Carmen Beltran Nadal has lived a life full of blessings and beautiful memories. At age 100, she appreciates her family and friends who have showered love upon her.
For her recent birthday, a party was hosted in her honor. Over 100 people attended from Los Angeles, Bakersfield, San Diego and as far as Baltimore.
"I was happy seeing people I hadn't seen in a long time," Carmen said, "I didn't know I had so many grandbabies."
Carmen was born in September of 1922 on a farm in Shafter. She came from very humble beginnings when there were no electric lights and running gas or water in homes. She remembers riding into town in a horse-drawn buggy.
She was married in 1949 to Maurice Nadal and enjoyed 36 years of marriage. Together they had four children, Frank Nadal, Maurice Nadal, Gloria Thomas and Rita Corona. Since then, her family has grown to be very close and extensive, with 10 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and 6 great- great grandchildren.
In the 1950s, she and her family moved to Wasco.
Carmen believes she has lived an incredible and rich life.
She worked most of it. At an early age, she labored in the fields as part of her migrant farm working family. She picked cotton, potatoes, onions, plums, garlic and grapes.
Her family would travel to many places following the various crop seasons. These would be long journeys. It would take a week to get to Fresno.
As a child, she wore clothes her mother made for her and her siblings out of flour sacks.
When she turned 15, she got her first store-bought dress.
"My dad made me a little party, played music and sang me happy birthday in Spanish," said Carmen.
She is one of eight children. All have passed away, except for her and her youngest brother. She only went to school until the third grade.
"My father thought I was too old to go to school at 12 years old, and he wanted me to help on the farm instead," said Carmen.
Throughout her long life, family has been her central focus.
"They have all been good to me," she added. "We all stick together."
With their love, she said there was never a moment where she was depressed.
"I had no time for that; I was always busy," said Carmen.
Carmen, no matter what, has been a determined woman. She raised all of her children in Wasco and provided them with as much as possible. They all graduated from Wasco High School and went on to have fruitful careers.
Her son, Frank, attributes their success to the hard work ethic she instilled in them and the values of respect and responsibility she taught them.
Her other son, Maurice, said, "She would keep a pretty good reign on us. We were a little on the wild side, and she always had a switch handy if we got out of line."
He added, "It was hard for us, and we had rough spots, but we learned that if there is a way and there is a will, it can be done."
Carmen grew up in the church and is a woman of faith, passing that on to her kids.
She spent most of her life as an agricultural worker and, in her later years, turned to cleaning houses and caring for children from her church.
"I worked hard all my life, but I enjoyed it and felt lucky," said Carmen. "They were long and poor years."
She learned to drive at 50 and has been relatively independent since then. She still manages to live on her own with the help of her children.
In her younger years, she had many hobbies, mainly knitting, crocheting, cooking and gardening.
"I used to make quilts, and I really liked doing that," she said.
Her granddaughter, Denise Nadal, said, "I still use a pancho that she crocheted for me."
At her 100 years, she is full of energy and much love.
"I've enjoyed my life," said Carmen.