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Ralph Peralez

Ralph Peralez

An Organizational Psychologist and storyteller who grew up in Pompey’s Pillar, Montana.

Born: Pompey’s Pillar, MT, United States
Heritage: Mexican

I am fortunate that all seven grandchildren, well, first of all, my two sons got to see me going to college so they know that I crack the books and on and on. So they were familiar with that. Now, they are parents and they in return are continuing going to school, continuing education, getting their masters and on and on so their children get to see them struggle and study and write and all that kind of stuff. But what I tell them and that’s what I tell them, it’s the excitement of learning. And they’ve picked that up - the excitement of learning.

Ralph Peralez

An Organizational Psychologist and storyteller who grew up in Pompey’s Pillar, Montana.

Bien venidos damas y caballeros. My name is Ralph Rava Peralez. I was born on the 16th of July, in Pompey’s Pillar, Montana. My dad’s name is Bentura and his parents came from Spain and landed in Mexico. My mom’s name is Anita and she is Mexican Puebla.

As children we were not allowed to speak in Spanish in school. At our home Mom and Dad and everybody spoke Spanish. My belief is that language is the lubricant of culture. If you know your language of whatever that heritage is, then you understand the nuances and the subtleties that only your culture has.

I went to school in Warden, Montana. There’s a family of eight children, mom, dad, and eight kids. Three bedroom house. We had to carry water, what would be equivalent to one city block and use it for dishes, cleaning, bathing. I was in sports in junior high when I was introduced to a shower. I went to high school, started my own dance band called the Galaxy.

I joined the Navy right out of high school and they wanted me to sweep and swab. So I spoke to the officer and convinced him that what the ship needs is a ship’s band. He loved that idea. Before you know it, we had a ship’s band. I surrounded myself with competent musicians. I am the enlisted person in charge of the band. So for two years, I played saxophone.

In the Navy was my first taste of racism. In Montana, we knew there were differences, but it was subtle. In the Navy I was given three blanket parties - when a blanket is tossed on you and punching and kicking take place. I didn’t want any more blanket parties. One morning I start telling my shipmates, “I’m Hawaiian.” I became a Hawaiian and people really liked me.

I get out of the Navy and I go back to Montana. It didn’t take long till I drifted to Minneapolis. I met my lovely wife of 46 years. Two years later we got married. I had my first boy named Ralph and my second son, Richard. One of them’s a schoolteacher at Cherokee Elementary in St. Paul, the other guy’s a minister in South Sioux City, Nebraska. I’m the proud grandpappy of seven grandkids.

Married, with two boys, at the age of 28, I started at the University of St. Thomas. I worked as a sales rep for 3M Company. I decided to go back to school. I got a Masters in Marriage & Family Therapy. I’m a therapist by training. I wind up using my storytelling. I did this and got a job in child protection. I have a side business in anger management. For 12 years I’ve been working in anger management. I love learning. At the age of 60, I decided to get a doctorate in organizational psychology.


Todas Mis Historias Son Verdad

Honoring Ralph Peralez

Todas Mis Historias Son Verdad
(Honoring Ralph Peralez)

Todas mis historias son verdad
Todas mis historias son verdad
To know your language
is to know your heritage
To know the nuances,
the subtleties of what is
I grew up in Montana,
but not allowed to speak
Spanish in Pompey Pillars, only English

Todas mis historias son verdad
But still I learned Spanish,
from my family, you know
I never knew racism until I left home
When I joined the Navy,
when they threw
A blanket over my head,
beat me black and blue

Todas mis historias son verdad
Don’t let no one stop you
Reach up for the stars
Mathematics, science, writing
Playing guitar

Li – Li – Li – Li – Li – Li – Li

After the Navy, I fell in love
Married, had two boys, three gifts from above love
Went onto college and got my degree
A Doctorate in Psychology

Todas mis historias son verdad

Always do your best
To be all that can be
In everything you do
This I do believe!

Li – Li – Li – Li – Li – Li – Li

To love and to learn
Is what life is about
With Seven grandchildren
Can’t help but scream and shout

Li – Li – Li – Li – Li – Li – Li

To control your anger
To control your tongue
To be free from fear
Is to know how to love

Li – Li – Li – Li – Li – Li – Li

To know how to love

Todas mis historias son verdad
Todas mis historias son verdad

Music by LARRY LONG. Words by LARRY LONG with Brooke Lundgren’s 7th Grade Class, Sanford Middle School, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

© Larry Long 2010 / BMI