Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with one of Puerto Peñasco’s prolific personalities whose voice can be heard gracing the airwaves each Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. on her show “Rocky Point Ramblings,” on 106.1 FM . Rosie Glover. Behind Rosie’s voice and eclectic personality is a treasure trove of stories and life experiences from Pitiquito to Woodstock, Idaho to France, California to Puerto Peñasco, and from real estate to sky diving to insurance! Mother. Translator. Wife. Radio host. Grandmother. Organizer. Real Estate Agent. Volunteer. Insurance Salesperson. Tenacious businesswoman. Writer. Friend. Rosie is currently owner of ProAlliance Insurance and also offers round-the-clock bilingual Tourist Assistance services “…from tourism information to more serious things.” [In Spanish/English as needed Office: (638)388-6624 and cell: 044-638-112-0134] Rosie was also recently one of twelve women recognized by the Municipal Women’s Institute within festivities honoring International Women’s Day. MoKa’s extensive interview with Rosie crosses borders, oceans, and careers of this fascinating member from our community in an examination of Who is Rosie Glover?
“Many say that they know me…but in reality they don’t know anything about me, or about my life. They know what I do, what I’ve done here, and my name… Rosie Glover is my ‘artistic name,’ but not what’s on my Mexican electoral card, because yes I am Mexican and I am American!”
On the day of our interview, Rosie was a bit tired as the night before had been her stepson’s graduation from UNIDEP and they had stayed up celebrating well into the night; still, she was in good spirits to begin. She invited me into her office; I turned on the recorder and, without her even noticing, placed it on the desk.
“I come from a family of storytellers,” she began, pulling out a small wicker box and setting it on the right corner of the desk. “My entire family is and has been full of excellent story tellers, or rather, history tellers. I remember we would all sit together and would be charmed listening to the stories our grandparents and parents told us.”
“Aside from all I do, I also consider myself a writer, but not one of those of fantasy or fiction. I can’t invent characters, I can’t imagine people that don’t exist, how they would act, how they would react… uffff, no, that drives me crazy. I love to read, that’s for sure, everything – absolutely everything (fiction, romance, adventure, science, business, history, etc.). Wherever I am, that place has to have space for my books. But yes, as far as writing, I only write stories based on real facts, about people that exist.”
She made a gesture with her hand as if she had remembered something. She was seated and suddenly stood up, pulled out an album full of clippings as well as two newspapers.
“Here they are, look…. I like to write and I used to write, that’s why as soon as I could I had a newspaper in Texas, I bought it and changed the name,” she explains and then looks at me mischievously. “Do you know what I studied?” I shook my head. “I studied journalism, during the time when newspapers were put together like a grand collage of notes and pictures, and for some reason or another you would wind up covered in ink. I got the idea when I was in high school, where I was on the school’s paper. But I went on to really study it in school, which I paid for myself and finished,” she stated proudly.
She smiled and began to look for images from her life in a box full of photographic memories.
“Each one of these pictures has a story behind it. Look! Like this…” she pulls out an album page with one single photo, “this is César Chavez, the political activist, not the boxer,” she clarifies. “When he would travel he didn’t like to stay in hotels, he wanted to stay in the homes of people that supported him and who would lovingly offer their homes to him. I had just finished building my house [in Idaho] and it was big, so I told the person who was in contact with him that I would be thrilled to offer housing. They accepted and so for his arrival we prepared a huge surprise welcome party, with lots of people who were eager to meet him… When he arrived he told me he was exhausted and the only thing he wanted to do was rest. All I could do was stay wide-eyed, oh well, though it’s true, one always ends up tired from travel. Later I found out he was vegetarian, diabetic, and didn’t eat flour or drink. Oh my! If I had only known! We had cake, drinks, and an entire menu of food that people had brought. I told him this and suggested it would be better to cancel the event and that he should rest; I would talk with everyone and we would see what we could do the next day. He smiled at me sweetly, beautifully, and then said, ‘No, I can’t do that. Just let me meditate for about twenty minutes in the room and then I’ll be fine.’ And, twenty minutes later he was like new again and we had a good time at the party. Look at him! Here he is with the cake! Obviously he didn’t eat it, but he spent time with the people. That happened in 1986. He was an excellent person. Whenever he would go to Idaho he would stay in my home, and from that point we were friends for a long time; until he died.”
