Ramona Moran Lopez was born in Guadalajara, Mexico to Baldomero and Ramona Lopez. She is one of 9 siblings and has lived in Elysian Valley for 56 years. To date, Mona (as she is adoringly known by those closest to her) still lives on Meadowvale Ave. in the house purchased by her father in 1961. This was a two bedroom, one bath house that somehow managed to warmly accommodate an 11 person household, says Mona. Her brothers Mario and Hector too live in Elysian Valley.
Her father immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1950’s picking up work as available. He became a supervisor for K Swiss Shoes and went on to open his own shoe repair shop on North Broadway in Lincoln Heights during the peak of The Beatles mania in the U.S. “Altering and customizing shoes for Beatle fans was good business then”, recalls Mona.
Mona recalls a friendly upbringing in Elysian Valley. She attended Dorris Place Elementary School, Washington Irving and Nightingale middle schools, Lincoln High and John Marshall High School. She remembers fondly Mr. Strickland-a Dorris Place school teacher. She too acknowledges being a victim of school bullying, which necessitated her moving to different schools.
Elysian Valley in the mid-sixties was as diverse as it is now, says Mona. Mona earned income from assisting her neighbors with baby sitting and house-cleaning during her teen years.
Mona is a devout Catholic and remembers volunteering at St. Ann Parish on Blake and Riverside Dr. when she was twelve years young. Monseigneur Brosnan took her under his wing during this time-referring to her as his secretary. He presided over her First Communion and Mona refers to him as her “second dad and best friend.”
In 1995, the late Father Hugh Crowe, then the presiding priest at St. Ann Parish hired Mona as his secretary. She said duties included but weren’t limited to giving rides to people, assisting visiting priests and shopping for groceries. Mona describes Father Crowe as “Jesus like-forgiving, loving and merciful.” God is first in my life, my everything, says Mona.
Mona married in 1974 and is mother to three young Men (Carlos, Eddie and Arthur). She is retired and a proud grandmother of seven. She refers to her role as grandmother as “the most beautiful experience.”
Mona describes Elysian Valley as a special community made up of “people who care and know one another.” Mona likes very much the improvements of late that have come to Elysian Valley. She attended the “Fruit Share” event at Jardin Del Rio Community Garden this past Sunday and would like to see more like events because “they promote community and good neighborliness”.
Mona wishes to be remembered by her family, friends and neighbors as a “fair, just and honest person”. She especially wants her children to carry on her faith in God, to be every grateful and thankful for the things they have and to appreciate the gift of