This interview was conducted by Amanda M. Rios on April 3, 2007 in San Antonio, Texas as part of Palo Alto College’s History 1302 – Spring 2007 class.
Maria Louisa Garcia Rios was born to a New Year, on January 1st, 1948 in San Antonio, Texas not in a hospital but in a mid-wife’s house on Mesquite St. in San Antnio, TX. She was the second of nine children along with Estella, Deloris, Edward Jr., Lucia (Lucy), Arthor, Ernest, Leonard, and Terisa born to Ruth D. and Edward R. Garcia. She was rased near the west side of San Antonio In 1966 she graduated from Fox Tech High School then worked to make money for college for 10 years (1966-1976) she worked for San Antonio Savings Association where she was a teller the later moved up to a branch manager. From 1976-1977 she was a auditor for the saving loans from the state of Texas. She was able to finally attened college after 10 years of working for the bank and continued to work and pay her own way through college till she reached her goal and recieved her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 1982. In 1981 one year before she recived her degree she was married to my father John Rios Jr. who had 3 daughters from a previous marrige Nancy, Sandra, and Yolie then four years later after they were married Maria gave birth to their youngerst daughter Amanda.
What was your greatest childhood memories growing up is San Antonio?
My greatest was celebrating holidays with my family; there was always a lot of family and food. My grandmother Lolita (father’s mother) use to tell us ghost stories we use to sit outside in the back yard, look up at the stars, and listen very intently and we were very quiet and scared. Many summer evenings my mother and father use to mow the lawn and we kids use to help pick up papers and trash and big rocks and our reward was eating a cold watermelon it fed all nine of us kids and we use to devour it.
How did the family plain and spent holiday events?
Christmas we all use to go my grandparents house (mother’s parents) my aunts use to help my grandmother make homemade tamales after they were done and after we ate them we all use to get together in the living room and exchange presents. For Easter on the night before Easter Sunday we use to color eggs. My mother use to prepare everything the potato salad and the banana pudding that was almost every year. Easter Sunday we use to get up very early and go to Brackenridge park, where my uncle Coronado always had the same location reserved. As the day progressed my mother and my aunts prepared everything so we could eat. The men barbecued and drank beer and all the kids would run around and eat lots of candy from the Easter baskets we got every year.
What was it like growing up on Brady blv? Has the neighborhood changed?
The Marina Village was considered one of the first suburbs outside of Kelly Air Force Base. We felt we had moved out to the country. There were only dirt roads and in front of our house was an open field. Far away inside the field was an old two story house that we kids and all the neighbors’ kids use to believe it was haunted. Eventually they paved the street in front of our house and started building what is now the Brady Gardens. As we were growing up the neighbors kids use to come over our house and we would have little parties. Everybody would bring their 45 records and we would dance.
What schools did you attend and what grades did they go up to?
First I attended Storm Elementary it was 1st grade through 4th there was no Kindergarten or pre-kinder back then. Then I attended Lowell Jr. High 5th grade through 9th then Fox Tech High school 10th grade through 12th. I have always loved school back then though it was set up different from the schools today.
High School how was that like?
I was a member of year book staff, I belonged to the High School marching band played the flute and piccolo and I was Chaplin of student council best years of my life! We attended all the parades and all the football games what I can say I had a lot of friends and I loved school. I was never a straight A student but I was still good at school my grades were always A’s, B’s, and a few C’s only because I didn’t like science.
What would you and your friends do back then?
Attend school dances and house parties and slumber parties.
Did you attend your High school prom?
Yes, I can’t remember a thing about it except when we were all on our way home we were in the car with the windows open and we ran over a huge puddle of water lucky we were all going home because we got so soaked (Laughing).
What type of world events took place when you were growing up?
The assignation of J.F.K., Vietnam War, and the landing on the moon.
Which event do you remember the most and why?
The assassination of John F. Kennedy because it felt like someone dear to me had been killed.I was in High School at the time in study hall in the library when the principal announced over the intercom that the president had been shot. We had just seen him the day before on a Motor Cade in San Antonio. Everyone was in shock when we all went from one class to the next everyone was crying teachers, students, janitors, etc. we could not believe it. Everyone was glued to the T.V. for 3 days. I remember the clouds were over cast and the days were very gloomy and everybody couldn’t stop crying. We witnessed Oswald being shot by Jack Ruby on National Television. The mystery still stands to this day who shot J.F.K.
