Maria's Journey, published August of 2010, has been nominated for two awards, and consistently receives extrordinary reviews. The book came about from Ray's desire to honor his mother, who had encountered (and triumphantly overcame) many adversities motivated by her need to give her children the opportunity for a better life in America. Ramon and Trisha sought to preserve the wisdom adn love that she had passed on through her example of hard work, faith, persistence, and beliefs that America gave unlimited opportunities to those willing to work for them. After much encourgement from loved ones and interest from the Indiana Historical Society, their original plan expanded into a method of inspiring others. They set up an educational fund to contribute to students exhibiting both need and the "fire in the belly" required for success.
Join us Wednesday, January 23rd at 5:00pm to meet the authors and find out more about their organization. You can purchase the book then, at Amazon, or check out their Website and Facebook for more sellers and details! The book is only $20 and proceeds go directly to fund their educational scholarships!
"Maria's Journey is the story of Maria Arredondo and her family. It is not a documented family history but a well-constructed, novelized story of a family, with the mother as the central character, written by her youngest son.
Maria, her mother, brother and husband M iguel Arredondo were Mexican immigrants in the 1920s. Today we would call them “illegals,” but they came to the United States when crossing the border was, at least initially, very easy. This is the story of a mother’s courage in raising 10 children until the time of her husband’s death in 1955, when the four youngest were still teenagers and Maria was not yet 50 years old. Since the Arredondos eventually settled in East Chicago, Indiana, where Miguel worked at Inland Steel and helped to organize the most powerful chapter of the steel workers union, it is also the history of immigrant workers in northern Indiana.
Each chapter in this book begins with a short introduction providing historic context relevant to the chapter. This feature gives excellent context and extends the value of the book beyond one family’s story, in effect making the Arredondo’s story an illustration of the history of which they were a part. Chapter 6, for example, is about the family’s move to Safe Harbor, where father Miguel found work at Inland Steel after trying jobs in Texas and Pennsylvania. The introductory paragraph for the chapter tells about the city, its incorporation just a few years’ prior to the Arredondo’s arrival, and the steel mill.
In Maria’s Journey we learn of one immigrant family’s struggle to become assimilated in America through the eyes, the heart and the mind of Maria. Through her, we come to understand the courage of living in a loveless marriage, the strict up bringing that was central to Mexican culture, the role of the children in assisting parents with language, the attitude towards education and work, and the overwhelming value of family above all else, as Maria experienced it.
At the same time, the experiences of the children come through in many stories. Once, for example, the younger boys take all the metal rods used to raise and lower store awnings and use them for a game. They are quickly accosted by the police, who wisely turn them over to their older brothers rather than to the father who is known in the community for his harsh punishment of his children. Anecdotes like this ground the book in time and place and make It especially meaningful for readers who will remember small town life in the 1940s and ‘50s.
Above all, however, this is a story of immigrant struggle, of Maria’s intense fear of being deported. These fears were real. During the depression, when many illegal Mexican immigrants were convinced to return to their homeland, Maria and her husband Miguel face one of many challenges to their continued residence in the U.S. Miguel predicts that a wall will be built to keep Mexicans out of the U.S., Maria replies with words that can haunt us still today.
“A Wall! Humph! There is not enough clay in the world to make the bricks! Are they crazy? Who will pick their crops and clean their houses?”
-Federation of Genealogical Societies, Forum Magazine Book Review
About the Authors:
"As a young boy, Ramon Arredondo experienced firsthand discrimination and poverty as a child of Mexican immigrants, but worked hard and achieved "The American Dream". Mr. Arredondo grew up with the strong example of his family. His father was a steel worker of America and a founding member of the Union's Local 1010 chapter. He started his career at a young age working as a milkman's helper and a laborer at Inland Steel, all while attending school.
Mr. Arredondo subsequently entered college and received a BA in criminal justice and then attended University of Central Florida where he was the first Hispanic to earn a Master's degree in public policy. With a passion for serving his country, Mr. Arredondo served in the Vietnam war, worked as a police officer and was trained at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA.
During his extensive public and private sectors career, Mr. Arredondo worked in law enforcement administration in Florida and Lake County, Indiana; district director of the 1st congressional district of Indiana; commissioner of Ports of Indiana; and as the advisor to the CEO and governmental affairs advisor to NiSource (formerly NIPSCO)."
Trisha Hull Arredondo
"A daughter of a U.S. Air Force Colonel, Trisha Hull Arredondo was born in Savannah, Georgia and traveled the world, experiencing a vast array of people and cultures. s. Arredondo graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English and History from St. Joseph College of Indiana, along obtaining an MA in the same fields from Rollins College in Florida.
Devoting her life to education, Ms. Arredondo worked in the Orange County, Florida school system in the career development program teaching English, history and developing curriculum for failed traditional schools. She also trained teachers, school administrators and school boards of failed traditional schools.
Ms. Arredondo transitioned into healthcare as the CEO and President of a women and children’s health care organization on the verge of bankruptcy where she successfully reversed its fortunes - doubling its centers, budgets and clients, Ms. Arredondo was recognized with a national award for her grant writing joint venture between Lafayette and Muncie, Indiana to improve migrant healthcare and education and a second award for Board Development."