Lourdes Bennett


Lourdes Bennett






Pearl Puzak


Lourdes Bennett

OHMS Object Text

5.4 Lourdes Bennett Latino Lorain Fall 2020 Oberlin College Library Lourdes Bennett Pearl Puzak 0 https://youtu.be/HiFHYxy6hNc YouTube video 0 Lede Hi, my name is Pearl Puzak and I'm with Lourdes Bennett for the Latino Lorain Oral History Project. Thank you for being with me. Today is Saturday November 14, 2020. Pearl gives an introduction to contextualize the oral history. latino lorain ; lede ; oral history 24 Childhood and Growing up in South Lorain Pearl: &quot ; Would you be able to tell me about what your life was like growing up in Lorain?&quot ; Lourdes: &quot ; Where do I begin? It was for me, I'm lucky number 13 out of 14 siblings, so things were a little different for be from when my parents came. I loved South Lorain, I love the diversity of it. We had all our friends, we played, it's nothing like it is now. We had friends from school and church. It was a great childhood, not perfect, but a good upbringing&quot ; family ; siblings ; South Lorain ; upbringing 245 The Steel Mill Pearl: &quot ; You mentioned that your father worked at the steel mill. Could you contextual the steel mill, Puerto Rican immigrants, and your own family's story?&quot ; Lourdes: &quot ; Absolutely. My dad was having a hard time finding a job in Puerto Rico. Before he came here, he was selling oranges. He heard through the grapevine that there were jobs in the USA. He and his brother - they were the youngest - were hesitant to tell my abuelo that they wanted to come to the US, but when they finally did, he saw that both of them weren't able to find jobs.&quot ; Lourdes speaks about how her dad and uncle came to move to the USA from Puerto Rico and eventually to Lorain. They moved to New Jersey first, went back to Puerto Rico, and eventually landed in Lorain in 1950. Her dad was also married in 1950, and permanently moved in 1952. They didn't want to live in a boarding house with other steel mill workers, so they lived in an apartment and eventually a house as the family expanded. Lourdes uses the word 'sacrifice' to think about the price of a better life. boarding house ; childhood ; family ; immigrant ; Lorain ; Puerto Rico ; sacrifice ; steel mill 786 Family in Puerto Rico Pearl: &quot ; Is your family still in contact with anyone in Puerto Rico?&quot ; Lourdes: &quot ; Yes, a lot of our uncles and aunts are gone. I think my mom still has one sister still alive. My mom passed with she was 94, but their kids - we do stay in touch. There are certain members that we are more in contact with than others&quot ; Lourdes speaks about her family that is still in Puerto Rico, and the extent to which they're still in contact. She speaks about current events that effect travels, such as hurricanes and the Puerto Rican economy. Lourdes also discusses the difficulties of having aging family that are overseas. cousin ; economy ; family ; hurricane ; Puerto Rico 987 Schooling and Childhood Memories Pearl: &quot ; Do you have any memories that exemplify what it was like growing up in Lorain?&quot ; Lourdes: &quot ; A lot of great memories. School - I went to Lowell elementary, Whittier Junior High and Southview High School. None of those are still there, they've all been demolished over the last few years. I had great teachers, and the diversity of Lorain was amazing. I don't know why, but I recall having students in my classes who's names were just so different from my. It was a Greek name - there were all different types of nationalities. We all learned, we all struggled, especially those of us that had a hard time in school but I didn't feel any bad thoughts as far as there are now in terms of school.&quot ; Lourdes discusses her schooling and the diversity of her schools. She also discusses the cohesive atmosphere of South Lorain, the house she grew up in, and spending time with her siblings as a child. diversity ; family ; house ; Lorain ; school 1306 Relationships with Siblings Pearl: &quot ; Growing up in family of 14 siblings, do you want to speak about how you relationships have changed with your siblings from childhood to now, especially as they've gotten married and had kids?&quot ; Lourdes:&quot ; Sure, well it's funny because the younger ones - that's who I was closest to. My brother and I would make fun of my older sister because she was valedictorian, and here my brother and I came, we were way different. There were those expectation, kind of thing. We were more like pests to the older ones, growing up. But now, it's different. With the pandemic, we decided that we'd have weekly zoom calls with the siblings. The majority of the time it's the eight sisters that are on.&quot ; Lourdes speaks on her relationships with her siblings and how they've changed over time. Some siblings have moved away from Lorain. Lourdes was closer to the siblings her age as a kid, but have grown closer with the older ones as time has gone on. She also references divided political opinions in 2020, but emphasizes the importance of putting differences aside and loving her family. brother ; family ; Lorain ; siblings ; sister 1826 Professional Life Pearl: You went to school in Lorain all through high school, what happened when you graduated high school? Lourdes: I graduated high school and shortly after that, I got pregnant. So I worked. I have a 33 year old son, and a 22 year old son. Pretty much worked right after that, took classes here and there, we had to work at that point. Did a little bit of nonprofit work, then went into the legal field. I worked as an administrative assistant, executive assistant for a while, then went over to office assistant. I lived in Lorain my whole life, but I worked in Cleveland. Commuting back and forth&quot ; Lourdes speaks about her professional life and its progression. She began working as an administrative assistant in nonprofits and law firms in Cleveland before finding work at El Centro a few years ago. Lourdes always has known about El Centro, as she grew up nearby. She speaks about the meaning in doing work in her community. Cleveland ; community ; El Centro ; Latino ; Lorain ; nonprofit ; work 2337 El Centro and Collaboration Pearl: &quot ; In addition to El Centro, do you have any other institutions that you think have been really crucial to Lorain and have effected your life or the people's lives around you?&quot ; Lourdes: [hard to hear] &quot ; ... organizations or corporations that partner with El Centro. There's a lot of organizations, and that's one great thing about El Centro and Victor, he loves to partner. Why recreate the wheel if United Ways is already doing something similar and we can replicate that.