"The Veteran’s Hospital in Sylmar…that’s where I met Mary. Her eyes, her face, that hair, her figure, her voice, her smile."


Mary Ann Martinez

martinezBorn in 1982 in the northeast corner of the San Fernando Valley, Mary Ann Martinez describes herself as a “Renaissance Woman” and “a life-long learner."  She graduated from Sylmar High School in 2000 as Senior Class President, has taken classes at Cal State Northridge and LACCD’s Mission, Valley and City Colleges, and is currently working on an Associate of Arts Degree at LACCD’s West Los Angeles College. She has no immediate plans to transfer to a university; a four-year degree is an objective that she will meet at a later time in life. Instead, she will continue her current occupation as a professional childcare provider, and also pursue her talents as a writer and outdoor enthusiast. She has a wide range of interests and hobbies. To date, her proudest accomplishments include performing percussion for the Los Angeles Doctor’s Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles City College’s Percussion Ensemble, playing drums for Bobby Matos’ Latin Jazz Workshop Orchestra, City College’s Jazz Band, and being a member of a short-lived, all-female jazz quartet called “The C-Notes.” She resides happily with her boyfriend in Los Angeles.

Other Works:

In a Flash Before My Demise
A Monologue

Odd that my life should come full circle like this. The 5 Freeway… almost “home” on the San Diego 5 Freeway…

I was sure that as soon as I had boarded that Higgins boat I’d never set foot on Normandy or any other land again.  Wretched…war is wretched. Captured! Ah, yes, and then I was captured. Prisoner of War. I didn’t think I’d make it back to the U.S., back to California. Then, the tuberculosis. Dying in the cell. Released. Transferred… and that’s how I ended up in that hospital bed.  The Veteran’s Hospital in Sylmar, that’s where I met her, that’s where I met Mary. Her eyes, her face, that hair, her figure, her voice, her smile… that’s why I was meant to go to war, meant to a prisoner…to be released, to be sent there…sent there to meet her, to fall in love. Because of her I didn’t just survive, I thrived. I thrived and truly lived because of her love. I loved her, and she loved me, too.

Instead of returning back to San Diego I proposed and offered to buy her a home in her hometown of San Fernando. She accepted! We married in the Methodist Church on Laurel Canyon in Pacoima. I was the luckiest man alive. Mary was life. Everyone who ever knew her loved her as did I.  Ohhh, my children, our children!  Anna, Robert and Richard. My three Leon children…and Naomi, too. Perhaps I was too rough on them? I can’t totally blame it on the war. They’ll be stronger for the way I was. I wasn’t entirely bad. No, I was a good father. I provided for them. I brought stability, sense and discipline. Good times, there were good times, too. Our house was full of music and singing. I wonder if any of them will take up their father’s guitar? It matters not. I hope they survive.

It was supposed to be just another family trip. Here we were heading south back to my hometown of San Diego. Almost home. Crash!!! I’ve returned home. Here I am, here we are in this wreck. Richard will survive. God sent a doctor to travel alongside us on this freeway so my son could be saved. I’ve survived. I’ve thrived. Still, am I too young to die? Here I am with my life flashing before my eyes, my life in an instant before my demise.

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