A week from now will be the 84th anniversary of the opening of
JOE T. GARCIA’S
It’s no secret food runs through my veins. Growing up in a family business, I was taught that hard work is the only means of success and nacho grease is what keeps things running.
My great-great grandmother Jessie Torres Garcia better known to everyone as Mamasuez arrived in Texas from Michoacan, Mexico around 1914. Her mother died when she was only nine years old forcing her into the role as the keeper of the house. Because of this, she never received any kind of education and yet she started one of the most well-known Fort Worth Landmarks, Joe T. Garcia’s.
After picking cotton in the Texas heat, she would walk home to cook and clean for the family. Lord knows there was no time for peace and quiet or a trip to the spa so Mamaseuz started a garden to ease her mind. She raised fresh fruits, vegetables and an assortment of exotic flowers.
she never focused on success. she simply focused on working hard.
Being a woman in the workforce was vastly different in the twenties from what it is today. Mamasuez worked hard because that was what she knew. She did not speak English, she did not have an education and on top of that she was a woman. Being a Mexican immigrant in the 20’s, you can image the many things that were challenging for her.
Mamasuez was the first one in the kitchen every morning and the last one locking up every single night. Lately, I’ve been thinking about what she must have suffered to make Joe T’s what it is now. I think about all the sacrifices she made for her family-sleepless nights, burns from enchilada gravy, never stopping to take a breath, not speaking English and not having any education. Not only did she work, but she raised five children and helped to raise many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Mamasuez and my Grandfather, Lanny Lancarte, had a very special bond. Her birthday was October 15th and his was October 16th. Every year she celebrated her birthday with my grandson, Lanny. Growing up my Grandfather remembers her getting his breakfast ready every morning before he went to school. She would make him his favorite arroz con leche with extra sugar of course!
once you carry your own water, you will learn the value of every drop.
We wouldn’t be where we are without the solid foundation my great-great grandmother laid out for us. There were easier roads to follow yet Mamasuez took the road less traveled. She was a true example of what it means to be a strong woman. She stood tall in the face of adversity and believed in herself and in her family. I don’t think she realized the legacy she was creating at the time or the example she was setting for an immigrant woman.
I never had the chance to meet her but I like to think that she’s watching over me. My grandfather always tells me that she would have absolutely adored me considering I’m so much like her. Hearing story after story of who she was, Mamaseuz was the kind of woman that I strive to be like. Without even trying, she has taught me the value of hard work. Ever since the first time I heard her name, I knew I wanted to be like her. Someone who stops at nothing to provide for her family and works hard because that’s just what we do. My grandfather, Lanny, put me to work when I was eleven years old. He showed me the ropes as Mamaseuz showed him.