gmhTODAY 07 gmhToday Mar Apr 2016 - Page 34

R Patsy Herredia Torres Growing Up Gilroy Written By Sam Bozzo 34 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN ecently I had the pleasure of meeting Gilroy native PATSY HERREDIA TORRES. Patsy was born in the comfort of the Herredia family home. During the 1950s, she attended Jordan Elementary School, Brownell Middle School, and Gilroy High School which is now the site of South Valley Middle School. Patsy’s father grew cucumbers and tomatoes on farmland along Leavesley Avenue where the Gilroy Outlets stand today. As a young girl, Patsy helped her father with the harvest during the summer months. She worked for Marian Filice while in high school. She recalled the family home on Hanna Street between 8th and 9th Streets. Back then, 10th Street was a dirt road and orchards surrounded the area. She used to take her wagon to the local ice shack by the train station in order to buy block ice for the family’s refrigerator. Patsy later met Felipe Torres and they were married at the original St. Mary’s Church. As newly- weds, the couple moved into a brand new apartment on 5th Street in Morgan Hill. Not long ago Patty was going through some papers when she found an old rent receipt – only $87.50 a month for a two-bedroom apartment! Patsy and Felipe have two adult children. Their daughter Danielle is married to Ken Berry and their son Mike Torres is married to Cindy Quintero. Both couples have two children, and both live in Gilroy where their children attend local schools. One tradition that Patsy remembers fondly is making tamales with her mother. For years, Patsy and her sisters and sisters-in-law got together for the holidays and gathered in the kitchen to watch Patsy’s mom make tamales. Then Patsy and her sisters decided the time had come for them to make tamales and mom and dad could be their guests for a holiday tamale dinner. Her mother not only pronounced that the tamales were good, but she never made them again! And so, to this day, Patsy and her sisters and sis- ters-in-law keep the tradition alive. Even her daughter Danielle is making tamales. Patsy loves gardening and is an active member of the South Valley Fleurs Garden Club. The club’s more than 60 members maintain several public gardens in Morgan Hill, Gilroy and Hollister. The club also supports education in horticulture by offering grants to school teachers who wish to include gardening in their curriculum. Every December, club members get together to decorate and deliver 300 coffee mugs to nursing home residents in South County and Hollister. Patsy and Felipe were married for 42 years. Felipe worked at Hale Lumber, and then opened up the 7 Oaks Home Center, which he operated for 34 years. For the past 52 years, Patsy has called Morgan Hill home. South County is busier now and she doesn’t know as many people as she once did. But having MARCH/APRIL 2016