The Vargas sisters (from left): Carmen, Genoveva “Geno,” Luz “Lucy,” Nieves “Nancy,” and Consuleo “Chelo.”
Consuelo “Chelo” Vargas Marin was married twice and lived and loved fully all her life. I remember going to her home in the Mission District in San Francisco for a party — I think it was for Thanksgiving — when I was a teenager. She was in her 90s at the time and her sisters Nancy and Lucy were helping host. They were all dolled up with their wigs, and I think it was Lucy who was wearing a leopard print shirt with tight black leggings. Some of their conversation was in Spanish as one of them carried a platter of tamales to the table, but I also remember them talking in English about going dancing and their “boyfriends.”
Consuelo was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, on March 11, 1912. She immigrated to the United States with some of her sisters in 1925 and they worked in the canneries in San Francisco. She and her sisters would frequently walked in the Mission District.
She was listed as single in the 1930 census, so she would have married Clemente Cruz (photo above) sometime after that; although, I don’t have an exact date. Her second marriage was to James Jones. I’ll try to add more information here when I find it, but I’m lacking dates and locations at the moment. If anyone has additional details or memories to share in the comments, I would love to know more.
It was noted in her obituary that, “She was always known for her good cooking skills in the kitchen; no one ever left her home hungry. Although Chelo never had any children of her own, she has been a mother figure for many in her large family. She stepped in when tragedy struck, providing a loving home to children whose mother had been lost.”
She died January 21, 2005.