“Look at this other one,” she extends a Polaroid my way, “That’s me when I was young, when I worked driving a city truck for 5 years. The things one sees, but oh well, I had to work. By then I already had a daughter (I got pregnant very young at 17) and I had to do something to get ahead… Here I am at Clinton’s first campaign in 1992…here is my invitation to his tour he did throughout the state…”
For someone who said she was tired, she sure exerted enough energy.
“I am from Pitiquito,” she continued, getting comfortable, “From here, from Pitiquito, Sonora. After I finished junior high, I went to study in Los Angeles and since that time I would come and go more or less every six months. I had to struggle with language; arriving in Pitiquito I would realize I had forgotten Spanish, then after spending time with cousins, and putting up with their jokes, when I went back I realized I had forgotten English, so I spent my life re-learning languages. I studied high school there and at that time, honestly I was a bit of a hippy. I wore my hair with a part in the middle, long, like Cher. I had my accompanying wardrobe of slacks, flowery blouses and of course boots. That was when I went to Woodstock. You want to know how I ended up there?” Suddenly, she closed her first and lifted up her thumb… “hitch-hiking…or catching a lift,” she laughs. “Every now and then when I wanted to get away or wanted to visit some specific place, I would go to the highway and begin walking. That time I wanted to go to San Diego when a car passed and asked if I wanted to go to Woodstock. The name sounded interesting to me and I said, Yes! What the Hell?! I didn’t even know what it was. On the way they told me it was a festival and I thought, ‘cool,’ but still I never imagined the magnitude of the event, it’s still hard to believe… the amount of people and how close I was to the super music idols. Obviously nowadays I don’t recommend hitch-hiking at all, but at that time a van wasn’t as suspicious as it is now.”
“And what about France and being a model?” I asked, letting her know that in my mind I had put these two events together, one being the cause of the other or vice versa.
“Oh yes! Of course! I was a model and I was in France for more or less a year, but these two things didn’t happen at the same time,” I suppose she saw my look of doubt and incredulity and clarified, “I went to France in 1981, before moving to California. I went to travel, recklessly, nothing more…”, she sets her gaze on me and then continues, “I hadn’t taken vacation for a long time. I had everything a “successful” person should have. Nevertheless, I felt trapped, sad, confused…empty. Nothing had meaning anymore and I felt that friendships were solely superficial. So I decided to speak with my boss and explained I wanted to take some vacation time; he said there was no problem, though insisted I tell him how long I would be gone. I would just shrug my shoulders and say, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know,’ so I called my mom, grabbed my things, and left. I lived in France but bought a train pass and would go to Austria, to Spain, wherever. I went wherever I wanted and spent it all, it didn’t matter to me. The funniest thing is when I came back, that year had been tremendously bad for everyone so no one had any money. No one! Even those who had been at the same level as me in the company where I worked! Everyone had long, sad faces. I had to laugh, honestly. We were all broke, only that I had been out traveling!”
She pauses and passes me a small photo with women touting enormous hair-dos alongside children on a cat walk.
“About being a model, I was already older and had my son, who is now 28. I went with him when he modeled and once when I took him to a casting they said, ‘why don’t you enter as well?’ and since he was modeling children’s clothing, I just said ‘ok’ and they put me in. They then started to call me for different jobs modeling mothers’ clothing or professional business wear, nothing impressive, but it was a very fun experience.”
“Sorry, where were we?”
“Sky diving!” I said without much more thought.
