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South Texas Living

After 5 years, readers share their memories

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Julia Castro
Apple Pie and Salsa
April 3, 2013 | 2,756 views | 2 comments

It’s hard to believe that March 12 was the fifth anniversary of my very first column in the Wilson County News. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience. I would like to share with you some of the responses I have received. While my story may not be old enough to fall in the reminiscing category, the stories that my readers have shared with me go way back. I have triggered memories and made people look back at the past and that was my intention. One of my biggest fans has been my nephew, Rudy. After a few of my articles, he was motivated to write his own memoirs. He has been a big contributor to the Reminiscing page.

Olga, from Saspamco, was one of the first ones to call me. She says she remembers her mom buying the crystal wedding Oats also and the dishes that came in the boxes.

Maggie, a teacher at Sacred Heart School, sent me a note after I wrote about my one and only machine permanent. She had one also and said that she “was a sight”!

M.C. from Austin wrote to me after reading of Henry riding his horse to Sacred Heart School. It reminded her of the short time she attended school there.

There is Rachel from California, a childhood friend, who sent me a baby doll dressed in pink with eyes that open and close, not because it reminded her of her childhood, but because she wanted to fulfill my childhood wish of having a doll like that. Her sister-in-law, Janie, from Arizona called to thank me for writing of her dad’s passing when she was very young. She said she cried for an hour after reading it. I apologized for making her cry, but she said she was grateful to me for stirring up that painful time in her life. The crying was a healing for her and gave her closure.

There was Helen from Adkins, who contacted me through the Wilson County News to tell me she enjoyed the story about bedbugs. She said everybody had them back then but nobody would admit it.

Dr. Chavez enjoyed the story of himself and the turpentine remedy. He says it’s the first thing that comes to his mind every time he sees me.

And Rosemarie, also of Adkins, who sent me a snapshot of Henry and Reynaldo when they were little, with Mila and Dora, who would later become her sister-in-law, and another friend, Josephine, standing in a watermelon patch. This was after seeing the photo of Henry on his horse. Rosemarie was Dora’s niece and her mom had the photo.

There was Berta Jean from Seguin, who sent me a beautiful flower arrangement in appreciation for writing so many nice things about her dad, Dr. John V. Blake Jr.

And Susan from Missouri, who called the Wilson County News and left her phone number so I could call her. I did and we talked for a long time. She told me that my story about the Warren sisters had made its way through several states because she had sent copies to her children. Her grandmother was Anna Warren Johnson. She said she had happy memories of visiting relatives in Floresville in the summers of her youth.

Then there was my friend Connie from Cameron, Texas. We reconnected when I started my column. We had sort of lost touch with each other since she moved over 25 years ago. Now she says it’s like I drop in for a visit every two weeks.

And my friend, Anne-Marie, emailed me after my story about the Christmas trees. I have to share her story with you. Anne-Marie says, “Thank you for stirring up my own Christmas tree memories. When we were little, my dad would take all of us, myself and seven siblings, to the gas station down the street from us to pick out our own tree on Christmas Eve. The church that we belonged to always bought the 12-foot trees there and there was always one or two left over that the Holy Rosary Church did not purchase. My dad would pay the man fifty cents and all of us would carry the big 12-foot tree home to decorate. After midnight Mass, the two oldest children would stay up late to hang the tinsel strands one by one. What a sight to see the tree on Christmas morning all decorated and sparkly. Thanks for triggering my Christmas tree memories.”

There is Angie from Poth. She approached me at the meat market and called me by my name. I thought, “Oh my gosh! I guess I’m supposed to know her by name, but I don’t remember her.” It turned out that she knew me from the picture on my column. She told me she especially likes the stories of Henry on the farm because she remembers spending time with her grandparents on their farm.

And Mrs. Talley called me to thank me for the article I wrote about my sister-in-law, Alice. She and her late husband were very good friends of Alice and Joe. Our cousin Margie also sent an email about my recollection of Alice.

And there’s Rosie from Caddo (her address is Stockdale). She sent me a thank- you card back in September through the Wilson County News for the article I wrote about Henry and how he used to can chilipitins. She said it brought back memories of her dad doing the same thing. I wrote her and gave her my phone number. But she has never called me or given me her phone number. She loves to write and receive letters and we have been exchanging letters every week since then. When she wrote me and told me that her mother’s maiden name was Castro, I wanted to know more. She told me her mom was born in Cameron and she had been wanting to get a copy of her birth certificate and also her baptismal certificate. I called Connie, enjoyed a long chat with her, and asked her if she could get a couple of phone numbers for me and she did. I passed them on to Rosie. The Lord works in mysterious ways. I’m glad I could help my new friend Rosie. I have yet to meet her in person, yet she sent me two veils when she read that I had started wearing veils again. And she sent Henry some chiles from her husband Jimmy. They’re trying to find chiles that Henry can consider hot enough.

And there’s Raquel, who did my hair courtesy of my daughters Sara and Dee Dee for our small wedding anniversary celebration. When Raquel found out that I write a column, she bought a two-year subscription to the paper. And my latest fan is Betsybug (her email moniker) from San Antonio. She read about our anniversary and my wine-drinking days and emailed me that she hoped I would write more stories and she would like to hear stories about the kids. She was surprised when I told her I had been writing for five years. She has been a subscriber for quite a while but just now discovered my column.

And I am not forgetting the countless number of people, friends, and acquaintances that tell me in person how much they enjoy Apple Pie and Salsa. There’s Betty from Pleasanton who wrote to the editor and started out by saying she especially enjoyed Apple Pie and Salsa.

I realize I have made some boo-boos in my articles, and I welcome comments whenever that happens. Like Toni from Fairview who politely informed me that peanuts are still grown around here by her son. And Manuel, who I talked to on the phone after he claimed to be one of the players in the photo of the softball team, which Henry sponsored years ago. I have talked to others and have not been able to confirm it. In the future if I make mistakes I will gladly correct them if possible. To you, my readers, I thank you for your encouragement and loyalty.

My 13-year-old granddaughter, Lori, wrote an essay about me recently for a school assignment. She wrote that my stories inspired her to start making up and writing stories of her own. The truth is she is very creative and has a big imagination so most of her stories are fiction. I only write true stories from memory. She has probably been writing longer than I have. I was very humbled by all the good things she wrote about me.

And, a big thank you to Elaine and Kristen for having faith in me right from the start. And to the members of the staff at WCN who have helped me with my primitive ways to get my column together.

And of course I am grateful to my family for allowing me to write about them. They never know who I am going to write about next.

I am very blessed!

Julia Castro, a retired Head Start teacher and mother of 10, lives in Floresville with her husband, Henry. Her email is

Your Opinions and Comments

Elaine K.  
April 3, 2013 1:53pm
Yes, indeed. The Lord works in mysterious ways ... We LOVED the idea of APPLE PIE AND SALSA from the moment Julia proposed it to us. Her columns, along with Lois Wauson's "Rainy Days" provide a "blast from ... More ›

Lia C Flores  
Floresville, TX  
April 3, 2013 12:30pm
Thank you, Mom, for putting all of your stories in writing so that we may be able to share them with our own kids. I, too, am inspired by your amazing talent to tell stories in such a creative way. We are so proud of you and ... More ›

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