His mom was known to “dance on the tracks.”
It was the same Union Pacific Railroad tracks where she was killed over a week ago as she walked ahead of a 51-car train.
Now her son Jose Maltez is trying to provide his mom Karla Teilor-Salguera with a proper funeral.
The 19-year-old East Union High grad who spent stints homeless while he was growing up is working and attending college. He has no means to bury his mother and he’s hoping to get help through www. Gofundme.com/Karla.
Maltez said his mother Karla faced uphill challenges raising her five children before she gave it all up and walked in front of a Union Pacific freight train near the Walnut Avenue crossing on Sept. 14. She was killed instantly.
The Delta College freshman says he is working toward becoming a nurse practitioner but first he must somehow give his mother a proper funeral.
Maltez graduated from East Union with a 4.0 grade point average despite the fact he was forced to live on his own for the last two years of high school. During that time he also medaled in wrestling and was an outstanding football player for the Lancers.
“I love my mom and I always will,” he said. “She wouldn’t want to be cremated – she would want a proper burial. I think she was probably schizophrenic near the end.”
Maltez told the story of the family living in run down apartments and motels as they were growing up. The teen recalled his mom’s last child birth to his sister when she had a C-section some eight years ago. Sponges were left inside her body, he noted, and the hospital had to later remove them. She took legal action and got enough money to buy a two-story home on Lorene Drive in north, central Manteca.
Everything was fine for awhile with the family living together until a heated divorce and a devastating fire changed everything. She had been seen dancing near the railroad tracks on at least one occasion, he recalled. He added that he would be upstairs and hear his mother yelling at someone downstairs and nobody would be there.
His mom apparently had more than she could handle when she walked the rails ahead of the 51-car freight train that took her life. Maltez remained in Manteca and the other children are with their dad in Florida.
“Mom always said I just have to persevere and keep going forward,” he noted, adding she worked hard at her job at McDonalds on Yosemite Avenue.
Maltez said his mother told her children not to worry; things were going to get better.
He added that his mother had a way harder life growing up than her children did.
The East Union grad recalled every Saturday his mother would go to garage sales to buy what she thought she could resell at her own sale weeks later for a profit.
“I’m going to support you the best I can,” Maltez said his mother would tell him.
“There were times when we had no water and the neighbors would put their hose over the fence,” he said. “Mom would hold her head up high and say, ‘we can persevere.’ When people ask who I look up to, I’d say my Mom because she is a strong person. I wanted to be like her.
“Whenever we passed homeless persons on the street, she would stop and give them $10 or $20 if she had it or just change. She taught us not to hate anyone. Now I am going to do what is right and somehow get the money for the funeral and bring the kids back from Florida for her service,” he stressed.
Maltez added that his mom was always there for their sports activities and their education.
“My Mom always made something out of nothing.” he said.
But, in the end, she felt everyone was against her. “Mejo,” she would say. “I want you to be a doctor or a lawyer.” He said the last thing he told her in a note was to call him, telling her how much he loved her.
“I feel when she passed on that Sunday that she just slipped. Suicide is the easy way out and Mom always said we needed to tough it out,” Maltez said.
Maltez said he has been working diligently to cut the costs of a funeral as much as he can. He has worked with P.L. Fry and Son Funeral Home in Manteca where his cost cutting needs have been met. The quiet Ripon cemetery in the heart of that community will hopefully be the last resting place for his mom.
The 19-year-old has been working at Big League Dreams since March. He’s hoping to find something closer to school in Stockton so he won’t have to commute.
He credits his girlfriend Jocelin Vargas for being there for him and her constant support through the recent months when there was no food and his facing the traumatic times.
“I was too proud to ask for help or food but she has been there for me during the hard times,” he said.