Monday, July 21, 2014


While working at Rockwell in Columbus in the 1980s, I noticed that there were a large number of Mexican restaurants in the area. There were numerous Hispanic workers in my departments and I learned that there was a sizable population of Hispanics in the area. George, one of my Team Leaders, was Hispanic and he and I talked a great deal. I learned that his family had lived in the area since the 1950s because his grandparents were braceros who had settled there. I attended the quinceanera when George's daughter celebrated her fifteenth birthday. As it happened, none of George's team members were Hispanic but any time I needed a translator in other areas I would call for George to help.

It was my habit to leave flyers, discounts, menus, coupons, and other items of interest on the break tables of the employees. During garden season I would leave extra produce from our garden.

My mother loved Mexican food and I told her that we were going to try out all the Mexican restaurants during February and although we usually had a "birthday week" with her choosing her favorite meals for a week, I thought a whole week of Mexican food would be a little much. She asked, "Why? Don't Mexicans eat the same food all week?" That's a valid point.

Because of patronizing Mexican restaurants for Mother's birthday week, I had a bunch of stuff from the restaurants to distribute. One day as I was leaving the items from the Mexican restaurants on the table, George was there at the table with his crew.

One of George's team members commented that I must really like Mexican food. I told them about my mother and I said, "I can't believe all of the Mexican restaurants in this area." George chuckled and said, "Well, after all, Sue, Reynoldsburg IS the birthplace of the tomato." I laughed but nobody else did. One of the team members asked, "I didn't get it; what was funny about that?"

George said, "If I have to explain it, then it wasn't THAT funny." However, George did explain the connection of tomato-picking braceros, and the prevalence of Mexican restaurants in the area.

Over the years I have attended the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival several times and I have been pleased to see the number of Hispanic girls as royalty which was not the case in the 1980s.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have you had your first REAL tomato, oh, lustful one? ML