His grandfather, Pedro Aguilar, was not a Pancho Villa supporter. After the Mexican revolution — and three assassination attempts — he left the northern Mexico city of Torreon and moved in 1907 to Topeka, Kansas where he went to work on the railroad. Worried someone might track him down, he changed his surname to Lopez. There he founded the Lopez Chile Powder Company and had nine children; my sweetie’s Dad, Miguel, was the second oldest.
Pedro helped to establish Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish on November 4, 1914, a still-thriving church created to serve the Mexican community in Topeka.
My partner’s Dad, a Baptist minister, raised his family in New Mexico, and my partner eventually moved to New York City, to work in journalism, as did I, moving from my native Canada first to rural New Hampshire then to a suburb of New York. He and I met, of course, when I was writing a story about on-line dating and I had to post my profile on a site I didn’t know or use, where he found me — two workaholic journos, lovers of French food and skiing and travel.
On April 16, 1945, Pedro became a U.S. citizen. His chile company, which also made taco sauce, chorizo, Mexican chocolate and peppers in brine, was long ago sold, but we have, and cherish, some of his gold and red and turquoise food labels and a photo of him.
Here’s a funny story about Pancho Villa’s trigger finger — for sale — from this week’s Wall Street Journal.