We took a few moments recently to talk to Elvira about her family and personal history and how she got to be at Casa Viva. Elvira was born in a small village called Potrerios outside of the town of Petatlan (population of about 18,000) but when she was less than a year old her family moved to the village of Troncones. She only attended primary school (through 6th grade), the extent of her formal education. Elivra is the second in a family of 10 children, 5 boys and 5 girls. Most of her siblings now live in the United States and while they all left with plans to help out the family back in Mexico, Elvira sadly reports that they now don't help out much at all (she heard from them most recently when her mom passed away 2 years ago). Her father is still alive and is a cattle rancher and owns some property around Troncones.
At age 11, she was already working in restaurants and in private homes around Troncones doing any work she could find from washing clothes and house cleaning to eventual restaurant work as a waitress and cook's assistant. At age 16 she married and moved with her husband to Petatlan. In Petatlan, she worked as a waitress and cook's assistant. They had three children but were separated and divorced within 6 years and Elvira moved back to Troncones.
In Troncones, Elvira raised her 3 children while she worked various jobs, mostly in restaurants and spend several years working at the old Burro Boracho in the kitchen until the it closed due to financial problems.
When asked how she ended up at Casa Viva, Elvira mentions the 6 degrees of separation chain that led to Casa Viva starting with working at a restaurant that led to meeting Anita who recommended her to our accountant who then recommended her to us. When Elvira started at Casa Viva we knew we had found someone special and we soon promoted her from cook to manager.
Elvira recently suffered a tragic loss that no parent ever wants to go through. Her eldest son Cain was diagnosed with colon cancer and after a long battle, he passed away on May 20, 2013. Elvira would go with him to Mexico City regularly on the overnight bus from Zihuatanejo to Mexico City where he would undergo treatment. Ever industrious, Elvira would go shopping for clothes in Mexico City looking for great deals and hot fashions to bring back and sell in Troncones.
She still has 2 wonderful boys at home, Uriel and Jonathan, 16 and 13 respectively. When asked what she enjoys doing with her boys, Elvira says, "I like just hanging out and playing with my kids, sometimes I put them to work around the house helping me fix up the place, other times we sit together and they tell me about their girlfriends and I give them advice." When pushed to share some of her advice about girls she adds, "Well, I tell them not to get married to young, to get a job so they have money to buy their girlfriend a little something even if it is only a soda or something to eat when they go out, but to have their own money; and I tell them to treat their girls nicely, be respectful, don't talk bad about their girlfriends around town."
Elvira is a great mom, she's the best cook and we are lucky to have her as the heart and soul of Casa Viva. Her smile melts all guests and her salsa verde "no tiene madre" (her green sauce is the very best ANYWHERE).
Elvira will be with Casa Viva for 10 years in May of 2015. Please feel free to share your comments about your experience at Casa Viva with Elvira.