“My saddest memory was when my dad passed away fifty years ago; that changed my life. It’s because my dad was always positive, and had a good attitude. When he was sick for five months, in his last moment, he said that he did not want to see anyone cry. In the moments that he lived, he always had a good attitude. When my dad passed away, my focus of my life was to help my three children. I held in my feelings and just focused on my children. I am fine right now; I am happy with my mom. The happiest moment in my life was Christmas with my family, because my dad was funny and made jokes for everybody; it was a good time.”

“A fun thing about me is that I love to go to the ocean. My husband and I like to go travelling to all the national parks and see the ocean. I feel peaceful when I see the ocean. When I see the ocean, I see God. I don’t know why I still feel peace, when there are hard waters and noise. It is like the opposite; I am at peace, even when there is hard waters and noise at the ocean. I like the ocean more than being here. When I retire, or my children get married, or something, I’d like to live close to the ocean.”

-Maria Padilla, Custodian for Mariposa & Tuolumne

Would you like to share your story with The Prodigy? Contact us at theprodigy@ucmerced.edu!

Photo Credit: Maricruz Solano.

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