As a child, I always heard about how large my Lopez family was in the city of Pasadena, California. My mom’s best friend Bob, who was like an uncle to me, always said, “Michael, if you took the Lopez family and the Robledo Family and put them together, they would fill the Rose Bowl.” That always stuck with me. I always knew I had a much bigger family than the family I had on my mom’s side.
I remember as a child Summit Street in Pasadena, California. I remember going there to visit my Grandma Cuca. I vaguely remember my Grandpa Jesus. Both my great grandparents were born in the early 1900s. My grandfather Tony Lopez, Sr. passed away at the young age of 45. I think I have one photo with him as a child.
Me and my dad, Gilbert Lopez, did not have much of a relationship as I grew up. I tried my best as I got older to have a relationship with him but I think he was too set into his ways. He passed away in February of 2015. I was in the room with him. Just me and him in his living room. I wish I would have had a better relationship with him. I wish I could have met more of my family.
My Great Grandparents, Jesus, and Cuca Lopez had 10 children. I never met any of my grandfather’s siblings that I could remember. A few months ago I was on Facebook and scrolling through my timeline when I saw a photo of my Great Grandparents in front of their home in Pasadena, California. The photo was posted in a private Facebook group called “Descendants of Jesus and Maria del Refujio Lopez” and it got me curious about my Lopez side of the family. I met a cousin named Vera in this group. She sent me a message about her Grandmother who was the sister of my grandfather Tony Lopez, Sr. She told me her grandmother, who is still alive at the age of 94, was still full of life and would love to meet me.
So, after a few attempts over the summer and a couple of reschedules, we finally made it happen. I drove down to Pasadena today and I got to meet my Great Aunt, Belia (Lopez)Gonzales. I also got to meet my cousin Mondo for the first time. My cousin Vera Gonzales was also there and it was so nice meeting her.
I learned a lot about my Lopez family. It was great connecting the dots to who I am. Without my Great Grandparents, there is no me. It was a beautiful day and I feel like a part of my life story has a few more pages.