Today, her grandson Joseph is 86, and he's sharing his own memories of Ascencion Solorsano with a different sort of translator: an opera singer.
Mezzo-soprano Helene Joseph-Weil is a music professor at Fresno State. She first learned about Ascencion Solorsano 20 years ago, when she saw a picture of her in the San Francisco Chronicle.
"I was so moved by it," Joseph-Weil says. "And there was something about her photo that just mesmerized me, that I suddenly said: 'I have to sing her. How can I sing her?'"
Along with award-winning composer Benjamin Boone, a fellow Fresno State professor, she is working to put Ascencion Solorsano's oral history into a piece called Ascencion. They're calling it an "ethno-historical cantata."