persons who really need the parking close to the entrance. People park in the handicap without a handicap placard, double park, don't even think of other people. 

I really think someone or maybe a police officer should watch this location. I am sure Downey could get so much revenue just from the inconsiderate people that think that they are more important than anyone else. 

M. Contreras


Letter to the Editor: Drain the swamp

Dear Editor: 

Roy Moore, a Republican, is running for senator of Alabama. He is accused of sexual harassment. Is he guilty? He will probably lose the election. 

Bill Clinton was accused of many sexual indiscretions but served two terms. He lied to Congress and the American people. What was his punishment? He lost his law license. He didn’t need it because he gets almost half a million dollars for a one-hour speech in Russia. Who needs it? 

President Kennedy was also guilty of sexual indiscretions but no charges were filed. Ted Kennedy left Mary Jo Koepeckne in a watery grave and went to “sleep it off” before reporting it. He and other men took their girlfriends for a special time together and what was his punishment? He was elected to serve as chairman of the Ethics Committee. 

Now we learn about Al Franken. He was being groomed to run for president on the Democratic ticket in 2020. And these sleazy politicians are wondering if he should be put out of office. Really? Now we learn our state senator, Tony Mendoza, is also accused. 

On top of all this, we learn that $15.2 million of our tax money is used to pay off the ladies who have sexual harassment complaints against our government leaders. We should demand the names of these sleazeballs be released. They should be put out of office with no pension. But probably nothing will happen. 

The only upside that could happen is maybe this is the only way to “drain the swamp” since we can’t get much-needed term limits.

Another issue: I’m not a tax expert but I noticed in Jim Hightower’s article, whose articles appear often in the Downey Patriot, that he is concerned that President Trump’s tax plan will add $1.5 trillion to our national debt. I don’t recall in his other articles that he showed any interest when President Obama increased our debt more than all previous presidents combined. 

Elsa Van Leuven


Paul Harrison Griffin

October 27, 1929 - November 9, 2017


Paul H. Griffin, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, friend and longtime educator, passed away November 9, 2017 in Norwalk, CA.  Paul and his wife, Betty, were married for 65 years and were residents of Downey for 61 years.

Paul was born to Lena and Sterling “Harry” Griffin in El Dorado Springs, MO, on October 27, 1929; Paul was their only child. He spent his young childhood a short distance away in Tiffin, MO, where his mother owned a general store.  Paul and his parents drove to California via Route 66 seeking a better life and education opportunities (this was during the Great Depression).  Paul celebrated his 7th birthday sleeping in the family car on the side of Route 66.  They arrived and settled in Maywood, CA on October 31, 1936 where Paul’s parents bought a home built by his uncle.  Paul’s family moved to Downey in 1949 where they built a new home on a commercial half acre (with orange trees)!

Paul attended South Gate Jr. High and subsequently attended and graduated from South Gate High School in 1947. Paul excelled in sports in high school, participating in tennis, basketball, and track (high hurdles); he received letters in all three sports.  

Paul graduated from Pepperdine College in 1951 with a B.A. in History.  In 1952, Paul earned a M.A. degree in social science from Long Beach State College.

On August 23rd, 1952, Paul married his high school sweetheart, Betty Joyce Braaten.  Two months later, Paul was drafted into the U.S. Army.  At the time, he was teaching at a Junior high school in Compton.  Paul went through basic training at Fort Ord, CA, and served from 1953-1954 in Taegu, South Korea as a military policeman.

Upon leaving the Army in 1954, Paul enrolled in the University of Southern California, and in 1955, he was hired as a teacher at South Gate Jr. High School (where he had been a student from 1941-1944)!

In 1956, Paul and Betty purchased their first (and only) home in Downey, CA. Paul and Betty raised three boys there:  Paul and Betty’s first child, Mark Sterling, was born in 1957.  Paul continued teaching social studies and English at South Gate Junior High School.  In 1959, Paul and Betty’s second son, Gregory Neil, was born.  Their third son, Jeffrey Paul, was born in 1963. All three sons were born at St. Francis Hospital in Lynwood, CA. All three sons Graduated from Warren High School in Downey and all three became law enforcement officers. Greg and Jeff retired from the Downey Police Department and Mark retired from El Paso County Sheriff’s Department in Colorado.