“Ah, sky diving,” she repeated and turned around, picking up a framed picture. “I don’t know if you’ve already seen this. This is what I have as the background on my Facebook page, and although I did it on various occasions, this is from the first time. What you see here that looks like a huge smile is really terror. This is when I saw what I had really gotten myself into. Whatever happened I had to jump and right when I took the first jump I was screaming, ‘Oh shiiiiii!!!’ when they took the picture. Can you see it now? It’s as if I had said the typical ‘cheese’ but with fear… I’ve had this with me in all the offices I’ve had, because looking at it does me good. While I was standing there waiting (because I was the last to jump) I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to do it. So this reminds me that, even when you’re petrified, it doesn’t matter how scared you are, you’ve always got to go ahead. Jump. And if I got through that, everything else would be simple. All’s good,” she looks at the photo.
“I did it because one day I was reading the paper and there was an ad that said, ‘Anyone can sky dive’ Anyone! For just $89.’ I told a coworker that I’d like to do it, if really anyone could do it. He answered me with a challenge, ‘Ah! You would never do it!’ and I said, of course I would, ‘What’s more,’ he said ‘if you don’t chicken out I’ll pay the $89.’ Obviously by the next week we were both signed up. And, well, I couldn’t chicken out no matter how scared I was, I couldn’t back out. And here I am, with a picture and everything. Oh yes, and he paid!”
I was then struck with the doubt, “How is it then that you made it here to Puerto Peñasco?”
“I was divorced and the original plan was to settle in a quiet place, something different and one that I liked in order to write; plus, I was looking for a good percentage of Americans in order to take advantage of knowing both languages. I had San Miguel de Allende in mind, have you been there?” I nodded. “Or something like that. But, well, finally after Texas I went to Pitiquito for a while to visit family,” she continued, “and there I crossed paths with a boyfriend I had when we were kids. He was now widowed and had a thirteen year-old boy. Months later I married that boyfriend.
“I thought at my age I would never have to deal with kids again! It’s that for me doing business comes easily but being a Mom is complicated and difficult to do well; I’ve always said that I’m not (and was never) good at that. But, what’re you going to do? At the beginning we didn’t get along very well, but honestly he is a good son and now we get along fabulously. You can say what you want, but in the end it’s not always what you think you want.”
“Getting back on topic. [My new husband] wasn’t going to go far from his family, so I heard about Peñasco and it sounded like a good idea, as it was close to what I was looking for. I arrived here without knowing anyone. I wanted to check it out to see how things would go. I knocked on one door, no more. It was that of Jonni Francis and I said, ‘My name is Rosie, I have such-and-such years of experience in real estate, I’ve done this, that and the other, I just got here and I would like you to give me an opportunity.’ ‘Come on in, I’ll see you at 1,’ she said and that same day I was offered the position as general manager for Coldwell Banker. I am extremely grateful because she opened doors for me here. Thanks to her, I am where I am and I’m still here.”
“I worked as a real estate agent for four years and then I’ve had this [insurance] business for eight years. I didn’t want to sell Real Estate any longer; honestly it no longer interested me, 32 years is a long time. I realized suddenly there were about 500 agents (I don’t know if it was that many, but there were a lot), and only one person working in insurance and no matter how good you are, competing with five hundred is not the same as competing against just one. Really! So, I said ‘I’ll sell insurance instead,’ and I prepared myself both in mind and spirit. I looked for tutors and mentors, friends that do this that could help me, along with all I know about customer service… The truth is I simply had faith in this.”
“I made the decision from one day to the next. I don’t want this anymore, I want this. But I already understood insurance, so it wasn’t an issue I took lightly. Although the decision was nearly immediate, carrying through with it took some time. I took a year to prepare myself, because for however much I knew and understood it, I was no expert. So I got two mentors, a friend from Flagstaff in the U.S., Derrick, who I’d known for a long time. I called him and said, ‘look, I’d like to study insurance, I want a career change. I’d like to have one or two mentors to orient me, you and another here in Mexico.’ Aside from good service I wanted to offer experience and I didn’t have that yet. So he recommended Luis to me, from Chihuahua.
