Lorenzo Ortiz Story – Childhood Memory

Lorenzo Ortiz

Lorenzo Ortiz and his bisabuela

As I approach college graduation, I reflect on my growth and what my path will look like as I progress in my career and find my way back to “the Valley,” as my friends and I refer to the Rogue Valley. I was born in Ashland but I grew up in Talent & Phoenix, the two towns that bridge Medford and Ashland. These places are important to me because of the stories they carry.

One of my favorite childhood memories is exploring the streets, going on these long walks and ending up in la traila de mi bisabuela, Goya.

One of my favorite childhood memories is exploring the streets, going on these long walks and ending up in la traila de mi bisabuela, Goya. I am sure a lot of you know Doña Goya—I can still smell the delicious pan mi abuelita Goya made every weekend and her assorted cookie jar. When we lost mi abuelito Alejandro, I kept her company during weeknights. We would have deep conversations, spend the afternoons watching telenovelas and Caso Cerrado –ALL THE TIME. The most striking memory I have of her is when we were watching the first Mexican telenovela with a gay character in it that I have ever seen. We sat in her living room, crocheting away as she talked about how sad it is that gay people have to endure machismo and how times have changed so all we can do is accept one another and have an open mind. Goya is one of the strongest and most badass women I have in my life. She has taught me a lot and I am forever grateful to have an elder like her in my life whose teaching would later show me how to love and embrace my Queer identity.

DE LA RAIZ is a project dedicated to gathering and sharing stories of the rich and diverse Latinx communities of Southern Oregon. Through personal interviews, research, and visual art, De La Raiz hopes to center and uplift our voices while challenging stereotypes and national narratives of who we are.

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