In 1967, Paul earned a doctorate in education from the University of Southern California as well as secondary administrative credential.  

Paul retired in December of 1988 from the Los Angeles Unified School District after 34 years.  Paul had spent the last 23 ½ years at Huntington Park High School.  

During the years his sons were growing up, Paul and Betty spent much of their time enjoying such activities as DJAA sports (where Paul coached many seasons), Cub Scouts, school projects, birthday parties, etc.

Upon Betty’s retirement in 1992 from the 3M Company (after 27 + years), Paul and Betty enjoyed traveling.  Their travels took them to Hawaii, Washington, DC (Smithsonian), New Orleans, New England, Colorado, Missouri, New York, the Caribbean, North Carolina, Virginia, etc.

Paul was an excellent amateur photographer. He enjoyed taking photographs of everything related to family, friends, vacations, gatherings, sports, etc.  

His greatest joy was spending time with his family.  He will be greatly missed for his consistent love and support he gave to his family and friends.  He will be remembered as a man who lived life his way with good character, strong principles, values, compassion, and charity.  

Paul is survived by his wife, Betty; three children, Mark (Cheryl), Greg (India) and Jeff(Cyndi); five grandchildren, Courtney(Tyler), Christopher(Jessica), Wyatt, Sierra, and Dylan; three great-grandchildren, Noelle, Cash, Daisy, and Holliday (who is on the way).

Services were held Thursday, November 16, 2017 at Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary, 3888 Workman Mill Rd, Whittier, CA 90601.  Please sign Paul’s guest book at

Grace E. Horney

September 6, 1926 - October 22, 2017

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Grace Elisabeth Horney (aka Bettina, Betty, Bet, Mom and Grandma), 91 of Downey, California died from natural causes on October 22, 2017. She was born in Moctezuma, Sonora, Mexico on September 6, 1926 and raised in Miami, Oklahoma. She was one of 8 children. Her mother Viola Bitticks (Gibbons) moved the family to South Gate, CA in 1943.

In 1946 Grace traveled across the country by train to board the 3rd peace time sailing of the Queen Elizabeth in New York, taking her to Great Britain to marry the love of her life, Royal Air Force pilot Norman Horney, who predeceased her. After a year of living in England they moved back to Southern California settling in Downey in 1953.

Grace had two children, Ross Alan Horney (wife Donnetta Jensen Horney) and grandchildren Christopher and Dustin Horney of Huntington Beach, CA, and Connie St. Amand (Horney) (husband Daun St. Amand) of Los Angeles, CA and grandchildren Ashley, Lea and Gabrielle St. Amand survive her. Grace is also survived by her youngest sister, Leslie Brown (Bitticks) of Portland, Oregon, along with numerous nephews, nieces and extended family across the country.

Grace became one of the first female elected school board members on the Downey Unified School District Board of Education in 1965. She held numerous positions on the board, serving as President 4 times. She stepped down from the board in 1993 after serving 28 years. Also during this time she was a member of numerous committees throughout the area. Close to her heart was her time serving on the Downey Women’s Club Scholarship Committee, which enabled many Downey graduates to attend college.

In 1987 Grace received special recognition by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party for her exemplary record of service to her community by the Honorable Cecil Green 33rd Senatorial District of California. Also, in 1993 she received special commendation for her public and civic leadership by the Honorable Bob Epple of the 56th Assembly District of California.
Grace, a girl from a small Midwest town, lived an extraordinary life. She married a British pilot, sailed on the Queen Mary, moved to California, and became one of the first elected female officials in her town. She remained politically active throughout her life, earning the respect and trust of students and teachers alike.

More importantly, Grace was the adored matriarch of her family. She hosted annual holiday gatherings and spoiled her family with her signature cooking and baking for decades. She founded the Horney Family Scholarship Fund for her 5 grandchildren, and provided an endless supply of emotional support and inspiration. Her intelligence and sharp wit delighted her family. Grace was the most amazing wife, mother, aunt, grandmother and friend a family could ever have, making a large impact on many lives. Her gift of love and caring will never be forgotten and sorely missed.

