Excerpted from an interview with Armando Peña conducted at Moses Lake, Washington, November 30, 2002
My brother Carlos and I came up to Moses Lake on this trip to hook up with my other two brothers here, Raul and Lupe, to discuss our taking down my mother's ashes from L.A. back to McAllen, to the [Rio Grande] valley, where my brother Carlos lives. And where my mother's from, actually, and laying her ashes to rest over there.
Back in 1996 when she was very ill, we brought her up to L.A. to get some medical attention, to see if we might be able to deal with her cancer that was pretty close to her dying from it. She didn't make it. At the time we decided, we discussed it before she passed away, she and I, and she decided that she wanted to be cremated. She decided she wanted to be cremated because she wanted to be able to be moved around. I think one of the things that she feared a lot when she was alive was that when [people] pass away, they tend to be forgotten. She didn't want to be forgotten. And I told her that it wouldn't happen. I think her grandmother was buried in a little cemetery outside of Elsa Texas, in the Rio Grande valley, which is really just a little field out in the countryside. They really don't keep it up. It's pretty run down. I guess she thought that she'd end up being like that. And then also because we moved around a lot, as migrants. We just had a hard life, so she wanted to be in a situation where it would be easier in a sense, to see her. It's kind of a crazy notion because we sort of thought she didn't really want to be buried because she thought that being buried, she had a negative view of being fixated in a plot. She thought that maybe being cremated would be easier. If I moved, I could take the ashes with me. So, she didn't think that when she came to L.A. that was going to be the end of the road. But I knew. So, we sort of came up with this plan to have her cremated and I told her that if we ever moved we'd always be able to take her with us wherever we went, whether I moved to New York or Texas, or heaven forbid, Moses Lake. So, that's why she's there.