After you graduated did you know immediately that you were going to college?
Yes, but I couldn’t go right away because I knew I had to work first in order to afford to go to college. When I finally started college I took many courses at San Antonio College, some at Saint Philips and the rest at University of Texas at San Antonio. I decided to get my degree in Sociology because it seemed the subjects were easier which for me they were and they were also interesting. My intentions were to teach high school Social Studies. I got as far as not getting certified because by that time I couldn’t afford it. Certification required 17 weeks of student teaching without pay and by that time I had too many bills and couldn’t afford it. My last semester in college I was taking 18 hours plus I had 4 part-time jobs. One of the jobs was a work study in the computer room at UTSA. Another one was working as a substitute teacher for the Harlandale I.S.D. Another one was as a cocktail waitress at the Kelly N.C.O. club. The last of my fourth job was serving in the Army reserves we use to meet 1 weekend of the month and 2 weeks out of the year. By some miracle that semester is when I made my best grades.
Tell about all your jobs? Which one was your favorite?
My favorite job was working as a state examiner for savings and loans. As an examiner I traveled throughout the state of Texas and audited all state chartered savings and loans which are equivalent to credit unions because savings and loans no longer exist. I’ve also worked as a branch manager for San Antonio Savings Association then for the government. As a government employee, I investigated all the over payments made by Army contracts.
When did you decide your were going to get married?
When I was in my thirties and he swept me off my feet (Laughing) and because he was a very considerate and caring person different from all my other boyfriends.
How has San Antonio changed through the years?
BIGGER! A lot bigger more traffic it seems like life took over, everything is much faster everybody is in a hurry.
Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview?
I have had a very good and happy childhood as well as great memories and that is all I wish for my daughter Amanda to experience.
By doing this interview I learned things about my mother that I never new about her life before. I felt like I gained some background about her life in general and feel like I went back in time to her life and put a vision in my head about how life must have been like for her. I enjoyed hearing all she had to tell me and will continue to learn about her ways of life through this experience. My favorite part of the interview was hearing about the assassination of J.F.K. during that one question I felt very moved by her response and learned things about that tragedy that I never had heard about before. I was honored to have the opportunity to interview her and heard her story. Overall I felt like I gained more inside knowledge about her life and will tell my children when I am married later about my experiences as well as her story. If I had to do it over I would interview her all over again because I am very proud of my mother and am amazed by all her accomplishments.
- January 1st 1948 Maria Louisa Garcia was born in San Antonio, Tx to Ruth and Edward Garcia.
- Started School in 1954 at Storm Elementry
- 1956 made her First Communion at a Catholic church in San Antonio, TX
- in 1966 she attened her Senior prom
- Graduated from Fox Tech High School in 1966
- Began full-time work as a bank teller at San Antonio Savings in 1966
- Then work as an auditor for the state of Texas from 1976-1977
- Joined the Army resevers 1977
- Started attending UTSA 1978
- Graduated college 1982
- Married John Rios Jr. 1981
- Started working at Kelly Air Force Base for the government in 1982
- Had Amanda her first daughter and husband John’s 4th Oct.1985
- Retired from government job in 2003
- Stared working for the NISD as a subsitute teacher August 2005 to present
- Interviewed by Amanda Rios on April 3 and 23 2007
- Google maps (map of Fox Tech High School)
- Kennedy assassination online Article- The Assassination of John. F Kennedy by: Mike Milliard in Boston Phoenix, January 11, 2007.
- San Antonio Savings Association Golden State Bancorp Inc. & California Federal Bank, citi- history date unknown.
- Photographs and/or documents on this website were provided by Maria L. Rios. From her house and family growing up.In the photo’s family and friends were in the picture which were taken at Storm Elementary, Fox Tech Prom, Grandmother’s house, a Catholic church communion, friend in Laredo,Tx, in our home, at a friends wedding, and at schools my mom went to.