About the Author

In 1916 when Elvira Chavez was six years old, her family immigrated to the United States to escape the violence of the Mexican Revolution. Her father quickly found work on the railroad in El Paso, Texas; then in the meat-packing plants of Kansas City; and finally, alas, in the sugar-beet and potato fields of Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

As a nine-year-old in Kansas City, Elvira became the primary maker of tortillas for the family. It was conservatively calculated that, over her lifetime, she made a total of more than one million tortillas.

In Nebraska, beginning at age eleven, Elvira labored in the fields for nearly 50 years. After she left that work, she served as an advocate for migrant farm workers, founded and directed a women’s senior center, and worked in a migrant daycare center until her retirement at the age of 89. She lived to be 102 years old.

Eduardo Hernández ChávezCompiler of Elvira.

Elvira telling her narrative to her son Eduardo