My mother Rose Fresques Dinelli was born in Chacon, New Mexico and passed away in 1997 at the age of 76 after a five-year battle with breast cancer.
My mother supported a family of 5 and kept us together when my dad became 100% disabled from a service connected disability when I was around 12. My mother had to return to work as a waitress working for minimum wage and tips. Years before meeting my dad, she had been trained as a “Harvey Girl” at the Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque where she also met my dad. She loved being a waitress for some 34 years.
My mother loved people! She was one of the most independent, hardworking, determined people I have ever known. I have no doubt she lived the meaning of “woman’s liberation” many years before the term was ever coined. She was part of “America’s Greatest Generation” who lived through the Great Depression and World War II.
My mother came from a family of 7, they were dirt poor, and when the depression hit, she remembered that her family would say “What depression, we’re already poor! “She told me that during the war, she took off to California and worked on an airplane assembly line for US war planes as a “riveter” and she laughed when people called her “Rosie the Riveter”.
She worked at some of the best places in town, including the Four Hills Country Club, the Sundowner, Diamond Jim’s Restaurant, the 4 Seasons Crystal Room not to mention Maria Teressa a restaurant she helped open and the closed after working there for so many years. It was not until many, many, years later when I was an adult and after she had passed that I came to really appreciate how many young woman’s lives she had touched and influenced over the years, many who would approach me and tell me what she had done for them. What I found is that there were many times young, struggling woman would turn to her for guidance and help who were struggling to make a living and needed help handling crisis.
I remember Winrock Shopping Center growing up as a kid. My family lived on San Pedro north of Menaul in a red brick Mossman Gladden home across from Quigley Park. My mother worked as a waitress at Diamond Jim’s Restaurant at Winrock until the day it was closed.
A branch of First National Bank was in the North area outside the mall with a Safeway Grocery store and a Value House Jewelry Store. Many years later, when I was an adult and running for Mayor in 1989, I ran into a teller who retired from the bank and who was working at a retail store. She asked me in an affectionate tone of voice if I was the son of the “ones” lady.
I looked at the woman very puzzled. I did not understand until the she told me she knew my mother Rose. They had become friends when she was a bank teller at First National Bank and she said my mom would deposit her tips daily from her job as a waitress at Diamond Jim’s when she worked “split shifts”, the lunch and dinner shifts. All of her tips were always in one-dollar bills. Bank tellers who did not know my mother by name would call her the “ones” lady.
My mother instilled in me the importance of getting an education, honesty, integrity, hard work, the true meaning of family and the meaning of character and courage in the face of adversity and doing what is right in life. I talk to my mother every day and thank her for what she did for our family and for me.
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY ONE AND ALL! GIVE YOUR MOMS A BIG HUG AND A KISS!