Ken Beaton: The opportunity is there, take it step by step
Where were you in ’32? Magarita Suaez was born in Mexico City, Mexico. Immediately, God broke the mold. The world’s richest vein of love is 4 feet, 11 3/4 inches.
At 15, after her father was shot and killed by a squatter on his land, she interrupted her formal education to help support her family. Her first job was an aid to a kindergarten teacher. At 18 she worked with a woman who read palms.
Finally, Margarita said “Yes” to the palmist: “There will be four orphans in your family. You will have three pregnancies, but only one child. You will marry a wonderful man, but he’s not rich.”
Margarita forgot the predictions.
In 1950, she met Vicente Nevel. He began courting her. In 1951, they exchanged wedding vows.
In 1953 Margarita and Vicente welcomed their son, Sergio, after 120 hours of labor. You thought your labor was long!
Besides the hospital bill for her third pregnancy, her second ectopic pregnancy, the young couple owed her Oakland, Calif., obstetrician a large amount of money. He told her, “No more pregnancies!” After two ectopic pregnancies, one in each fallopian tube, it was medically impossible for her to conceive another child. Margarita received the best Christmas present ever, her doctor forgave their entire balance. What are the chances in 2017 of a doctor with a six-figure college loan debt forgiving a patient’s bill?
Vicente was a watch repairman when he legally immigrated to Oakland, Calif., in 1956 to join his brother and family. Margarita and Sergio legally joined Vicente in 1957. “I came to this country with nothing but my son!”
Have you ever worked long sweaty hours in a cannery? Margarita did. Every few weeks or months the factory would can another seasonal product. She worked during the day and learned English in night school. “The three of us worked!”
Sergio’s parents sacrificed to pay for his college education. They knew his education would be his opportunity to better himself. Sergio was employed by the University of California, Office of the President. After retiring, he and his wife moved to Reno where he works from his home as a consultant being close to his mom.
One of her most rewarding volunteer experiences was preparing Mexican females for their quinceañera, a 15-year-old female’s rite of passage. Each female wears a white gown, similar to a wedding dress, and has a family fiesta! Margarita stressed to each female, “Don’t have a baby. Don’t believe a boy when he says, ‘If you loved me you’d have my baby.’”
Margarita developed the ability to motivate her fellow employees. The board of a nonprofit recognized her people skills. She was selected as the senior services director for the senior center in Oakland, Calif. She was responsible for 120 tenants, 56 assisted living residents and all the support employees. Fifty-seven percent of the residents were Hispanic.
In 1995 Margarita represented the Spanish Speaking Unity Council of Alameda County when she flew to Washington, D.C. At the White House, she received a certificate from President Bill Clinton. For a person who didn’t speak any English in 1957 to meet the President of the United States at a White House ceremony, it was a “pinch-me moment.”
In 2001 Vicente, Margarita and Mrs. Suaez, her 97-year-old mother, moved to Carson City. Margarita lovingly cared for her mother for 11 years. Mrs. Suaez passed away in 2012 at 108 years young!
Margarita’s caregiving skills continued as her husband developed health issues, dementia, Parkinson’s and intestinal blockage problems. Skilled nursing care is $24 an hour, totaling $177,390 a year! Margarita’s only option was to care for the love of her life until he was called to heaven on Jan. 13, 2017.
Margarita was physically exhausted when Vicente passed. Her recovery began by reviewing all their print photos and organizing them. She discarded decades of documents and organized the important ones. Vicente’s stamp albums will have to be patient for Margarita’s decision.
The following words of wisdom have worked for Margarita: “Don’t cry about your situation, do something! Make a plan and stick with it. The opportunity is there, take it step by step.”
The previous quote is similar to the expression, “How do you eat an elephant? Answer, one bite at a time.”
I’ve had the honor of interviewing and writing about people who stand head and shoulders above others. Margarita loves people. If you haven’t been hugged or spent time with her, there’s a new item for your bucket list.
By the way, her brother-in-law was murdered by an armed robber at his furniture store leaving four orphans. Margarita gave birth to Sergio and had two ectopic miscarriages. Vicente was a wonderful man, but not wealthy. Margarita, show me your palm!
Ken Beaton of Carson City contributes periodically to the Nevada Appeal.