Grapes of Wrath: Paulina Cabrera’s 1968 Summer

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My aunt Paulina Cabrera and her mother Maria Dolores flirtingly pose and proudly display a bunch of green grapes. Its 1968, and Paulina has just turned fifteen. She wears a yellow skirt, which she made two weeks before this photo was taken. Maria, known to her family and friends as Lola, is also wearing a special outfit. Both took the photo to commemorate their first day in California and their migration from Tepatitlan de Morelos, Jalisco to Firebaugh, California. Tonia, Paulina’s cousin, took the picture. “Sonrie!” she shouted, as she took a snapshot of the beginning of a mother and daughters’ first summer picking grapes.

Paulina was born in 1953 and was the third youngest of ten children. She turned fifteen just two weeks before departing for the United States. Miguel, her older brother and my father, threw her a big party. For Catholics and Hispanics a quinceñera is a…

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