The Sopris Sun is conducting a series of interviews with folks you may not have seen in the paper before – a sort of introduction to your neighbors. This week we caught up with Leticia (Letty) Gomez, who works as a cashier at the Bonfire coffee house on Main Street and was hostess (along with other tasks) at the Village Smithy restaurant for many years.
Sopris Sun: Tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from.
Gomez: My name is Leticia Gomez, I am 42, and I have two children — Ismael, who is 15 (attending Roaring Fork High School) and Angel Gabriel, he is seven (attending Carbondale Community School). I had another baby, she died eight years ago, from an accident. My husband, Usieo Dolores, he works as general manager at Sunburst Car Care. I am from Mexico Puebla, it’s south of Mexico City, like two hours, and when I was five my family moved to Mexico City because my dad got a job there, and my mom, too.
Q: How did you get to Carbondale?
A: I’m coming here (to the U.S.) on July 21, 2000. I was 24, and I had a cousin who lived here three years but she left her kids in Mexico, and I was the company for the kids (bringing them to join their mother). I was only supposed to be here for one year, working to help my mother and my father get a better life, they lived in a small apartment, and I wanted them to get a little house. But in one year I didn’t make a lot of money, and I decided to take one more year, and I met my love, my husband, and I got married, and that was that. I’m still here (smiling broadly).
Q: What have you done since coming here?
A: The first months were difficult, because I speak no English. I get a job washing dishes at a sushi place (no longer in business) and at the same time I’m helping Charlie (Chacos, owner of the Village Smithy), and after three months he hire me, as a dishwasher. He has me doing that for two years, I think, and then he make me hostess, and the last couple of years I am waitress. And I’m working at the Smithy for 16 years.
Q: But two years ago you had decided to leave the Smithy and do something else?
A: I decided that was it, but then Charlie say he want to talk to me, and tell me I should come to work at the Bonfire. I like it here. And I work at the Fat Belly Burgers, too. I know the owner, Francie Jacober, she teaches at the Community School (Letty and her family performed catering duties for the weddings of two Jocober sons), and she asked me if I would come to work at Fat Belly. So I did, and I like that, too.
Q: Two different people told us that they love seeing you at work and around town, and one woman said you are her “favorite character around Carbondale.” What’s that all about?
A: I think it’s my smile (again grinning broadly), and that’s coming to me from my dad. I know lots of people love me. I know I love this community, this is my community. Sometimes I want to be more involved in a lot of stuff, but I’m so busy working.
Q: You work two jobs, you volunteer to serve food and beverages at the weekly Rotary Club meeting, you’ve been through five years of English classes through CMC and you want to take other courses in computer systems to help with your job — what do you do for fun?
A: I like to travel, I want to do that more, to see the West, and especially Western Colorado. When I am here, at home, I love to walk, all around the town, in the summertime. In the winter, I’m hiding in my house, because of the cold.
Q: As are something of a leader in the Latino community, what do you think of relations between the Latino and Anglo portions of Carbondale’s populace?
A: I want to see them more involved, more social, more (mixing) of the children, more friendly for everyone.
If you know of someone who should be featured in “Our Town,” email email@example.com or call 510-3003.