Rosario with her mother, stepfather, and four of five siblings
Purn died of a heart attack in 1942, right after Armistice Day.
Rosario moved with her children back to downtown Los Angeles, close
to her mother and sisters. She worked as a seamstress for a while, although Purn Singh's estate continued to support
her and her children. In 1944, she married Bhag Singh and went with
him to Fresno, where they snapped up acres of vineyards at a bargain price
with an Armenian-American farmer fronting for them. It was a distress
sale by a Japanese family leaving for Manzanar. Gloria stayed in
L.A. and went to a Catholic boarding school, but the boys went north
and got their first taste of farming.
Hector remembers moving back to Imperial in the summer
of 1949. When the "white" public school refused the boys admission,
Bhag Singh went and argued until the Principal gave in. It is this
kind of tenacity that turned the Saikhon operation into a multi-million
dollar agribusiness over the next two decades.
Purn with two of his children
Mario joined the U.S. Army, served in Texas, married
Dora, a Texan, and returned to take charge of the Saikhon family
operations. His tenure was not without controversy. On the one hand,
he built a reputation as an innovator, a hard worker and philanthropist.
On the other, his relationship with the United Farm Workers was
marred by bitter, often violent, labor disputes. At the end of his
life, he ran afoul of the IRS as well. The family business is now
in the hands of his son, Jeff. He and Dora also have three daughters.
Gloria returned to Brawley along with her
brothers, her mother, and stepfather. She married Johnny, son of Phoman
and Silveria Singh. They have their own farming operation and live
in Brawley along with their children and grandchildren.
farmed in Central and Southern California, but has now retired. He
has been married twice, the second time to Norma, daughter of Consuelo
and Mota Singh, and has two sons.
Rosario at her first communion
Rosario remembered the arrival of the first wives
from Punjab after the immigration laws changed. She drove them around,
took them to the doctor when necessary, and helped them settle into
their new lifestyle. Bachan Kaur, one of those wives, remembers
with gratitude, the support she received from the "Mexican wives."
However, there would be no more "Mexican wives" in her family.
Rosario passed away in 1999. A few years earlier, her granddaughter
Carol arranged for her to have an audience with the Pope in the Vatican.
It was a high point of her life.
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