By Nina Duran
La Prensa de San Antonio.- Who is San Antonio’s First Lady? I sat at The Lighthouse Cafe on McCullough Avenue, anticipating my interview with Mrs. Erica Castro. She arrived on time wearing a beautiful purple, black and white dress. She was poised; lovely in every sense of the word. Before our interview began, we chatted briefly about the little things in life, that which we had in common.
I had a select number of questions to ask the wife of the youngest mayor in an American city. As a mother, teacher, wife and member of several boards, Erica definitely knows a few things about being an individual and staying true to one’s self.
Every word she spoke had meaning. With Erica behind San Antonio Mayor, Julian Castro, the Alamo City is on its way to a brighter future.
LP: So Mrs. Erica, were you born and raised here in San Antonio, TX?
EC: Yes. I always say that I’m as local as they get. I went to Harlandale High School and grew up in that district as well. From there, I went to UTSA and got both my undergrad and grad degree. Then I taught at Harlandale for 7 years which was very rewarding since I was able to see through the eyes of the students, having grown up there in that area. Now I work at Northside ISD as a math specialist.
LP: Were you a hometown celebrity while teaching at Harlandale?
EC: The students would get so excited when they saw Julian’s sign during his campaign. They were able to make the connection since I taught there. Had I not, I think they would have paid less attention. I don’t think they would have cared as much. But, they were much more aware of it.
LP: So tell me, how did you and Julian meet?
EC: It just so happened that the first night he came in town from his first year of law school for summer vacation, we went out to the Fox and the Hound. One of my girlfriends who I was out with had already been telling me about this ‘Julian guy’. She told me, there was this guy who went to Harvard that she wanted me to meet. Well, he showed up and recognized her and came over to talk. That was May 20, 1999. We just celebrated 10 years of knowing each other.
LP: When did you two get engaged?
EC: We just celebrated our 2 year anniversary June 30th.
LP: How did he propose?
EC: We went to The Tower of the Americas. Since it was my birthday it wasn’t out of the ordinary that we went to a nice dinner. He had this gift bag with him and he wouldn’t let go of it. Then I noticed that there was this table full of people in front of us and as soon as they got up, he gave me the bag. So, keep in mind my birthday is in August. I looked in the bag and pulled out a leather jacket. I’m thinking, ‘ok, what’s this?’
Then he hands me a birthday card and he wants me to read it. I open it and on the top it said WILL YOU MARRY ME. I looked up and at that point, he already had the ring in his hand.
LP: Did you know when you met Julian that he would be this involved in politics or that he would one day run for mayor?
EC: Oh yeah, I knew. Right off the bat he talked about one day running. He wanted to run for city council and then for mayor. But at that time I was 21. I had no clue about politics and had never been involved. I was naÃ¯ve in that sense, so I had no idea what that entailed. He could have told me he was doing anything else, and I would have never known. Then one day I went to visit him in Cambridge and in his law school dorm, he had the District 7 city map up on his wall. So yes, he was very clear.
LP: Was there ever a point when it became a reality for you? When you knew this was going to happen?
EC: When he ran for city council the first time we were still boyfriend/girlfriend, so I still didn’t really feel the pressure of what this would bring on. It wasn’t until he won the mayoral election when I was married to him that I felt the pressure for the first time.
Needless to say, this year has been an adjustment year. Having our daughter, him winning the election and then going back to work has been tough.
Finish reading the interview with San Antonio’s First Lady at Keeping up with the Castro’s
Keeping up with the Castro’s: LP’s one-on-one interview with San Antonio’s First Lady, Erica Castro
By Nina Duran