2 Sisters On Enjoying Life: Instead Of 'A Drama Or A Novela, Make It A Sitcom' As kids whose parents worked full time, Corina Ulloa and Brenda Ulloa Martinez spent a lot of time looking after one another in their Los Angeles neighborhood. Corina said it made them who they are.

2 Sisters On Enjoying Life: Instead Of 'A Drama Or A Novela, Make It A Sitcom'

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

Time now for StoryCorps - today, we hear from sisters Corina Ulloa and Brenda Ulloa Martinez. They grew up in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. Brenda wanted to share some memories with her daughters, Isabela and Camila, including how she and her sister would get to elementary school.

BRENDA ULLOA MARTINEZ: Mom would drop us off at about 7 in the morning, and we'd take a bus ride on the public transit.

CORINA ULLOA: The RTD, the rough, tough and dirty.

ULLOA MARTINEZ: Yeah (laughter). Now I think about my girls and how little that really is to be 7 and 6 and your mom's going in one direction and you're going in another.

CAMILA: I have a question. Would you guys ever, like, let us go on a bus on our own to school and just walk away and go, see you later?

ULLOA MARTINEZ: Never.

ULLOA: No.

ULLOA MARTINEZ: I don't think my mom wanted to do that either. I think she did it 'cause she had to. And I know I saw her once or twice with tears in her eyes, leaving us and having to do that because she needed to go out and work.

ULLOA: But she was very vigilant. She knew what time we would get home, and she would call us every 20, 30 minutes and make sure - (speaking Spanish).

ULLOA MARTINEZ: (Speaking Spanish).

ULLOA: (Speaking Spanish).

(LAUGHTER)

ULLOA: Are you fighting? Did you eat already? What are you doing? So we couldn't get away with anything.

ULLOA MARTINEZ: Remember when we cracked that firecracker in the kitchen (laughter)?

ULLOA: (Laughter) Yes.

ULLOA MARTINEZ: And we tried to clean it up, but we weren't good enough cleaners. I don't remember her being mad. I just remember it being something very serious that we better never do again.

ULLOA: (Laughter).

CAMILA: Were you guys ever scared to, like, have to be alone at your house knowing that it wasn't very safe?

ULLOA MARTINEZ: Many times.

CAMILA: You guys had to be more independent than really I am now. Like, I still need help crossing the street.

ULLOA MARTINEZ: We most definitely were. I don't think it was because we were ready to be independent. It was because there was a need in our family for us to be independent.

ULLOA: Regardless of how sad it was, I think it made us who we are.

ULLOA MARTINEZ: Rough, tough and dirty.

ULLOA: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

ULLOA MARTINEZ: When you can, I think instead of making your life a drama or a novela, make it a sitcom. You enjoy life much more when you look back and laugh at all the hurtful things that happened in your life.

ULLOA: And that's the only way you can move forward because if you end up dwelling on the past, you can never take a step in the forward direction.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIENNA TENG SONG, "CITY HALL")

MCCAMMON: That was Corina Ulloa and Brenda Ulloa Martinez. They spoke in Los Angeles. Their StoryCorps interview will be archived at the Library of Congress along with hundreds of thousands of others.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIENNA TENG SONG, "CITY HALL")

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