Jose Guerrero is from San Antonio. His nifty wife Margaret, who doesn’t want to talk, is from Tennessee. She sits in the corner, laughing at our jokes. I’m not sure they’re all that funny, but she’s a good-humored woman, and probably doesn’t need the prompting. Directly in front of her—so behind Jose and I—is an altar. There’s a massive beautiful quilt she’s made, tiny little totems to the figures, family members, and objects that make up a good life. Spread in front of the quilt are photographs. Of historical figures, more family members, musicians. It’s the perfect backdrop to our conversation.
Guerrero has lived in Chicago since 1964.
What brought you here?
Nothing in particular. At that time I was drifting around. That’s what I like doing, but I can’t do that now. She won’t let me. [He gestures back toward his wife, who laughs in response.] I came to Chicago and started working at a factory. 47th and Central Avenue, Something like that.