LUZ MINERVA, memories of love, sacrifice, endurance, hardworking, effort, ambition and passion, of things done and those still waiting to be unveiled.
Many lives are better looked at with a certain light, the warm light of love, appreciation and awe of how with so little and without external help, wealth and success could be achieved,
It was not the time of internet, social media or networks. It was a hard time with minimal means and only personal effort, stamina and determination to move forward and become rich. It has been a beautiful love story.
It was 1916, in an impoverished tiny island in the Caribbean, often struck by strong hurricanes and trying to survive the political changes that began in 1898 between Spain and the USA, when Puerto Rico was exchanged as a war prize between those two countries.
Luz Minerva was born, the 6th child of don Andrés and doña Octavia, to a household that later would accomodate 10 girls and 2 boys. She was all energy and beauty and her family had to bear her keen enthusiasm for everything, from play, study and any other activity. She was all nerve and always wanted to win and excel in everything she did. Like the time she went to the beach on a class trip and she participated in a swimming competition, when she didn’t know how to swim. No was a word she would not heed or accomodate to. She always looked for solutions as she thought and still thinks that there is always a way and it is just a matter of finding it.
This iron willed tiny charming beautiful woman was the only one of the 10 sisters that went on to do university studies at the Universidad de Puerto Rico. She excelled in tennis and chemistry.. After finishing her studies she worked as a teacher at Loíza Aldea, then a 100% black hamlet in the north coast of Puerto Rico; at that time isolated from the rest of the island and especially from San Juan. She was the only white person. There she spent a year commuting to San Juan as she was then engaged to be married to Norberto. Both of them met at the university cafeteria on Saint Valentine’s Day, where LM worked to earn some money. That special day was always very memorable for both of them in their 68 ys of marriage.
Life was difficult between two World Wars and a great recession. There was no housing and they were forced to move periodically with their three children. There were shortages of everything, from sugar, flour, coffee, rice and other staples. Hours were spent waiting on line to be able to buy a little something, but LM always had a plan, a prevision, an idea of how to succeed and do better. She cooked, she baked, she sew and embroidered…all the usual atributes of women during those days. She was appointed director of the Maternal Schools in Río Piedras, which she enjoyed for a few years. After a while, her plans for the future took over and she decided to start her own little business of hand made children’s clothing in a small locale in downtown Río Piedras, She designed, sew and embroidered every single item and became successful as an entrepeneur.
One day a friend that had been to Mexico and brought jewelry from that country, asked LM to sell her jewelry in the shop. This other business venture was also very successful and lucrative. As her passion for beautiful jewelry kept growing every day and she used it to assert herself, she decided to open a small jewelry shop.
This time success was overwhelming and Norberto, that by now was a successful advertising executive, decided after some years, that LM needed help in her business as she couldn’t keep pace with the demands of a growing business and her three growing children. Together they made an excellent business team. She had many of the ideas and Norberto would carry them through. If something went wrong, she was always resilient and innovative, never lacking in courage and determination. She was not afraid of working many long hours and was always supportive and proud of her children’s achievements.
This unending energy also had a price, a downside, that cost her many sleepless nights and nightmares.
She is the vivid image of a strong willed personality, with charm and wittiness. Even now, when she is dependent on different persons for her welfare, she still looks for ways to continue living the way she wants.
She couldn’t come to terms with the two years Norberto was ill and everyone thought she would die before he did. She looked like a burnt candle. For many days she was prostrated in bed suffering in silence and when Norberto died, she picked herself up, went to all the funeral services and after he was buried, she said: “we have to live”.
She knows she has to live to keep the unity and harmony of her family. She knows she is a beacon for them and although she misses her husband that took such good care of her throughout all her life with infinite signs of affection and love, she still wants to go on.
Luz Minerva is and has been a vivid example to her children and grandchildren, that love her and feel great admiration for her and have felt her limitless generosity through the many years that they have walked together. Luz Minerva is faith, direction, confidence, determination, not yielding in adversity and above all generosity and love. Her message will always be : live in harmony with appreciation, gratitude and love.
Most of us have pearls and we love them. So, here are simple rules to make them last forever passing them onto new generations.
The following considerations can also be used for taking care of mother of pearl and coral. These are organic gems as they are all formed by calcium carbonate, which gives them a soft surface that is easily damaged, especially by acids like sweat, perfumes, vinegar, fruitjuices, etc. Thus, these gems require more care and should be stored separately to avoid scratching. Silk bags, velvet lined boxes or satin lined pearl folders are good options. Rings and bracelets are more subject to scratching and their use should be minimized to special occasions.
Pearls, being easily deteriorated when coming in contact with household cleaners, perfumes, cosmetics and hair care products, should be the last thing to put on and the first to take off.
They should not be stored in safety deposit boxes for long period, as they dehydrate producing small fractures on the surface. Never should be stored in a plastic bag as chemicals from the plastic will damage them. Pearl strands should be stored flat to avoid stretching the thread.
Pearls should only be cleaned when a soft cloth is no longer enough to remove the dirt. This should be done with a mild soap like baby shampoo and a natural bristle manicure brush only used for this purpose and kept clean. Then rinse well with cool water for at least 5 minutes.
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