The family is holding a private ceremony to celebrate the life and the many accomplishments of their beloved Grace.

Memorial Gifts in Grace’s memory can be made to: Downey Women’s Club Scholarship Fund, 9813 Paramount Boulevard, Downey, CA 90240.


June Marie Guengerich

April 29, 1928 - October 25, 2017

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June Marie Guengerich was born April 29, 1928 in Martinez, CA and entered into the presence of her Lord Jesus on October 25, 2017 in Downey, CA.

June attended Pepperdine University before her marriage to Richard Guengerich in 1950.  When her three daughters reached school age, June attended and graduated from Long Beach State University.

With a caring heart and a love for helping others, June was an educator in the Downey School District for over 30 years.  After retiring from teaching at Warren High, June impacted many more lives serving with Child Evangelism Fellowship for the next 23 years.

June leaves behind her loving family:  Her beloved husband of 67 years, Richard Guengerich of Downey, CA, her daughters, Donna, Karen, and Cathy,  nine grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren, as well as many other family members.

Through the years, June was an active church member of Immanual Mennonite, Downey First Baptist and Calvary Chapel of Downey where many appreciated hearing her beautiful voice as she sang to God’s glory.  One of her favorite Bible verses from Isaiah 12 is “The Lord is my strength and my song.”  June’s memorial service was held at the Downey First Baptist Chapel on November 6, 2017.

She will be greatly missed by all who know and love her.  She wants us to be comforted by Jesus’ promise that we will be with her again forever!

Shared Stories: Coming to America in 1973

Nida Ferrer worked hard to build a good life for her children and persevered when faced with an obstacle. Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center.  Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program.  Curated by Carol Kearns

By Nida Ferrer

On September 26, 1973, the petition of my husband was approved for us to join him in America. My husband had been working in the United States for Bechtel for five years. I was excited to come here and to be reunited with my husband and for my kids to be with their dad.

Before this happened, I had to complete all of the paperwork.  I went to the Philippine Embassy many times for them to approve all of the papers first.  I applied for all of our green cards as immigrants.

It took three months to complete all of my papers and to prepare everything.  I took my children for their shots.  My oldest son Peter was eleven years old, my daughter Elvira was ten, my daughter Wilhelmina was eight and my son Robert was five.

I went to apply for our flight tickets to the airport.  After a week our tickets were ready.  I prepared our luggage and packed all of the clothes needed.  During this week I received a letter from my husband, special delivery, saying for us not to come.  He said he could not find a house for us.

I was so angry and disappointed, but I told my children that we have to go. Your daddy can not stop us.  My decision was to write to my Uncle Eddie, the brother of my father, and tell him that I and my four children were coming, and, if possible, could he meet us at the airport.

He responded to my request and said he would come.  I told him that our flight was American Air Lines and that we would be in LAX around 4 p.m.  

I met my uncle only one time before when I was a little girl, so I sent a picture of me and my children.  When I and my children arrived at the airport I would have to imagine how my uncle would look.  I thought he must look like my father.   When I saw him, he did resemble my father.

When I saw Uncle Eddie, I was so happy.  Finally, we were in America.  We stayed at their house for one week.  He already reserved the first floor for us.  They had a three-story house.  His wife was a German lady and very sweet.  Their two children, my cousins, were already grown.  I met them as well.

I saw my husband for the first few months, but it didn’t work out.  A fifth child was born, but after a year we divorced.        

We all ended up staying at Uncle Eddie’s house for 14 years, and I paid only $100 per month.  I got a job with Prudential Insurance for six years.  Then they offered me a job in New Jersey, but I couldn’t move my family.  I got a job with Kaiser in Los Angeles and I worked there for 16 years.

My children grew up.  They all went to college.  I helped them until they finished their careers.  I bought a car for my son Robert so he could go to college and also find a job.  I also helped my youngest daughter Josephine.  She went to Biola University and graduated in accounting.  She also went to USC for her master’s degree.  I did my best to help them all, because I cherish them.