Friday, September 25, 2009

Leti lights up the morning

Her name is Leticia, but anyone with that name in Mexico quickly becomes Leti.

She's one of the many people who make the rounds at the local park. Her eyes are so warm that they light up the morning. She's not the only visitor in search of recyclables. You'd be amazed at the number of hard-working and dedicated residents who count on bottles and cans to round out whatever income they need to keep kids dressed and in school and to pay the rent an utilities.

Leti has been in the Burbank area for ten years. You might have seen her with long, beautiful hair that cascaded down to her waist. But she had a stroke that apparently triggered a heart attack.

"They had to cut my hair," she said in Spanish, "so they could cut into my head.

"Touch here," she said in English as she parted her hair. I was willing to believe her, but she seemed insistent on having me feel the lump.

People who don't speak Spanish believe that I'm fluent in it. Those who know Spanish instantly know that I'm just a beginner who speaks more quickly than other beginners. The same applies to my piano playing, by the way. I can't fool real musicians.

I tell you this to apologize for any information that I may have gotten wrong this morning when Leti stopped by to meet Mija (my dog -- you can check out the video down further in the blog). What I never knew what how fast Leti speaks in Spanish as well as in the limited English she's learning. She's taking classes at the local adult center and apparently doing very well.

But back to her stroke/heart attack. From what I could pick up, she was pregnant at the time and that complicated things even more. I believe she was paralyzed for a while and couldn't speak.

That's certainly not the case now. She gets up early every morning and walks a little more than a mile to the park. I'm certain she has other stops along the way. Two days a week she cleans houses for two clients.

She spent a couple of minutes describing in English -- backed up in rapid Spanish -- the excellent work she does cleaning houses. I could tell it was a matter of great pride for her.

She told me that she'll clean a complete house for $50, but she hinted that she works a lot harder in the afternoon is the client shares lunch with her. Apparently, one of the clients in the past didn't believe that she should stop to eat.

What fun is it having a friendly, qualified and speedy housekeeper if you can't share lunch with her or him. Besides, that how I brush up on my Spanish.

Leti doesn't have a phone where she lives in Burbank, but her sister, Marisol does. If you should want to meet Leti and experience her high energy and higher enthusiasm, e-mail me at or call me directly.

I'll hook you up.

She'll light up your morning also!
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