Surely not a hive-minded Edith to Lito’s “Archie” even though she constantly wore an apron, Lita was a diminutive lady just an inch south of 5 feet.

Even though in 1960 she was now 48 years old, she was blessed with incredible genes and looked like my mom’s older sister.

The majority of Rosa’s & Camila’s 10 children lived past 90 years of age, with my grandmother crossing the finishing line @ only 2 months shy of 105!

Having conceived my mother at 16 and Yulia “Tia” (my aunt) at 18, 3d born Lita was obviously quite frisky during Costa Rica’s Roaring 20’s.

Her and Lito’s families very strict Roman Catholics, I can only imagine her and her parent’s embarrassment at Lita giving birth at 17…………

Having been teased as “La Negra” (the darkie) by her lighter skinned siblings, Lita was an overly cautious young child, learning at a very early age that she could be trampled on even by those closest to her.

Raising me in her same fear-based pattern, I was always carefully watched and cautioned to not do things that others my same age could do effortlessly and safely.

When my training wheels came off of the new bike that my Mom bought me, she was constantly peeking through the venetian blinds to be sure that I was still alive.

The most talented Chef without a title that I ever met in my over 50 years in the food business, Lita would make the most tasty dishes imaginable.

My grandparents, my Mom, Tappy and myself were all carnivores.

We had a rotating meat regimen ~ chicken & noodle soup on Sundays at her house after Mass accompanied by heavenly piping-hot buttered white corn nixtamal tortillas.

And then it was steaks, lamb chops, hamburgers, pork chops, chicken fricassee, spaghetti & meatballs and of course fish on Fridays ~ as all good Catholics observed.

I chose to stay outdoors not being able to handle the stink of fried oily fish.

Just like Lito became my 2nd father, Lita was a real hands-on 2nd mother.

Also a very “busy bee”, and with my mom working full-time, she now ran 2 households.

Thank God for Lita that both family homes were across the street from each other and that that well-worn apron hand-stitched in Costa Rica was her proud fashion statement.


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