Helen Chavez

Very sorry to see that Helen Chavez died. I met her a couple times back in the 70’s. Everything is so vague, though….I lost lots of memory following a series of seizures back then and big parts of my life vanished, but I know some of us volunteers went out to Keene a couple times in my UFW days and I do remember Helen Chavez feeding us. It was a lunch with Cesar Chavez. I wish I could remember more of this. Two years as a volunteer with the United Farmworkers (1977-79) and I can barely remember any of it. I still have my hand sewn union flag. And digging through a box a couple years ago I found a folder just packed with information and notes of things I had participated in, strikes and meetings and press conferences. Lots of people’s names, too, though I couldn’t place them. Weird you work so closely with people and then they vanish from your head after a few big seizures.

My pal Darby Slick once asked me why I have never written about those days. That is why. I can’t remember them.

It’s funny but thinking back on this, I realized that we would have taken the 166 to get out there. So I had been on the 166 before, probably a couple times. Driving it two weeks ago, I assumed it was the first time. I hadn’t seen her obituary yet and the few hints of memories it brought back.

Anyway, I remember Helen Chavez as a very nice lady and a very good cook, and I remember her and Cesar holding hands.

legerrette-50th-anniv-cesar-and-helen-chavez-dancing-1978

Lovely photo of Helen and Cesar Chavez dancing in 1978. Photo by UFW volunteer Carlos LeGerrette from the Farmworker Movement Documentation Project, online at https://libraries.ucsd.edu/farmworkermovement/

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One thought on “Helen Chavez

  1. From Judith Henderson (via Facebook):

    Oh, my heart goes out to the family. Helen was the glue, she was for the cause her dear husband managed but frustrated by his fasting. I chopped onions and bell pepper one day for lunch and she said, “you need to help me more often!” I took her hand and she looked at me and said, “this will never be over until he is dead.” Six months later Cesar died. In the studio at the time, I was saddened that I could not attend the funeral, I went to Malibu Beach and cried for hours. RIP Bonita Helen.

    Like

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