My Father / Mi Padre

Domingo Ojeda Santana (May 12, 1925 - March 25, 1992)

I have many memories of my father. His life was good and so well lived!, it is impossible to forget such a special character.

I remember my father as a hard worker, resourceful, and productive. He only attended school for 18 days, he used to tell us, but he learned to read and write enough to succeed in life. My best memory and the greatest pride I have of my father is that he always achieved his goals!

He fell in love with a good woman and married her despite the fact that others did not approve. Together with his wife, he formed a family of 11 daughters and 2 sons (productive man, no?), and always wanted the best for us.

Bricklayer, plumber, painter, electrician
He designed and built several houses in Tijuana. The house he built for his family was made out of love. Starting with the foundation, piping and plumbing, to installing the last light bulb in each room, he did it all. He worked with all types of building materials without any qualms. I don't know where he learned but he was a master in handling wood, cement, brick and block alike. Despite so little time he devoted to school, he knew a lot of mathematics, his calculations was another thing that always amazed me. When starting a project he always finished it, never running out of material and he almost never had leftovers. His projections were very accurate. I wish I could divide and multiply as he did without the use of electronic calculators. I remember that he always carried a pencil on top of the ear and a little note-pad in the pocket of his shirt.

Manufacturer, carpenter
He built some of the furniture in our house with his own hands. He made bookcases, shelves, cabinets, benches and tables. We used to have two chairs in our kitchen - the one next to the sink that was his and the one next to the stove that was my mother's; he made them both. Today, I would give any thing to have one of those chairs in my house and I'd love to have his talent for making furniture.

Businessman, street vendor
My father did everything to meet the needs of his family. He performed all sorts of jobs, even as a floor sweeper. He used to say "if you are going to be a floor sweeper, sweep right." There was a time when he worked in an orchard of lemons and cucumbers. He used to bring home some big and very twisted cucumbers and yellow lemons that were big, beautiful, and juicy. We used to like them a lot but always had extras. So my father decided to start his own business selling cucumbers and lemons on the streets. Sometimes he was the one shouting on the streets "limones, limones!" (lemons, lemons) but almost always sent us kids to sell them among the neighbors. When I was embarrassed to sell on the streets, my father told me that it was a shame to steal, but getting caught stealing was even worse! (he was always making jokes). This taught me that any honest work should not be an embarrassment.
Farmer, agriculturist, gardener
He loved nature, he was always planting something. He worked for many years in the agriculture fields in the United States and was very happy doing this work. In our house in Tijuana, he had a big garden where he grew all types of plants - vegetables, aromatic herbs, fruit trees and all kinds of flowers and ornamental plants. Later, in San Diego, he also developed a very nice garden. As a child I liked to play hide and seek in my father's garden; there were many secret places to hide. Sometimes so secret that the game ended because we could not find each other and got bored looking. I used to love playing among the reeds and making bows and arrows with them. My father taught me how to make them. He also taught me to love and care for nature. He was always good to the soil and to all his plants. He gave them water and fertilizer; he took care of them and talked to them. He used to tell them how much he loved them and he would ask them to continue being beautiful because this made him happy. In my house I have several plants that emerged from shoots or seedlings of my father's original plants. I love to remember him among my plants, and the garden is where I honor my father's memory every day.
Massager, healer
My father liked to help people. He knew a lot of home remedies and people went to him to get yerbitas (herbs) to prepare a tea for stress or stomach pain and other ills. Also when someone hurt an ankle or a hand, they came to my father so he would give them massages; he treated all kinds of muscle strains. Moms used to bring their young children to my dad to be healed. There was the belief that when infants were sick with a fever and diarrhea, among other things, they had something called caída de la mollera. I never knew exactly what la mollera was but my father cured the children of the neighborhood and its vicinities of this illness and the moms trusted him to do so. My father loved children and children loved him.
Father, teacher, friend
He was a father of many, not just his 13 natural children, he also had adopted (not officially,) children that welcomed the idea that he was his father and he liked it too. Many loved him as a father and several of his nieces called him dad, he loved them as if they were really his own daughters. He was a good provider. He supported and loved his children immensely. As a teacher he taught us that life is not easy, but that we should not be afraid of living. He always encouraged us to be better and fight for what we want. He was a good friend you could count on. In his humbleness he offered us many life lessons, which I appreciate infinitely, above all, the idea of constancy . My father was always present for whatever I got myself into. If I behaved badly, he would correct me; if I behaved well he would reward me; if I needed something he was there to provide assistance; if he needed my help he was there to accept my hand. He was always present and his memory will accompany me throughout life, I know it!