Josefina Cruz, 77, was born in a small village in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico, where her family lived without plumbing or electricity.
She fondly recalls fetching water from a well to bring back to the house and grilling insects with peppers and vegetables since meat was a rare treat.
Cruz moved to Mexico City, where she met her future husband, Manuel Perez. On Sept. 19, 1985, a massive earthquake rattled their apartment building. The family rushed outside, but Manuel ran back inside to rescue their youngest child, Ricardo, who was 2 years old.
Just as he entered, the building collapsed, killing both him and their child. Cruz and the other five children survived.
Cruz's youngest surviving son, Manuel, served in Kuwait with the U.S. Navy until 2005. After returning stateside, he encouraged his mother to apply for a visa so she could live with him.
Cruz and her family run Grandma's Kitchen, a Mexican food stand, at the Walla Walla Farmer's Market. They also offer a catering service for special events.
Cruz, who has lived in Walla Walla since 2007, is the focus of this week's Voices from the Walla Walla Valley at wallawallavoices.com