Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Unique challenges yield unique triumphs

When her husband left, Brandon Hernández​‘s mom “kept her wits about her and forged a new life for her and me.”​
When her husband left, Brandon Hernández​‘s mom “kept her wits about her and forged a new life for her and me.”​

I’m proud to be the Y-chromosome-equipped period at the end of a long line of strong, self-sufficient women. My great grandmother, Viola, not only raised her own produce and livestock in the far-flung rural expanses of Western Maryland, she also raised eight children almost single-handedly while spending a significant portion of her life doing sweaty, dirty work cleaning dorms, waitressing, and slinging hash in a hot university kitchen. She was an indomitable rock who worked harder than most people of this swiping, griping generation could imagine.

Not surprisingly, her daughter Violet, one of the eldest, labored heartily on the home front while mom was away and picked up a lot of Viola’s spunk and self-sufficiency. What she added to that mix was a sense of daring that manifested itself when she became the only female member of her brood to move away from her small town, staking out to the West Coast with the sailor who won her hand and heart at the ripe age of 18.

After settling down in San Diego for the long haul, Violet used every bit of her heart, soul, muscle, and grit to make a lovely life for her and her husband. It was a life made all the lovelier by the birth of their daughter, Karen, who grew up under a watchful and cognizant, yet always caring eye. Growing up, Karen benefitted from having an ever-present role model doling out lessons on responsibility, work ethic, accountability, discipline, generosity and, above all, self-reliance.

Before it was commonplace, Violet controlled the household’s finances, often on a shoestring budget fed by military and post-Navy civil service jobs. She would have been a dynamo in the workplace, as evidenced by some of her volunteer work in her later years, but to this day she approaches all she does with the unflagging determination and gusto of someone striving to do the best job she can. No boss in the history of the world could be the taskmaster she has been for herself. Failure — which, to Violet, translated to anything less than perfection delivered on time — simply wasn’t an option and she never let anyone down.

I believe it was Violet’s example that helped Karen know that she would be just fine when her husband decided to go his own way. Though she was a young mother with an energetic, precocious, and undoubtedly odd son, she kept her wits about her and forged a new life for her and me with such outward assuredness that I never felt anything was out of the ordinary.

Karen benefitted from Violet, who spent a great deal of time watching me while mom worked to support us…on her own for the most part. As a brilliant fringe benefit, I have two exemplary frames of reference on what it means to be resilient and independent.

Today, I proudly tell people I was raised exclusively by women. Many half-jokingly, half-seriously reply: “That explains a lot.” And I think they’re absolutely right. Many people think it takes a man to teach a boy how to be a man, but my upbringing disproves that short-sighted theory.

Violet certainly had no trouble being the leader of her family. My grandfather, Clarence, was no pushover, but he respected all his wife did and her overall capability. When they argued, she stood her ground. For the most part, she didn’t have to resort to yelling, and rarely did she lose. And though she expects a lot from people, she is always willing to give of herself, her time, and her personal funds. Many were the times when I was growing as a very young single father that she helped me not live in the impoverished state my hard-earned yet meager salary would have left me in.

Karen also benefitted from Violet’s generous spirit, while inheriting the ability to keep things in line on the domestic front. When she married a headstrong second husband, rather than let him walk all over her, she mustered up courage and inner strength on a regular basis while still remaining loving at the core. Their fights were far more numerous than Violet and Clarence’s, so now her love is doled out to someone who deserves it.

Viola, Violet, and Karen each faced unique struggles and lived very different lives. But the overarching fortitude and faith in themselves they shared, yielded unique triumphs. I respect them deeply for all they are and all they’ve accomplished.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

What makes a home in San Diego

Cedar fire, wary of Clairemont, rooming with my son in North Park, last vacant beachfront lots, building paradise above Rancho Santa Fe
When her husband left, Brandon Hernández​‘s mom “kept her wits about her and forged a new life for her and me.”​
When her husband left, Brandon Hernández​‘s mom “kept her wits about her and forged a new life for her and me.”​

I’m proud to be the Y-chromosome-equipped period at the end of a long line of strong, self-sufficient women. My great grandmother, Viola, not only raised her own produce and livestock in the far-flung rural expanses of Western Maryland, she also raised eight children almost single-handedly while spending a significant portion of her life doing sweaty, dirty work cleaning dorms, waitressing, and slinging hash in a hot university kitchen. She was an indomitable rock who worked harder than most people of this swiping, griping generation could imagine.

Not surprisingly, her daughter Violet, one of the eldest, labored heartily on the home front while mom was away and picked up a lot of Viola’s spunk and self-sufficiency. What she added to that mix was a sense of daring that manifested itself when she became the only female member of her brood to move away from her small town, staking out to the West Coast with the sailor who won her hand and heart at the ripe age of 18.

After settling down in San Diego for the long haul, Violet used every bit of her heart, soul, muscle, and grit to make a lovely life for her and her husband. It was a life made all the lovelier by the birth of their daughter, Karen, who grew up under a watchful and cognizant, yet always caring eye. Growing up, Karen benefitted from having an ever-present role model doling out lessons on responsibility, work ethic, accountability, discipline, generosity and, above all, self-reliance.

Before it was commonplace, Violet controlled the household’s finances, often on a shoestring budget fed by military and post-Navy civil service jobs. She would have been a dynamo in the workplace, as evidenced by some of her volunteer work in her later years, but to this day she approaches all she does with the unflagging determination and gusto of someone striving to do the best job she can. No boss in the history of the world could be the taskmaster she has been for herself. Failure — which, to Violet, translated to anything less than perfection delivered on time — simply wasn’t an option and she never let anyone down.

I believe it was Violet’s example that helped Karen know that she would be just fine when her husband decided to go his own way. Though she was a young mother with an energetic, precocious, and undoubtedly odd son, she kept her wits about her and forged a new life for her and me with such outward assuredness that I never felt anything was out of the ordinary.

Karen benefitted from Violet, who spent a great deal of time watching me while mom worked to support us…on her own for the most part. As a brilliant fringe benefit, I have two exemplary frames of reference on what it means to be resilient and independent.

Today, I proudly tell people I was raised exclusively by women. Many half-jokingly, half-seriously reply: “That explains a lot.” And I think they’re absolutely right. Many people think it takes a man to teach a boy how to be a man, but my upbringing disproves that short-sighted theory.

Violet certainly had no trouble being the leader of her family. My grandfather, Clarence, was no pushover, but he respected all his wife did and her overall capability. When they argued, she stood her ground. For the most part, she didn’t have to resort to yelling, and rarely did she lose. And though she expects a lot from people, she is always willing to give of herself, her time, and her personal funds. Many were the times when I was growing as a very young single father that she helped me not live in the impoverished state my hard-earned yet meager salary would have left me in.

Karen also benefitted from Violet’s generous spirit, while inheriting the ability to keep things in line on the domestic front. When she married a headstrong second husband, rather than let him walk all over her, she mustered up courage and inner strength on a regular basis while still remaining loving at the core. Their fights were far more numerous than Violet and Clarence’s, so now her love is doled out to someone who deserves it.

Viola, Violet, and Karen each faced unique struggles and lived very different lives. But the overarching fortitude and faith in themselves they shared, yielded unique triumphs. I respect them deeply for all they are and all they’ve accomplished.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Olive Street pocket park weathers appeal by adjacent home owner

Will AIDS memorial draw thousands?
Next Article

Camila Mendivil: bullied into blogging

The Chula Vista teen makes her fashion statement to inspire others
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close