Brenda Ulloa Martinez and her sister, Corina Ulloa, grew up in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles in the 1980s.

Both of their parents worked. Prior to opening a bridal shop together, Irma worked as a seamstress in a factory and Arnulfo as a delivery truck driver. So the young sisters would often rely on public transportation to get to school. This also meant they’d return home to an empty house.

Left to right: Brenda Ulloa Martinez, at age 4,  and Corina Ulloa, at age 2, in their family apartment in Los Angeles in the 1970s.

In 2010, they came to StoryCorps to share some of their hard-earned wisdom with the next generation: Brenda’s daughters, Camila Martinez and Isabela Martinez.

Top Photo (left to right): Corina Ulloa, Brenda Ulloa Martinez, Camila Martinez, and Isabela Martinez at their StoryCorps interview in Los Angeles, California on March 6, 2010. By Alejandro De La Cruz for StoryCorps.

Originally aired January 29, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition.