Two different women born in two very different places, Dorothy Fanny and Maria Guadalupe Felix share two different experiences through interviews and share a wealth of memories and rich insight of their ever maturing lives. Their place of birth, education, work, and their personal lives are shared as to giving us a glimpse of their mark in history.
Dorothy Fanny was born on April 29, 1923, to a pair of hardworking middle-class parents named Allen Michael Stern and Sarah Stern. Her name at birth was Dorothy Lee Stern. She was born in a small 3 bedroom house in Watertown, New York. Dorothy currently just turned the longed reached age of 90. Maria Guadalupe Felix was born on September 28, 1928 and has reached the age of 85. Maria was born in a small one bedroom clay house in El Pozo, Sinaloa, Mexico, Her parents where farmers of their own land, in which their names are Manuel Vicente Arias and Margarita Arias.
Dorothy went to school in Watertown and graduated from Watertown High School in 1941. Her school was attended by predominately white Caucasian students. The community of Watertown was a small and everybody knew each other, under which made her childhood experience was a positive one. There was an opportunity for Dorothy to attend a university but she opted to pursue a career as a nurse by joining the Army Nurse Corps. Maria Guadalupe Felix attended a very small elementary school a couple of miles from her home. She could not complete her education for the school did not have sufficient teacher to accommodate the classrooms. The difficulties of maintaining a somewhat large family farm finally took its toll on Maria and decided to stop her education and help the family with farm. While she attended school, the student body composed of many poor Mexican children for the surrounding area. Maria’s childhood community consisted of my farm houses near the Sierra Madre in El Pozo, Sinaloa, so there was not many families around to make a community, making her childhood experience a modest one.
1947 was the year Dorothy Fanny moved to California, she was 24 years old. Her reason to moving to California was the fact that she met a young man named Jack Fanny in New York and convinced her to move to the west coast after the war. It was an immediate shock to her to find out that there are no four seasons in sunny Southern California. She loved the beautiful beaches and the diversity of Orange County. After two years of settling down in California, Dorothy Fanny married Jack Fanny in a small ceremonial wedding in The First Presbyterian Church of Anaheim. Maria Guadalupe Felix immigrated to the United States at age 16 during the spring of 1944, to find work, and in addition to; also following her sister Georgina to California. Maria’s experience traveling to the United States was more of a funny adventure in the beginning. Despite crossing across the border multiple times illegally, she always found herself back in Mexicali and devising other plans to get in without having to cross through the desert. Maria and her sister found permanent residence in 1946, working on in the farm fields of El Monte, California. After years of working in the fields and saving enough money to move to Orange County to find a more suitable kind of work.
Dorothy found her calling as a nurse for the Army Nurse Corps during World War Two. Dorothy deployed to England in support for wounded soldiers that were fighting in Europe. After the war, Dorothy made way to New York City and found a dashing and charming man named Jack Fanny in which she followed to California and then married. She found no need to continue working as for she raised three sons of her own. Maria worked for long hours on end for money that would have been seen back in Mexico. She enjoyed being independent with her sister, but the backbreaking work in the fields finally gave a toll on her stamina and decided to move to Orange County from El Monte. Maria and her sister rented a room with other people from Mexico that came for the same reason. Maria found work in Furniture shop and worked there for 10 years. She met her husband Juan Felix, an immigrant also working as a butcher for a small Mexican grocery market. After the furniture store, she decided to get married to Juan in 1953 at the age of 25 and raised six children.
Dorothy was always brought up to be a good Christian, even from a young age she volunteered to read passages from the bible in her church in Watertown. Her family believed in the modern arts of science to treat illness and injuries. She always believed that anything else was just the devil’s work. Maria in the other hand was a devoted Catholic, in which; she believed in the Virgin Mary. Her journey to the United States was frightening at first for which a handmade Rose Mary from her farm was her only sense of security. A doctor’s visit consisted of her mom diagnosing her symptoms and giving her the good old remedies of the day, Savila being one of the main prescriptions. Hard-work and a good prayer was also essential to getting healthy from an ill-ness, no doctors were ever present in this poor region.
During Dorothy’s leisure, traveling was her favorite pass time. She saved up enough money to buy herself a camera to take pictures of her work and travels. Dorothy enjoyed the frowned upon Swing music. Being brought up as a Christian, Swing music was badly seen as the devil’s rhythm music. Nevertheless Dorothy growing and maturing felt the need to express herself through the modern enjoyment of the days. She enjoys Classical music with which she despises today’s punk rock an hip-hop that thunders through her neighborhood each day. Maria grew up playing with anything entertain-able. She enjoyed dancing and listening to the beautiful music of Charro from which she grew up with. While in the United States she enjoyed the beaches and piers of Huntington and Long Beach. As she grew older loved to throw parties in the weekend and celebrate with great enjoyment all the Mexican holidays.
Dorothy made great with her ability to raise three of her sons. Jack, David, and Tim where their names and they grew up to be now very successful men. Jack Fanny, Dorothy’s husband, was a successful architect that build most of the house in her current neighborhood in Santa Ana. Dorothy was a very independent women and believed to be free as she grew older. She was very “naughty” when it came with the boys back when she was a single nurse. Maria Guadalupe Felix was more conservative, she was cautious about the men she talked to when she arrived in the U.S. Although very flirtatious and teasing men with her charisma, she always found many men that wanted to be with her but she saw it in her best interest to stay single and wait for that right man. Maria found Juan while shopping for some poultry for dinner. They had an immediate connection that made her melt for him. They got married and had six children together. Christian, Alberto, Carmen, Rene, Maria, Concenze Felix were the name of Maria Guadalupe Felix. The hardships of raising the six children became a relief when her children grew up and made the most of their education and work.
Dorothy enjoyed the many freedoms throughout her life, but she advocates against abortion. She despises the killing of an unborn fetus and she says it’s not a women’s right to choose life or death but God’s will. One other issue was that women’s career advancement has gone far but expresses that women’s ability to change today’s economic situation by taking the thresh hold of many patriarch CEO positions. Maria’s belief in a women’s Hispanic heritage can affect her as for she is not being taken seriously enough. Even though equality has made great strides throughout her lifetime she feels pay is another issue with women.
Both women, Dorothy Fanny and Maria Guadalupe Felix have made a small contribution to history by letting their experiences of their long fruit-full lives be told. By letting us know what has changed throughout the years and the inequality that women still go through today, we can examine and compare the lives of these women and the lives of different women later in the future.