By Gina Germani
5:38 PM PDT, June 19, 2012
As Imperial Valley’s more than 1,500 high school seniors toss up their mortar boards this spring, most will likely make vows of lifelong friendship to one another, promising never to lose touch and to always be there in the best of times and the worst of times.
But sometimes life gets in the way of those youthful commitments. Just ask the judge, the life coach, the apparel designer and the mortgage lender who made the same promises to each other as Calexico High School Bulldogs — way back in the 1970s.
“Sometimes friendship may take a hiatus for 10 years or so while you go to college, get married, have children,” says Julie Roth, now a superior court judge in Mohave County, Ariz., and one of four women who bonded as young girls nearly four decades ago in a close-knit Calexico neighborhood.
Life indeed got in the way almost immediately after Roth, Gina Linn Espinoza, Patty (Vallecillo) Newgass and Veronica “Ronnie” (Avila) Platero parted ways in 1979, each pursuing college educations as close as Imperial Valley College and as far away as Topeka, Kan.
For more than 15 years they followed paths far afield from the “crazy days” of their childhood in Calexico: Newgass nurtured a career in apparel design in Orange County, Espinoza a business career in Michigan, Chicago, San Diego and Los Angeles, Roth a law practice and judgeship in Kansas and Arizona, and Platero a banking career in Orange County and El Centro. There were careers, weddings, children, and divorces that went partially unshared among the four during that 15-year secession.
And then a class reunion brought the whole troupe back together for one resonating reason — their roots.
Read more about this story in the May/June 2012 edition of Valley Women Magazine in print or our online E-Edition.
Copyright © 2013, Imperial Valley Press