In 1890, 1900 and 1910 on the US census form these two questions appeared: "Mother of how many children?" "Number of these children living?" While my country's infant and child mortality rates have declined since the government began tracking them, they are still painfully high among poor families. Thinking this day of all the mothers, like my Great-grandma Josephine whose answer to those questions in 1900 was 8 children, 4 living. Blessings on all those around this world who live with such grief.
Josie Romero at 18 in 1882
photo courtesy of the Montecito Association History Committee
After over a year of research, both historical and deeply spiritual, I'm starting to write my next book based on the life of my great-grandma Josephine Juarez Romero Lindsey Smith (Josie) and her family. They lived "South of the Slot" in San Francisco in the late 19th century and through the 1906 earthquake and fire. She had 11 children, seven of whom lived to be adults. Her life had been forgotten but now she lives and speaks through my heart and imagination and DNA. Please wish me well as I start the writing part of what has already been a remarkable relationship with Grandma Josie and her life and spirit.