NORMAN — By 1925, Carlotta Mojica, my grandmother, had already survived measles, whooping cough and dysentery. Her parents never thought she would see adulthood. Today, she is survived by family in America, Colombia and France.
She bravely left Colombia, unwed and pregnant, and gave birth in New York City. Her daughter, Ruth, was named after her godmother, an Irish-American woman who lived in Colombia and helped Carlotta get to America.
As a single mom, she had jobs as a garment worker, maid and a mutual funds saleswoman. In 1978, she graduated with honors from Hunter University and became a social worker, helping pregnant teens find their way.
Ruth settled down in Norman and Carlotta soon followed, first buying an apartment across town and then the house across the street. My dad would take her on errands, my mom handled her paperwork and I would cut her grass.
Grandma Carlotta and her grandson, William, had a loving relationship built on manipulation. Whenever the parents, Ruth and Eugene, weren’t around, Carlotta would tell William why going to the grocery store at that moment was a matter of life and death. When Ruth and Eugene weren’t around, William would tell Carlotta why ordering a pizza was equally important. She loathed the food but loved her grandson. She’d eat but one slice, and William happily gobbled up the rest. Over the years, her grandson began to enjoy his grandmother more than the pizza and she began to enjoy the pizza more and more. She would ask if he would like to order some again the next day.
Carlotta’s happiest memories were visiting Colombia with her granddaughter, Pia, in 1993, then with William in 1998. Carlotta loved gardening, walking, reading and, perhaps most of all, her miniature schnauzer, Pepe. Her family loved her bad jokes.
Carlotta is mourned by her daughter, Ruth Mojica; son-in-law, Eugene Hilderbrandt; her two grandchildren, Pia and William Hilderbrandt; friends and also the kind staff at Arbor Reminisce and Emerald Hospice who later took loving care of her.