From Cali to colonia

HARLINGEN — In defiance of the literary axiom, Joann Bonini showed you can go home again.

Bonini originally is from Illinois, but Harlingen is where she spent almost half her time growing up in a family of Winter Texans.

She attended classes at Harlingen High School for years, as did her siblings, and her memories of the Valley remain sharp.

Now living in Sacramento, she decided that history would serve as inspiration to bring four 15-year-old boys from California’s capital city to the border.

She felt they should experience what it’s like to be poor on the Rio Grande. So this past week, she and they worked in a colonia in NuevoProgreso, helping fix up a home and delivering much-needed supplies to residents.

Bonini, whose maiden name was Potthoff, said they had a contact in the area, Sister Maureen Crosby with the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville. Bonini called her, and “she called right back, she was so excited.”

“She said there is so much to be done, and it’s hard to get help,” Bonini said yesterday from her mother’s home in Harlingen. “Most of her help now is Winter Texans, but it’s a short duration, about three or four months.”

For the rest of this story and many other EXTRAS, go to our premium site,

Subscribe to it for only $6.99 per month or purchase a print subscription and receive the online version free, which includes an electronic version of the full newspaper and extra photo galleries, links and other information you can’t find anywhere else.