Like many immigrants they were poor and the only job they could find was picking crops. Patty, Mac's Mom, remembered going to school and then having to leave and follow the crops, from asparagus in the early part of the year, through beans, tomatoes, apricots, etc.
Sebastian and Maria worked hard though, saving their money, and eventually they bought their own home on Watkins St. in Hayward where many other Spanish families lived. They eventually owned 3 houses and used 2 as rentals.
She didn't like cooking and Patty can't remember her ever doing it. Though it's obvious someone taught Patty to cook. The family would butcher a pig each fall and make its own mortadella, chorizo and other Spanish sausages. They also made their own wine.
Mac remembers her loving to watch the wrestling matches on tv. she called them los luchadores and would cheer them on.
After the death of her husband Mac's Aunt Dottie and Uncle George lived with her. They had a big dog, a boxer, that many people were afraid of, but Abuela would smack it on the nose and it would run off.
She never spoke English, though I suspect she understood a lot of it. I met her in 1965 when she gave a Bridal shower for me. Sweet lady, always full of kisses for everyone. Mac says she was one of those smiley Grandmas who was always glad to see you. Unlike most of the older Spanish ladies on Watkins St. she didn't wear black, much too cheerful for that.
Diagnosed with diabetes she would sneak ice cream bars carrying them in her dress pocket.
In her late 70's she had breast cancer and had to have a mastectomy and radiation treatment. Mac's Mom said she was so strong and never complained
She died in August 1966, a strong, brave lady who had traveled far, endured much with little complaint and much humor.