“With Luis, since the first time we met we got along well. He trained me and the staff I had, and gave me tips. At the beginning he would come once a month to check on everything, and then less frequently, but he was always available for me by phone. Honestly, I haven’t let go of either of them,” she smiles, “A curious thing is that once we agreed on terms and conditions Luis says we signed a contract, but neither of us have a copy of that first contract! We realized that when we wanted to renew.”
She began to leaf through the album in her hands in a more distracted manner. So many life stories to tell and suddenly I heard her say something about an adopted daughter and when in Idaho she helped prepare the first driving test in Spanish for migrants…
“Adopted daughter? First Spanish exam in Idaho?” I asked curiously, and she showed me the photo.
“Yes, she is African American. That’s when I was a volunteer at a women’s rehabilitation center and taught courses on self-esteem. These girls were not there because they wanted to change their lives, but because of a court order, it was jail or there. In that group there was a 17 year old girl who was pregnant with her second child (she already had a one and a half year old), and the directors there would say, ‘this girl is the worst, there’s no remedy, she doesn’t even know who the fathers of her kids are, etc. etc.’ She was one of the so-called ‘lost cases.’ She was rude, foul-mouthed, didn’t get along with anyone, hostile. I saw her as a challenge, I wanted to get close to her, and although she acted tough and all I tried to be calm and nice, “Hey Vanessa!” I wanted to win her over. And I did, she became a daughter for me and I adopted her, and from one day to the next I was a grandmother. I remember Christmas came and when I got to the center she came into the kitchen all mad and in a rush, throwing things and yelling, looking and asking for a ‘plate’ she had. I just looked at her, without saying anything until she found a plate with cookies. And she threw them at me, “They’re for you” she said. She had made me cookies! But she didn’t know how to give them to me or how to tell me. That’s when I knew I was on the right path.”
“For the other, I was doing community service in a spot for migrants, I managed procedures to change the undocumented status of people. We would help legalize them. That’s when I realized that no one had a driver’s license and I asked ‘why?’ and ends up they weren’t passing the test ‘and why don’t they pass?’ Well, because they didn’t understand them! So I went to see what I could do and first they had to take a course. We set it up so that if I had a certain number of people to take the driver’s ed course, only then could we translate the exam, not before. So we did.”
Surely the box of memories must have another thousand stories, and surely there are many more albums, but it was late and I had been there a long time. I said good-bye but still had questions in mind, which I asked as we walked down the stairs and toward the parking lot: “The radio program, what is it and why ‘Rambling’?”
“The radio program began two and a half years ago,” she said, “They called me because they had the idea of doing a program in English. They had already tried with other people and it hadn’t worked. I told them the only way I would accept was if it were a “radio version” of the column I had in the Rocky Point Times, which was called Rocky Point Ramblings; they said yes, and that I would start on Saturday.”
“Ramblings!” she bursts out laughing, “Yes! Everyone has asked me about that… You see, it’s what the Chamizal does when the wind grabs it; it tumbles and rolls all over the place, you never know where it’s going or what direction it’ll take. Rambling is also when you start talking about one thing and end up talking about another. There was a famous song in the 40s, Rambling Rose by Nat King Col. Rose, Rosie, rambling, Rocky, Nat King, rocking, Rocky Point… Rocky Point Ramblings by Rosie Glover,” and she keeps laughing away.
“Only one more question Rosie,” I say at the foot of the stairs, “What is your real name?”
“Ah, good one! Rosie Glover is my ‘artistic’ name. My ‘real’ name is Rosa María Villescas Córdoba.
We said goodbye and she got in her car, honestly I didn’t see which way she went.