&quot ; Lourdes speaks about other social services organizations that work with El Centro in Lorain, and praises Victor Leandry (director of El Centro) for his collaborative approach. collaboration ; El Centro ; Lorain ; nonprofit ; organization ; partnership 2517 Community in Lorain and the Future Pearl: &quot ; What do you think of when you think of your community in Lorain? Could you characterize that? Lourdes: &quot ; Resilient, probably when I was younger it was.. I'd use the word family. For the last few years, South Lorain is resilient, hopeful. Knowing what Lorain was at the high of the steel mill, the 50s and 60s, just knowing the history of it.. hopefully one day we'll get back to that, but I think it will be a different type of community. Seeing the collaboration with different councilmen and whatnot, they're trying to think out of the box.&quot ; Lourdes thinks about her the resiliency and hope she sees in her community to the future, and seeing how Lorain will develop. She talks about political collaboration and the advantages of having a lakefront for technology while reflecting on Lorain's past. community ; downtown ; history ; hope ; lake ; Latino Lorain ; Lorain ; Lorain Historical Society ; resilient ; steel mill ; technology 3168 Lorain's Community Pearl: &quot ; Can I ask you what your proudest moment of living in Lorain has been?&quot ; Lourdes: &quot ; I would say, being a member of the International City - but also looking back at the community and the people, and how we all came together when needed for various reason. It seems like we're still doing that. Again, there's been some rough times but being part of the International City and a community that comes together when needed - well when needed, not needed, but especially when needed. We have such a diverse community, and it's awesome to see that diversity coming together. Lourdes speaks about how the Lorain comes together as a community, and how unique it is due to the city's diversity. She discusses the strengths and weaknesses of Lorain's community over her lifetime. community ; diversity ; help ; International City ; Lorain ; resiliency ; sacrifice ; strength 3532 Lorain and COVID 19 Pearl: &quot ; I'm interested to hear how being in a pandemic and social distancing has impacted Lorain's cohesive community. Do you see the effects of the pandemic and how are people adapting? Lourdes: &quot ; We have. In terms of the numbers, Latinos in Lorain County, the numbers are a lot higher than others. We're doing great at work, at school, wearing a mask at the stores, but when it's Sunday afternoon and you go to your abuela's house, your aunt, your guard comes down, that's where a lot of the numbers are rising. I'm sure they're all asymptomatic and don't know it. In our culture, we hug and kiss every person who walks through the door. In my family, we do the fist bump or the elbow bump. It's weird, it's wrong, but we know we have to.&quot ; Lourdes talks about how Lorain is navigating the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, and how her family is adjusting. She also speaks about the effects on El Centro programming. community ; coronavirus ; COVID 19 ; Latino ; Lorain ; Lorain County ; pandemic 4077 Lorain's Importance to Lourdes' Family Pearl: &quot ; It seems like Lorain has a very important history to you and your family, and I guess I'm wondering what makes it home? How do you see that developing in the future?&quot ; Lourdes: &quot ; Lorain definitely has a special place in my heart and my family's. There would be times when, what if Mami and Papi went to Chicago? What if.. whatever. They came to Lorain, and Lorain will always have a special place in our hearts. Whenever we see an article with Lorain, OH in it, my siblings will text it to us. My niece is in school in Colorado, and she was reading a book that mentioned Lorain, OH, so she took a picture of it and sent it. So even my nieces and nephews, they know how special Lorain is to us and will always be, because it formed us into who we are today, with my mom and dad, and their sacrifices. They came to Lorain to do it, and thank goodness that others came and they were able to relate to those people and have those other people to help out.&quot ; Lourdes speaks about why Lorain is important to her family and how she feels it has formed her family. Her nieces and nephews who don't live in Lorain still know the importance of the city to the family. community ; family ; home ; Lorain ; special place 4347 The Importance of Lorain's History Pearl: &quot ; Is there anything we haven't spoken about that you'd like to add?&quot ; Lourdes: &quot ; This is for the Latino Lorain History Project. Lorain - just thinking of the families that came for the hobs, we know a lot of them, my parents knew a lot of them, and we know the sacrifices that our mom and dad went through to come here, not knowing the language. There were probably some days they regretted it, but I think that kind of helped my mom and dad, knowing they were not alone. There were hundreds of other Puerto Ricans and Mexicans that came here, and it's a part of history from the late 40s to today that no other city can say what we did, they didn't do that. It's important that we capture that, it's important that the steel mill was a big part of Lorain and will always be a big part of Lorain for many families, for many generations. They wouldn't have come to Lorain without that steel mill, without Ford. Lorain is special, it's not perfect, just like any community. but all the sacrifices that were made, to see where the familes are now, and to see the hard work their parents did, it brings joy to my heart to see that and to see a lot of them still here in Lorain, trying to get it to another special place that it will one day become.&quot ; Lourdes speaks about the importance of capturing Lorain's history and unique story through the Latino Lorain Oral History Project. She finds joy in the close community of immigrants, and how many are still in Lorain. Lastly, Lourdes looks to the future of Lorain and is excited to see what it will become in the hands of a caring community. community ; family ; hard work ; history ; Latino Lorain History Project ; Lorain ; Puerto Rican ; sacrifice ; steel mill Lourdes Bennett's oral history narration for the Latino Lorain Oral History Project. video 0 https://oberlincollegelibrary.org/ohms-viewer/render.php?cachefile=LL_Bennett_Lourdes.xml LL_Bennett_Lourdes.xml

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“Lourdes Bennett,” Latino Lorain , accessed September 21, 2023, https://latinolorain.oberlincollegelibrary.org/items/show/41.