“-Thinking she [his grandma] was my real mom. So when I came here, to me they [his real parents] were strangers for me-“

Romulo Ayala was from Mexico and his parents went to the U.S for a while when he was little. His grandparents took care of him while they were gone.

When they came back, he thought they were strangers and his Grandma was his real mom.

He got used to calling his mom, Mom, They took him to the US and he had trouble adjusting to the change of atmosphere.

In his high school years he met Nancy Bernal and had kids with her. He had trouble adjusting to parenthood but he managed to be a good parent.



Jacob Ayala: What did you want to be as a kid?
Romulo Ayala: A police officer.
JA: Why would you want to be a police officer?
RA: Cause I was seeing all the, the whatchu call it, programs, you know “Cops” and all that so I wanted to be a cop.
JA: How did you react when Mom was first pregnant? 
RA: Surprised. I was like surprised cause she told me she said, “I’m pregnant” and I was like “Huh? What?” Yes I was surprised.
JA: And like what did your parents think?
RA: Uhhh, they were not that happy, but hey, it happened, it happened.
JA: What did- What did Mom’s parents think of you?
RA: I don’t know, you should tell your mama. They were mad too, but like, but they were like okay, they got her back so you know.
JA: Okay, Who was the greatest influence in your life?
RA: My grandma.
JA: How was she and influence on your life?
RA: I don’t know she, I grew up with her and I like see her as an influence. She used to talk to me about everything to be this and that, so it was my grandma.
JA: Ok, are you proud the way your kids turned out?
RA: Oh really proud, yup since the little one to the big one, really proud.
JA: How did you react when Wendy first got into college?
RA: I was excited, I was like, “Yeah my first child going to college!” It was a good thing because a lot of children don’t go to college and I was proud.
JA: What was it like running two marathons?
JA: What was it like running two marathons?
RA:Tiring [laughs] the first one, I was really tired, like it was my first marathon and it was raining, it was raining dogs and cats, so it was tiring. The second one, it was alright, it was cool, I already had my first experience with the first one so it was more easier the second time.
JA: So like before the marathon, did you practice or did you just go straight in to it.
RA:Oh no, we practiced like, like with  Students Run LA.
JA: It was?
RA: It was Students Run LA cause we used to go to runs every Sunday- or once a month, so we practiced. Students Run LA began running a long time ago, this thing is not right now, its for a long time already.
JA: What was the best thing your mom made?
RA: Whatchu mean, made of what?
JA What was the best food your mom made?
RA: Mole. That’s a good [profanity] mole she makes.
JA: How good was it on a scale of one to ten.
RA: It was a 15! Boy it was good and its still good. Its still good, spicy and everything with chicken and everything boyyy, that’s good mole.
JA: When we go to grandma’s house and she makes mole, do you get nostalgic.
RA: Whatcu mean by “nostalgic?”
JA: Did it remind you of your childhood?
RA: Umm not really cause- cause like saying- cause no cause it’s still- my mom’s still making it, it doesn’t bring back memories, it doesn’t make me that.
JA:If you could, would you raise us differently?
RA: Probably, but not- nah, I would raise you, half and half. Cause you guys didn’t grow up bad you know. [incoherent] I could have helped your mom and raise you guys cause she raised you guys good, but nah.
JA: What would be one thing you would raise us differently on?
JA: What would be one thing you would raise us differently on?
RA: Teach you Spanish. Teach you Spanish is the [incoherent] you know right now you guys can’t speak Spanish, you can understand it but you can not speak it. Wendy, Anthony and Andrew, Wendy can speak Spanish you know, she can have a conversation. Anthony [takes break] so so, Andrew nah, and you guy, hell nah you-you can’t speak Spanish. Like saying you cannot Spanish, you can understand it but you have to ask me or your mom. Like saying if your grandpa asks you something you be like, ” Mom, what he said” or “how I say it” but I know you can understand but not speak it.
JA; Yeah I do it some of the time, most of the time, all of the time.
RA: [Makes sound of agreement]
JA: When you saw mom the first time, did you think your future would be like this?
RA: Nope [incoherent] like another girlfriend, like saying oh probably another girlfriend. I didn’t think I would have kids with her.
JA: Tell me a story about one of your family members.
RA: Whatchu mean family members.
