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An Old Woman Remembers

       An Old Woman Remembers is a memoir by Eulalia Perez who dictated it to Thomas Savage in 1877. Perez was born in Baja California. This story is about her life in California around 1848. According to Savage, she was 139 years old in 1877. Her father was Diego Perez who worked in the Navy Department in the Presidio of Loreto. Her mother was Antonia Rosalia Cota. Both parents were Spaniards. Perez married Miguel Antonio Guillen, a soldier de garrison at Loreto Presidio at the age of 15. During her staying in California, she worked as a cook, midwife, and supervisor of different shops in the mission at San Gabriel, California.

       Perezís life in California was exhausting. She lived with her husband for 8 years in San Diego, when her husband was working. Her job was attending women in childbirth. Perez had family in Los Angeles that she wanted to visit, but her husband didnít permit her go to see them. One day, she was attending mass in church when an earthquake occurred. She fell down to the floor, and nobody helped her. When this incident occurred, she was pregnant. In 1814, she moved to San Gabriel, California where she gave birth to a girl she named Maria del Rosario. Perez returned to San Diego 4 years later. In 1821, she returned to San Gabriel for the missionary.

       The Father who helped her when she returned to San Gabriel was a very good man. Father Jose Sanchez helped Perez find a place to stay where she lived temporarily until he found work for her. Father Sanchez showed her the basic fundamentals to success in many other ways. Also, Father Sanchez was very considerate with the Indians and the neophytes (those who were converting to Christianity).

       Perez had various jobs when she lived in San Gabriel. There were only two women who knew how to cook. After she proved she could cook, she was in charge of the kitchen, and she taught the Indians how to cook. Her other job was as a housekeeper at the mission. As head housekeeper, her duties were many; she handed out the rations of food for the soldiers in the mission. She was responsible for the supplies to the Indian population, and every week she delivered supplies for the troops and Spanish soldiers. Those supplies were beans, corn, and candles. Perez was in charge of the key to the clothing storehouse where she cut and made menís clothes. When she couldnít do all those duties Father Sanchez paid some women to help her. Perez worked as the head housekeeper almost 14 years. Before Father Sanchez died, he told her to get married again. Perez didnít want to get married, but she didnít want to disappoint Father Sanchez who had been nice to her. She married First Lieutenant Juan Marine, a Spaniard from Catalonia (a region of northeastern Spain). Perez also made chocolate, sweets, and lemonade that was bottled and sent to Spain.

       I believe Eulalia Perez was a responsible, hard working woman, and she was probably very healthy. According to the story, she was 139 years old in 1877. Today with the environment and the kind of life we have, it is very difficult for someone to get to that age.

       This is a short story of Eulalia Perez when she was living in California in 1848.