Please, may I make a request of all of you? You are not required to respond, but, please stand if you can or would like to, and if standing or not, look around, and in the spirit of fellowship acknowledge each other
Ok, also not required, but, if you need to, roll your head around, roll your shoulders, extend your arms, roll your wrists, wiggle your torso a little
Thank you, 🙂
Let us give thanks for the opportunity to honor a life of LOVE, COURAGE and FEROCITY
Let us give thanks that we are able to share this moment, together
Let us give thanks for the path in our life that has given us, an opportunity, to celebrate…
The life of Maria Irma Romero Santos
Spirit, daughter, sister, friend, coworker, wife, mother, mentor, grandmother, great grandmother
On August 15, 1936, a tenacious woman, Esperanza Jimenez, and a gentle man, Longinos Romero, gave birth to a little girl. Irma was born in a humble village near Juarez, Chihuahua Mexico. That humble unassuming beginning on earth has been a part of Irma’s personality throughout her life. And through that humble beginning, Irma developed a thankful, and generous spirit.
Irma’s life fed and nurtured an amazing and wonderful spirit. Everyone who met Irma could feel that spirit. She had respect, generosity and kindness for all. She was thankful for the opportunity to be a blessing.
Irma’s SPIRIT inspired…
Irma treated everyone as worthy of kindness and love. Irma was an example to the world that true unconditional and selfless love existed. I believe that her example of selfless love has been a model for all of us to emulate, and to love one another, and be kind to one another, as she so loved and was kind to us.
Irma’s SPIRIT inspired…
A little girl, born into a life where bare necessities were not a guarantee. A little girl, that the world had little to no expectations of. A little girl that dreamed she could, and did, create a life others only imagined. A little girl, that through hard work and grit, persisted to achieve beyond the expectations of others. This little girl, Maria Irma, has inspired others to be courageous in their own life, and to purse and conquer their life goals and life challenges.
Irma’s SPIRIT inspired…
Anyone that knew Irma long enough, knew of her ferocity. Very few people mistook Irma’s kindness as weakness. Irma was a Leo. Katy Perry sang a song about Irma, and women like Irma…spend enough time with Irma, and you’re going to hear her roar
There are many things to say about Irma, some already said today, but the Irma I knew best was the teacher, of over 30 years. Same school, teaching 2nd grade, kindergarten, or 1st grade. She taught for so many years in the same neighborhood, that she taught not only children of former students, but even a few grandchildren of former students.
Irma left home after 6th grade, and moved to the city, Ciudad Juarez. Eventually, with each pay check, she would keep enough money for her self care basics and send the rest of the money home to help her 4 brothers and 3 sisters.
Around 16, she met a tall handsome man, Ramon. About a year later, they were married.
Irma and Ramon lived in various cities in western and central Texas, in the mid fifties and early sixties, as her husband pursued his education and the beginnings of his career.
By 1964, they and their two young daughters had moved to southern California, and in 1966, bought a house, with a Whittier zip code, but the neighborhood was appropriately referred to as Avocado Heights, a single tract of homes in an area surrounded by avocado and orange groves, grain fields, barns, and a dairy farm.
When I started elementary school, I was bilingual, but my school and neighborhood were 85-90% Caucasian. A decidedly English only environment. I clearly remember Irma taking the opportunity to improve her English, which was not very good at that time. Every afternoon, she would review with me my lessons in school, especially English.
From kindergarten through third grade, Irma always volunteered for classroom room mother opportunities. In 1974. Irma became a volunteer teacher assistant for Mrs Arnold, my 4th grade teacher. Thankfully for me, she was a master of maxing her role as Mrs Santos, not Ray’s mom, while in the classroom.
I believe Mrs Arnold saw the potential irma possesed, maybe not as a teacher, but certainly as an individual. Not knowing the powers about to be unleashed, Mrs Arnold encouraged Irma to take night classes and earn a GED. Irma did, and followed completing her GED coursework, with an A.A. from Rio Hondo College, and a Bachelor of Arts degree, a bilingual teaching credential, and Master’s Degree from Cal Poly, Pomona by 1982.
A stay home mom, became a certificated Master of her profession in 8 years.
As a child, during this period, I used to liken my mother to the Tasmanian Devil. I recall in the mornings, her making breakfast for everyone. I remember more often than not, she would be out the door before I finished breakfast. I remember in the afternoon at home, a tornado would blow in the house, stuff got cleaned, food got made, and the tornado would go out the door. Then at night, as I drifted to sleep, I’d hear her and my father, Ramon, going over her readings or assignments, or her alone in the kitchen, typing away at her next paper.
Of the many lessons I learned from my father, the ones I remember most fondly are the ones he didn’t directly teach me. These lessons I learned by watching a man adjust to the reality that the doe of a wife he married was turning into a lion. The theme of the lessons: Respect and honor the lion, or the lion will turn you into hyena chum.
I don’t remember the exact sequence, or the exact timing of these events, but it went something like this. Irma had tried to continue the cooking, cleaning, and other duties she had filled, prior to her new life: working full time and going to school full time.
One day, at dinner, my father made a critical remark about the food. Mom got up, grabbed his plate, dumped it in the sink, grabbed the pots and pans with the unserved dinner food, dumped them in the sink as well.
Dad learned to cook.
Another time, while preparing his clothes for the next day, Dad found a flaw in the ironing of one shirt. Not the quickest learner, Dad thought bringing that to Irma’s attention was a good idea.
Dad became quite skilled with the use of a clothing iron.
The last thing I ever remember my father, Ramon, ever criticizing Irma about was the laundry. Ramon found a stain on his shirt, and brought this to Irma’s attention. Irma took every clothing of his hanging, (and pressed), from the closet and dumped them into the dirty laundry. She also took his pressed boxers, and pressed handkerchiefs (yes, pressed boxers and pressed handkerchiefs) out of their drawers and tossed them into the hamper as well.
Dad got really good at washing clothes.
To his credit, and through Irma’s ever present LOVE, COURAGE, AND FEROCITY, Ramon learned to love, respect, and honor the lion that had emerged from the doe.
Irma was a paradox, in some ways. She loved to socialize, but she equally enjoyed her books and quiet time alone.
Irma loved her family, both sides, her in laws and her own extended family. She was always joyous, genuine, and full of love to all in her family.
The world, the world that encoutered Irma, has been better, because of her. Irma gave as much of herself, as well as she was able, into everything she did.
Irma was a hero to many.
Irma was my hero.
We will miss Irma
I will miss irma
But, if we can take our personal moments of sorrow and pain, find a way to open our hearts, extend kindness to a stranger, call a friend not heard from in awhile, stop and visit a family member, finding something, to turn the sorrow and pain into a gesture of thoughtfulness…
What a way to honor a life that revolved around selflessness and dedicated to the wellness of others
The body has passed, but her spirit is alive
May we all find a purpose in life, that sustains and lifts others, as I believe the life of Irma Santos has, by sustaining and lifting the lives of so many.