1. HOST JACKIE TANTILLO - "I'm Too Old To Be Polite. I'm Going To Tell You The Truth" with Guest Dr. Joseph Garcia 28:33

My guest, Dr. Joseph Garcia, was speaking to me from  the Pacific Northwest. As he said, “I’m 15 miles south of Canada and 6 miles in from the water (Pacific Ocean).”

Emma was born and raised in Alabama. She moved up North to Milwaukee and started her family in her 40’s.  Joseph is so proud of all his mom’s accomplishments and is overwhelmed at times by the number of lives she touched.  One of the things that impressed Joseph the most, is that “I never saw my mother get angry, ever in my life.”  She was sure to never raise her voice at home, because the look of disappointment  was way more effective than any shouting  could possibly be.

“Son, you’re going to have to do  twice as much, to get half as far,” was one of Emma’s most memorable expressions. She was trying to prepare her mixed race adopted son for the real world.   In the 1950’s, it could be challenging for people of color to find a significant job to help support the family.    

Apparently Joseph didn’t really have any interest in school as a teen. “It wasn’t as important as my social life”, say’s Joseph.   “My mother would often say “son I know you can do better, you have to decide to do that.  Then she’d walk away.”  My guest continues, “children of color were not directed toward the college prep courses back then. But I took advantage of shop class, etc. I learned how to build a house.”

It wasn’t until  seeing the rest of the world that Joseph realized how special his mother was and how fortunate he was growing up.

Because Dr. Garcia was adopted and because he was mixed race, he was often bullied and teased by his classmates.   HIs mom wanted to help Joseph be resilient to this intimidation so she would say to her son,  “yeah you’re more than one race. We picked a child who had the best qualities of all the races put together into one child.”  And Joseph’s direct response to these pests was ” “yeah my mom chose me. Your parents are stuck with you!”

To this day, my guest is still shocked by the hundreds of friends and former students came to his mother’s funeral when she passed at 99 years old. “They flew in from all over the country to pay their respect. She influenced so many people.”

More of Emma’s expressions:

“I’ll rest when I die”

“I’m too old to be polite. I’m going to tell you the truth”

“Moss doesn’t grow on me and I don’t want it to grow on you”

“You always have to do something before you can do something else. AND there’s always somethin”

“Son, don’t pick something up before you have a place to put it down-that’s not just stuff, that’s people, that’s things in your life,  that’s everything”


Dr. Joseph Garcia’s Books:

14 Days To Baby Sign Language

Dr. Joseph Garcia’s Complete Guide To Baby Sign Language

Dr. Joseph’s FingerSpelling Book