This I Believe

KUHF-Houston Public Radio’s “This I Believe” with Lanie Alvarez

Lanie is a native of Pittsburgh but for the last 20 years or so, she, her husband and their four children have called Pecan Grove and Richmond in Fort Bend County, home. In her essay for KUHF’s This I Believe, Lanie shares a personal experience that benefitted from the innocence of the family’s youngest member.


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Lanie is a breast cancer survivor and that experience changed her perspective about her everything in her life. She now concerns herself with things that truly matter and those that will really last. She no longer wants to waste time on trivial matters and what time she has, she wants to enjoy as much as possible. Other than her family, the one thing that occupies a lot of Lanie’s time is a family-owned restaurant. Lanie and her brother own and operate the Italian Maid Café at 300 Morton Street in Richmond. Lanie would welcome a visit.

Here’s Lanie Alvarez with her essay for KUHF’s This I Believe.
“Ever since I can remember, I have believed in the power of innocence.

In the Bible, Jesus says to receive the kingdom of God like a little child. I’ve always taken that to mean, without prejudice or judgment, or opinion.

I have a new grandbaby. Her name is Sofia. She is mixed race half-white, half-black. When my daughter announced she would be marrying a black Dutch man, my husband and I didn’t have a problem with it, but my mother, who is 89 years old, did.

My children and I tried various arguments, explaining to her that her nationality, Italian, is a mixture of North African and Arabic. She loves my husband, so we explained to her that his nationality, Venezuelan, is a mixture of black, white and Indian. All my friends said there’d be no chance of changing her mind.

Last April, shortly after Sofia, was born, Sofia, my daughter and son-in-law moved back to this country from Holland. My elderly mother came for an extended visit a few months later. When I picked her up from Intercontinental Airport, I brought Sofia with me. On that hour-long drive home, my mother sat with her great-granddaughter in the back seat playing, talking, singing and laughing out loud with her. My mother was fascinated that Sofia could imitate her, and proclaimed her a genius.

What amazes me was that within a few short minutes, the innocence of this little baby had won over a woman, who for 89 years had held to her convictions of about how the races were supposed to behave. The language that they spoke to each other did not include reasoning, debate or argument. Nevertheless, that conversation transformed one person’s entire belief system.

I believe that in Sofia’s lifetime, others will also be transformed, by her complete lack of self-consciousness about race, which is to say, her innocence. And may that same innocence be rekindled and preserved in all of us for the betterment of mankind.

This is my hope and belief.”