ANGELA ECHEVARRIA-KING-MOSLEY: “MOM” - King Aerospace
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ANGELA ECHEVARRIA-KING-MOSLEY: “MOM”

On August 12, 2017, I had the honor to be present with my family at Gethsemane Lutheran Church, my boyhood church in San Antonio, as a childcare center was dedicated in honor of my mother, Angela King Mosley. Mom was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico as Angela Echevarria and then married my dad and became Angela King. After my father’s death, she remarried and became known as Angela King Mosley.

My mother, who I loved dearly, filled me and countless others with her heartfelt passion, fire and craziness. Part of me is not sure if I should tell these stories but my heart tells me that maybe they should be told because it might help someone.  As I look back on my mother’s life, I realize these stories just couldn’t be made up!

My mother always had a special fondness for children. She often would tell people with children to “take care of them babies.” At the end of our weekly calls when I had my own kids, she would tell me to “take care of them babies.” At the dedication of the building, I began to think that I might be asked to say something, either at the church service or at the red ribbon cutting ceremony to open the facility. Sure enough, unannounced, Gethsemane’s Pastor Eric Milletti, who just happens to be from Puerto Rico, asked me to say a few words. I fought back tears and said something to the effect that one of my mother’s favorite sayings was “take care of them babies” and how appropriate it was to honor her with a child care center. I then said that when I was a little boy about ten years old, once when my mother went to communion I noticed that she remained at the altar rail and said something to the lay person who gave her communion. When she got back to the metal folding chair beside me, I asked her what she said to him. She matter-of-factly told me, “I told him to stop looking at my boobs.”

There is a saying in Texas that “the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.” I proudly refer to myself as a “crazy half-Puerto Rican” and as I reflect over 64 years of memories of my mother, I begin to understand how I became who I am.

My mother quit school in the third grade. I was told that she would skip school and play marbles for candy kisses and liked to fight with the boys. At age 13, she married my father, who was 16 and serving as a cook in the United States Air Force at Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico. He would see my mother when he would come to town to purchase things to cook. My mother told me, “He was the ugliest GI I ever saw.” That makes me feel real handsome! They met in the 1940’s and mom told me that my Anglo relatives were not happy that my father made such a “poor” non-white choice. Being a free spirit, a fighter and a minority whose English and education were challenged, she had to deal with these issues her entire life.

My mom told me that when she was a little girl, her father would bet the family’s limited funds on cock fights. When his rooster lost, he would come home drunk with the dead, cut up rooster and make his family clean it so they could eat it. On one of these occasions, he was in their very little store off the Aguadilla square and shot himself in the head. She remembered that they were so poor that she and her sister were required to immediately clean the bloody store so they would not lose any merchandise. Just maybe these events made a lifelong impression on her!

My mother shared with me that when she was pregnant with me in 1951, my father wanted her to have an abortion. As a young enlisted Air Force man with three kids, he didn’t need any more mouths to feed. She told me that he dropped her off at the clinic at Lackland Air Force Base for the procedure to get rid of me. She said that after he departed for work, she left the clinic and just began walking away. She said she believed an abortion was not the right decision. Had she stayed, I would have never been born at Wilford Hall Air Force Base Hospital. Had I not been born, I would not have been around to help my father and mother most of my life. I like to think of the scripture that the stone that was rejected actually became the cornerstone.

In early childhood, I remember lots of times when things were very good at our house and times when things seemed to be really bad. There always seemed to be a lot of drama. During the heat of an emotional battle, mom broke all of the china dishes. Cleaning up the mess was my job. After this, we always had plastic or paper plates. I cherish the one serving dish that I have today that she failed to break.

My mother once said that an “Air Force psychiatrist wanted to lock me up.” My father took a stand against the attempt to institutionalize her and said, “I am going to take my wife home.” When she told me this, it was clear that she was proud that my normally quiet father took a stand. This commitment made an impression on me in a lot of ways in my life. So I guess when I lovingly refer to my “crazy mom” there is a little basis for it.

