I was born in Southern California and grew up in Artesia, where most of the dairymen were of Portuguese descent. It was a town where people were named Souza, Silva, Santos, Pereira, and Machado. Olive complexions, dark hair, and brown eyes. They had strong family ties. A lot of the people got together for celebrations. I remember the feast of the Holy Ghost. There was a parade with queens, marching bands, and statues of saints on platforms carried on the shoulders of men. Everyone knew everybody, and gossip traveled faster than a cell phone conversation. Grandmothers were draped in dark clothes.
On Sunday afternoon of the fiesta, in a big dining room, Sopas were served, chunks of roast beef, simmered in wine and spices. Cabbage added for flavor and then poured over day-old French bread covered with sprigs of mint.
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights, there were dances in a great hall. I loved dancing the Chamarrita, a Portuguese folk dance.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
Boating. Stockton is in the San Joaquin Valley on the Delta, flowing out to the San Francisco Bay. It has over 2000 miles of waterways. Exciting places to visit, Old Sacramento, Railroad museums, Riverboats, restaurants with bands playing Dixie Land music. So much fun!
What turns you on creatively?
Good question. Honestly, I never thought I had a creative bone in my body, but because life can be complicated, I continually struggled for answers. So, I started to live vicariously through my writing.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
“After a storm comes a calm” — by Mathew Henry
What is your pet peeve?
Guests or family being late for dinner, especially after, you’ve worked hard to prepare it.
What defines Phyllis Souza?
I’m a mother of two and grandmother of three. Honest. Spiritual. And I have a lot of tenacity.
Phyllis Souza lives in Northern California and is retired from a long real estate career. After taking several on-line writing classes, she started writing flash fiction and short stories. Her stories have been published in Café Lit, Spillwords, Scarlet Leaf, and Friday Flash Fiction.