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Q & A: Sylvia Ayala


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When did your mother marry Ram? Did they ever get divorced and then remarried?

My parents have always been married; they’ve been married for over 50 years. Well, actually, when my father passed away, I guess they were nearing their 50th anniversary. They got married in ’56, I believe.


Did you ever go to Taco Land?

We went there every once in a while, it wasn’t really an environment that we were to be at. We used to go there quite a bit when it was a restaurant, and when it started changing into a bar it just wasn’t a place where we would normally hang out. My mom was a housewife, and she raised her children, she didn’t work and there really wasn’t any reason for us to be at the bar. You know, my father had his bartenders and waitresses and such that helped him and it just wasn’t an environment for children, so we never really went there even as we grew up. We would go there once in a while but it wasn’t somewhere we were always, always at, you know. It was a bar, we really had no business in there. You understand what I’m saying?


Did you know about the existence of Eddie and Mark [Ram’s sons with Tina]?

We did find out at a later time, yes.


When?

It’s been a few years since we knew about them.


You do understand that, for many people who went to Taco Land on a regular basis, as far they were concerned Tina was the wife.

Unfortunately, she was never married to my father. Right. I guess she was more comfortable with that title because she had those two children, but unfortunately it wasn’t true [that she was married to Ram]. A lot of people found that out once my father passed away. Unfortunately it is the situation that he got himself into, and my mother forgave him, and it just stayed that way, you know. It’s just like anybody else when a situation happens like that; you can choose to forgive him or not forgive him, and my mother chose to forgive him and, you know, move on with her life.


Do you remember the last time you spoke with your father?

I spoke to him on the day he passed away.


Can you tell me what you talked about, when, and where?

He just said that he wasn’t sure if he was going to open that night because of the Spurs’ game and my mother and I told him, why doesn’t he just stay and rest? He said he’d think about it. At about 10-10:30 he decided to go and open up Taco Land unfortunately, and that’s the night he passed away.


When did your side of the family go to the hospital [after the shootings]?

My sister called me and told me something happened to my father, and that she would call my brother to let him know so that he she could see what was going on. I was at home with my children and my husband, and then my brother called me and said my father had been shot. He said, “You need to go to mom’s and let her know what happened.” So me and my sister were on the way to my mother’s house to let her know that my father had been shot. At that time I still did not know that he had passed away.

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