A little crazy or not, she took my younger sister and me to church. She taught us how to mop the kitchen floor every night and to keep a very clean house all the time. We had to make our beds every morning because she didn’t want some burglar to come into our house and think we lived like pigs! She also told my sisters to always put on clean underwear when they left the house because if they had to go to the hospital the staff would know they were clean people. I recall the day that she broke her ankle playing basketball with me in our driveway like it was yesterday. Mom almost always took care of her babies!

On my sixteenth birthday, my mother gave me a quart of Old Crow whiskey to enjoy with my friends at our house. She used to tell my sisters and anyone else that would listen that the best birth control was a quarter. She would then explain that if you held the coin between both knees you could not get pregnant! Life was always interesting and drama filled. I always knew that she was there for me and loved me. She was raised Catholic and I remember each night she helped me recite my prayers and prayed over me in Spanish. I remember saying, “As I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, God bless…….” I remember her washing out my mouth with soap when I cursed and putting hot sauce on my tongue for the same sin. I remember that when some little white boys called me names she told me to “sock it to them.” She would never back down from a fight with anyone!

I look back and recall that often my mother and dad would put my sister and me in the car and drive to a retail block of stores outside of Fort Sam Houston. My father would walk into the store carrying the only gun he owned, a Winchester 30-30 lever rifle. He would walk back out of the building without the rifle within a few minutes and we would go to Jacala’s Mexican Restaurant where he would seldom eat, but would watch us eat. Over time, I noticed a trend that my mother wouldn’t have her wedding ring on after these trips. Looking back, I now know that the building we sat outside waiting in the car was a pawn shop. Despite all of these challenges, mom taught me to always put something in the collection plate at church. Old habits, values or manners are sometimes impossible to change. Maybe this also helps explain why I have a gun collection.

After my father died after a battle with cancer, mom had to get the first job of her life. She worked at the Piccadilly Cafeteria as a line food server. She told me that if the customers smiled at her she would give them a heaping portion of food and if they didn’t she would give them the normal portion.

Over the years, she shared with me countless “confessions” how she helped people to the point it put her in a challenging situation. After her death I got notes from her doctors that shared with me how “she had fire in heart” and crazy perseverance and stubbornness. Some of the most senior members of my boyhood church have shared with me that the once primarily Anglo congregation was not always kind to my mother. I never knew this. It is appropriate that she is now being honored at the same place. Life does go full circle in so many ways.

Attached are the words that she used to sing to me in her “spanglish.” The song is “Que Sera, Que Sera (Whatever Will Be Will Be).”

I wanted to share some of these “crazy” stories so others would know that “craziness” can make a positive difference. Mom was crazy in so very many great ways. Her craziness touched so many lives and to have a child care center building named after her is really, really crazy in a blessed way! Her craziness, compassion and fiery spirit have served as a role model for me, my children and countless others.

Attached is an article that was printed about my mother’s mother in Puerto Rico, who was also a little unique. I have provided the original article in Spanish and a translation. I don’t want these stories to get lost and this is my attempt to preserve a little craziness in my family and share it with my friends! It takes someone special to be crazy!

“Take care of them babies” and be a little “crazy” for all of the right reasons! I am so very thankful and appreciative to those at Gethsemane Lutheran for honoring my mother. May you join me in putting something in their offering plate!

Gethsemane Lutheran Church
610 Avalon Street
San Antonio, TX 78213

 

 

Doris Day Lyrics

“Que Sera Sera”

When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother
What will I be
Will I be pretty
Will I be rich
Here’s what she said to me

Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be

When I grew up and fell in love
I asked my sweetheart
What lies ahead
Will we have rainbows
Day after day
Here’s what my sweetheart said

Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be

Now I have Children of my own
They ask their mother
What will I be
Will I be handsome
Will I be rich
I tell them tenderly

Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be
Que Sera, Sera


Written by KING AEROSPACE Founder, Jerry Allan King-Echevarria.

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