The white peonies flower was my mother’s favorite flower, but I will get to that later.
Rose Fresques Dinelli was born on August 30, 1921 and she passed away on September 6, 1997 at the age of 76 after a five-year battle with breast cancer. Rose Fresques Dinelli left a legacy of love, family, character, compassion for others, and true courage in the face of adversity, struggles and even death. This is a son’s tribute to her.
On August 30, 1921 Rose Fresques was born in Chacon, New Mexico, and raised with 4 sisters and 3 brothers. Spanish was their first language. The family was “dirt poor” with the father Max Fresques being a “carpenter” by trade and a field laborer when he needed to support his family. When the depression hit, Rose remembered that her family would say “What depression, we’re already poor!”
During World War II, Rose saw her older brothers Fred and Alex Fresques go off to war and where they both saw action. During the war, Rose took off to California and worked on an airplane assembly line to help build US war planes. She worked as a “riveter” on the planed assembly line and she said she would laugh when people called her “Rosie the Riveter”.
“Harvey Girl’s” were trained at the Alvarado with dormitory facilities provided to young woman in need of work. A very young Rose Fresques Dinelli lived in the dormitory and was trained to be a Harvey Girl. Many years later, she would meet Paul Dinelli at the Alvarado Hotel. Rose and Paul were married and had 4 children, Vernon, Gail, Pete and Pauline. Paul went to a barber school in Denver, Colorado and returned to Albuquerque and built and opened a barber shop on 3rd Street north of Lomas in Albuquerque.
Rose returned to work as a waitress after Paul became seriously ill from a World War II service-connected disability. Rose was forced to close the barbershop in order to return to work. Rose initially supported the family of 5 on the minimum wage. Paul and Rose were married for 27 years before Paul passed. She never remarried. Rose Dinelli was a waitress for some 30+ years before she passed away on September 6, 1997 at age 76. Rose Dinelli passed away in the very same Mossman-Gladden home she had purchased with her husband Paul around 1962.
My mother Rose Fresques Dinelli supported a family of 5 and was able to kept us together when my dad became 100% disabled from a WWII service-connected disability when I was around 12. Mother returned to work as a waitress working for minimum wage and tips to support the family. For a number of years, she had to work “split shits” from 11:00 am to 2 pm to work lunches and then working from 5:00 pm to 12:00 pm to work dinner hours.
My mother loved being a waitress for over 39+ years. Mother loved people and the restaurant industry! She was one of the most independent, hardworking, determined people I have ever known. Her family was everything to her. Sure, there was love, but just as important there was immeasurable respect for someone who sacrificed so much for her family. 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.
Mother worked at some of the best places in Albuquerque, including the Four Hills Country Club Restaurant, the Sundowner on Central West of San Pedro, Diamond Jim’s Restaurant in Winrock, the 4 Seasons Crystal Room located in the 4 Season Hotel. The last restaurant she worked at was Maria Teressa restaurant north of Old Town on Rio Grande. She helped open and then close Maria Teressa after working there for so many years. She often told me the restaurant business was one of the few places to work where you would always see people at their very best behavior and their very worst behavior in the manner of a few hours. She also said that a measure of a person is reflected on how they treat people who work with them and for them.
It was not until 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 and who she worked with at the restaurants. After she passed, many would approach me and tell me what she meant to them and had done for them. One woman in particular has opened a very successful restaurant in Albuquerque with her husband and she has told me of the many fond memories she had of “Rose”. What I found is that there were many times young, struggling woman would turn to mother for guidance and help who were struggling to make a living, some single moms, needing help handling a crisis in their personal lives and struggles. She treated many as she would her own daughters and looked out for them.
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. She knew I did not understand. She then told me she knew my mother simply as Rose. They had become friends when she was a bank teller at First National Bank. 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.
The white peonies flower is my mother’s favorite flower of all time. The peonies has the sweet smell of a rose when it blooms only once a year. My mother had a very large group of peonies “bulbs” in her back yard she catered to for years at the very house where we grew up. In late October, 1997 after she passed, I remember one very rainy, muddy and cold night going to her home and digging up the cluster of bulbs. I took the cluster of bulbs and ball of dirt transplanting the bulbs in the front of our home. I had serious doubt the plants would live. To our delight, my mother’s flowers survived the winter transplant, grew and on Mother’s Day, May 12, 1998, the white peonies were in full bloom as they have done each year around Mother’s Day!
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 over the years.
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY ONE AND ALL! GIVE YOUR MOMS A BIG HUG AND A KISS!