I actually met my paternal grandfather when I was little and went to his funeral when he died in 1965. I didn’t know him very well, but I heard some stories about him that were very flattering. My mother told me that he was very mean to me when I was little, but I don’t really remember how he treated me. When my Uncle Plácido became a bishop, I remember reading in his biography that my grandfather had to escape political persecution. I’m not sure where the truth lies. When I was in Celaya, Guanajuato, on my trip to México, my tío Eutimio told me that his father Eutimio Rodríguez Cárdenas, a distant cousin to President Lázaro Cárdenas, met one of the president’s cousins and they didn’t like each other. But other than that there really was no trouble between them. My tío Timio was the only one from my grandfather’s family to stay in México when all the other family members eventually moved to America.
My grandfather had owned a furniture shop that made furniture to order. The shop was called Mueblería del Carmen because it was located near la Catedral El Carmen in downtown Celaya. He gave the furniture shop to my tío Timio and my grandfather went to America for about a year. While there, he met a priest named Father Thomas Matin, CMF. My parents met Father Thomas in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and he would eventually become my godfather. My grandfather promised Father Thomas some furniture if he could arrange U.S. citizenship papers for my grandfather. So my tío Timio ran the mueblería while his father lived and worked in America. When my grandfather returned to Celaya, he locked himself in his room for days at a time. My tío Timio ran the shop and business was booming. All the profits belonged to my tío Timio since he was now the proprietor. Soon, the shop received a government order for chairs with a round backrest, but they wanted high-quality chairs and in a very short time. My uncle took the order even though he wasn’t sure he could complete in such a short time. My grandfather came out of his room and worked in the shop. In order to complete the chairs on time, my uncle devised a mold so that could cut the rounded backrests four at a time. My grandfather didn’t think the mold would work and told his son that. Well, they had to finish the chairs on time in order to gain more business. My grandfather couldn’t work with the mold and his chairs kept breaking. So he locked himself in his room again. My uncle finished the order with plenty of time to spare and the government agent was extremely surprised. He said that he should have given him the rest of the order that they gave to another shop. However, they weren’t even half-done with the order yet.
My uncle was paid handsomely for his work and he gained a lot more furniture orders as his reputation increased. My grandfather took the profits from this enterprise and used the money to go to America. He also took the furniture that his son Timio had made and took it to Father Thomas. If it weren’t for tío Timio, my grandfather and his sons wouldn’t have had enough money to go the U.S. I wouldn’t have been born in the U.S.