JA: Like something crazy that happened.
RA: Crazy, Crazy Crazy, can’t remember something crazy but I could tell you something about my grandpa. When he used to take us to church, he used to take me to church cause he used to come once in a while from Mexico to visit us and every Sunday he would say, “Ey mijo lets go to church.” We used to live on 27th and Maple and we used to go to church on Figueroa and every morning he used to say, ” Mijo let’s go” and we used to walk from 27th and Maple to Figueroa EVERY Sunday. We used to go to church so I used to like that when I was little with him.
[Yawn] It was good spending time with my Grandpa. And my grandma, I grew up with her, she’s like my second mama and she passed away already. But she was my grandma and she raised me for for years and my parents came over here and raised me for four years in Mexico. Cause four years is a long time cause they raised me for two years, if they raised me for two more years, I wouldn’t be here, I would be with my Grandma in Mexico. Right now my Grandma passed away [mumbling] but its good memories and not crazy memories, crazy memories I don’t think so. It was good memories boy.
JA: What were the positives and negative moving to America.
RA: Okay, [Sits up] The negative things about moving to America, cause I didn’t know my real [stutter] I didn’t remember my Mom and my Dad, my real mom and my dad. I thought they raised me since little like two years. When I was born my Dad came to the U.S and he left me there with my mom, and my mom came with him so she raised me two and a half. Imagine thinking she [his grandma] was my real mom. So when I came here, to me they [his real parents] were strangers for me and I knew-like saying come on over there in Mexico used to run around with all the chickens, horses, and everything and come over here in the city and cars. I didn’t know if I cross the street they could run me over. It was more dangerous here than Mexico. In Mexico I can run anywhere.
When I came to the U.S.A there were a lot of dangers. I didn’t remember my mama or my dad, I was thinking, “I wanna go home I wanna go home to my Mom Beatriz.” That was my grandma’s name and my grandpa, Samuel, “I wanna go.” I was like that for a week. Until they slapped my booty and they said, “I’m yo mama” and then I got used to it, saying she was my mom and everything. But for that, it was a different thing for me and when I came back your uncle was already born, Miguel he was already born and I thought I was the only one over there so I come and they say,”This is your brother” and was like, “What? my brother? I don’t think so” and have a location as here and Mexico is different things. Over here they teach you like the streets are dangerous and over there no. They let you run around. And those days where my grandpa is, they didn’t used to pass cars and over here there’s cars passing through and they could run you over and in Mexico no.
JA: So is that all about that.
RA: Yeah it was dangerous, imagine being for a while in Mexico [stutter] it happened like this they brought you to the U.S.A. knowing nobody and you come here with two strange people, you weren’t raised with them and they say, “I’m your mom, I’m your dad.” and you be like you’re not my mom, my mom’s in Mexico cause when they brought me here I was crying, crying like a baby and I was saying I don’t wanna go, I don’t wanna go, so like you know [incoherent] so until I came over here in the U.S it was a whole different thing for me and plus your uncle Miguel was there so he was already born so I was like, “What the hell happened” but I got used to it, if they left me for two more years [yawn] I wouldn’t be here I probably be here but I wouldn’t name mom or dad to my mom and dad.
JA: Did you take anything for granted as a child.
RA: Granted? Like my teenage or “child child?”
JA: Like any of those.
RA:Not really like saying, everybody makes mistakes when I was young, but I learned from them so not really. Only that I didn’t visit my grandma too much so thats the only thing I granted.
JA: Was raising me easier than raising Wendy?
RA: Yes it was a different atmosphere. With Wendy and Anthony, I made a lot of mistakes. And with you guys I’m doing the opposite, I’m giving you more time, I’m spending more time with you guys you and and Andrew. With Wendy and Anthony I didn’t spend a a lot of time with them. I made a lot of mistakes but right now i’m trying to do the opposite. Trying to be there for you guys, so yes it was different and little complicated with them.
JA: Before we end this, do you have anything else you want to me to know?
RA: That I love you guys and ill be there for you guys whenever you need me.
JA: Thank you