Chicano Movement & History of my Grandmother
This is my outline on the life of my Grandmother. Growing up in the Cucamonga barrio through the 1900’s.While living two miles away, going into the year 2000? And how I am here today?
Soledad “Sally” Trancosa Chagolla or “Chole” (as everybody in the barrio knew her) 1919-Now
Sally’s father was Arnufo Trancosa, and her mother was Juana Ramirez Trancosa. They lived a hard life in Mexico. Arnufo grew beans for a living to support his wife and one child, with another child on the way. Living in Mexico was also not so easy, with all the Mexican soldiers around coming to take their beans, and goods. The Trancosa’s were smart. They would bag all their beans and goods, and tie them up in the tree when the soldiers came around. The soldiers would never look up there my grandmother said! The Trancosas were tired of always having to do this every time the soldiers came around. They heard of the United States and how there were so many jobs over there in the U.S. and the pay was good. Arnufo packed up the family and all their goods and came to the United States through the New Mexico border. From New Mexico, they heard about Los Angeles. It was the best place to look for a job and to raise a family. So there the Trancosas went.
Sally said her parents came from New Mexico on the Santa Fe railroad. On their way to Los Angeles, they made a stop at a train depot, and this would later be known as “El barrio de el dipo”. This was in a town called Cucamonga. I think the Trancosas liked this area, but they wanted to keep going, “West” to Los Angeles.
The Trancosas got to Los Angeles, with three kids now and Juana ready to give birth to another. They named the fourth little girl Soledad Ramirez Trancosa she was born on June 17th 1919. She was then baptized at the church on Olvera Street. It was called “La Placita”. At this time it was hard for Arnufo to find work in Los Angeles, as there were not many fields that a Mexican immigrant could work in the city. There was just to many people, so it was hard to support the family. After about a year, they all decided to go back “East” somewhere. They were reminded of the town of Cucamonga, and all the fields (grapevines) that Arnufo could work in to support his growing family.
When they got to Cucamonga, Arnulfo bought 2 lots, right next to each other. Back then the streets did not have any names. The lot that Trancosas bought is currently on 26th Street, between Hermosa and Center Street (next to the wash). He had started working in the fields, but later got a job as a meter reader with the VanFleets, while Juana watched the children. They started their own little ranch, with a cow, chickens, and goats.
In the 1920’s Sally remembers there were few cars back then, so everybody rode around in horse carriages, to get around Cucamonga. Later on the Trancosas would buy their first car it was a Ford Model-T.
Sally went to grammar school, she couldn’t remember the name, but currently it is a Vietnamese church on Archibald Ave., below Eighth Street on the West side in Rancho Cucamonga. Sally started working when she was 13 years old, for the VanFleets. The men of the VanFleet family worked for the water district with her father Arnufo, while the women of the family were teachers. Sally’s teachers would excuse her from school to watch their children. After the VanFleet family, she worked for the Santo Lucito family, who owned a little Italian store on Turner (Hermosa) and Arrow, in Rancho Cucamonga. She was paid to watch their children and do housekeeping.
She also worked for Sheriff Larsen, who lived on Archibald right below Baseline, in Rancho Cucamonga. During the 1920’s, the Sheriff was shot and killed on September 10th (Mexican Independence Day), when he tried to break up a fight in the barrio. A boy who had just came from Mexico, pulled out a pistol and shot and killed him.
Sally then worked for the Chapel family who owned a dairy that was on 6th Street, between Grove Ave and Baker (Which is still and empty field). Then she was paid one dollar a day, and worked from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at night.
The Great Depression was a hard time for the Trancosa family. Sally remembers her father, Arnufo buying 100 lb. bags of sugar, brown sugar and flour. He would also make his own wine (Cucamonga was and still is known for its vineyards and wine). He would sell all this stuff to the other families in the neighborhood. Sally said, being ten years old in 1929, she had little care about the world, and the depression. It was always fun, especially when you had a lot of brothers and sisters to play with at home, and in the grapevines.
When she went to Chaffey High School, (which is still there) in Ontario. Sally said the White and Mexican relationship was good back then. The only problems that the Mexicans or Chicanos had was with the braceros. The problem from these braceros was not because they came and took more and more jobs from them, but because it reminded them of the “Other side”, south of the border (Mexico). She remembers there were not any African-Americans at Chaffey, back then. She said, “everybody use to get along with each other”.
In 1936, when Sally was still going to Chaffey high School, she married a young Man. His name was Antonio Lona Chagolla, and lived on the corner of Haven and Eighth Street.(Which would be later be my Uncle Pauls house. Next to the Padilla family that I played Pop Warner with in 1988.) She met him when he would walk in front of her house, just to say “hi”. They got to know each other for a while and were married, at Our Lady Mt. Carmel church on Turner (Hermosa) and Eighth St., still in Rancho Cucamonga.
In 1958, The Chagollas moved out and in to a new track of homes. They were the first family to move/rent in these, new track of homes, on 6th street and Hellman Ave. After a year, my grandparents moved out because the owner was going through financial difficulties. The Chagollas then went looking for a new home and found one at 1717 E. Yale Street on Corona Ave, in Ontario.
Now in 1997, Sally has been living there for 38 years, and has seen Cucamonga and the Inland Empire grow to what it is today. She is now a widow, still happy, healthy and loving, enjoying life as it comes. Now with 5 children (They still reside in the Inland Empire. One being my Mother Julie Escobedo, which lives in Rancho Cucamonga), 14 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren. My Grandmother is what I think still keeps us together!
The last 3 weeks were hard. He was going downhill very fast. He past away a day after my 28th
His ashes will be spread across
My grandmother passed away
I wrote this when I was attending