By Allison Kimball
Sometimes when I hear stories about Guelita Caro—Carolina Amezcua Salinas—I can hardly believe that the same tiny, frail woman I remember from my childhood could have endured so much.
I Was Always Excited to See Great-Grandma Caro
Every summer until my great-grandmother’s death in 1984, Mom and Dad would load us in the car for our drive to Piedras Negras, Mexico. Like most children, I’m sure I grumbled at the long drive, but all I remember are the happy feelings of excitement that we would soon be with Guelita Caro.
My great-grandmother was a tiny woman who was blind in one eye and who shuffled as she walked. She smelled of roses, and every time I smell the aroma of coffee, I am instantly transported back to her kitchen. Some of my fondest memories are of lying on her bed next to her, listening to her talk. I don’t remember any specific story, but I remember how she loved me. For the first ten years of my life, I was able to love a woman who I would later come to admire and find strength from in ways I never anticipated.
Hiding from Pancho Villa
Guelita Caro was a young woman during the time of the Mexican Revolution and lived in the time of Pancho Villa. She loved to share the stories of when Pancho Villa and his men would come into town, and her parents would hide her up the cooking chimney. They did this to keep her safe. Pancho Villa and his men were known for taking the beautiful young women with them. My mother recounts that Guelita Caro would giggle as she told this story, and somewhere in my mind I can hear her giggle. Did she fear for her life or did it seem like a grand adventure that only the innocence of youth recognizes?
A Compassionate Woman and an Excellent Seamstres
Guelita became a young widow when her husband was murdered, leaving her to support her young family of six children. I often wonder how she endured the pain of sorrow and grief. How did she find the strength to move forward each day? Whenever I hear people talk about Guelita Caro, it is with great respect and admiration for how hard she worked and how much she loved people. She was known for her compassion and love, always doing something to lift the burdens of others.
She was an excellent seamstress, creating beautiful designs just from a picture. I love to hear my grandmother talk about her wedding dress that Guelita Caro made for her. The yards and yards of fabric and intricate needlework are part of my story. I think of her when I add a stitch to a quilt and wonder what she must have been thinking or feeling as she stitched quilts not only for income but for love. What sacrifices did she make to provide for her family doing piecework piecework for factories in Eagle Pass, embroidering little flowers on baby gowns?
Inspired By Her Happiness and Strength
From carding wool to tilling the earth for food to rolling out tortillas and everything in between, Guelita Caro was a woman of strength. She was a beautiful woman who found joy in the simple details and gave thanks for the blessings she would see. I think of her when I feel overwhelmed by a trial, knowing that if Guelita Caro could find happiness and strength along the way, then I can survive, thrive, and make the world a better place because of her life and example.
Discover Inspiring Women in Your Family Tree
Are you curious about the women of faith who helped build your heritage? Learn about your relatives who influenced the Relief Society, went on early Church missions, were pioneers, or helped build the Church.
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