By Lee Cowan, NBC News correspondent
Waukesha, WI -- As is often the case in television - there simply isn't room for everything, but what we left out of our report on Hispanic population growth tonight, is in part due to what Margaret Ramirez was reluctant to tell us.
At 76 years old - she is as independent as she is fiercely proud. When she describes her family's trek from the sweltering plains of Texas to the frigid climes of Wisconsin, she glosses over the tough parts. She'd rather not talk about her struggle to find jobs. She'd rather not talk about having to live in a crowded shack (actually a chicken coop her son told us.) She doesn't like to talk about having to forgo school for a time while she and her parents were working in the fields. And she certainly doesn't want to talk about the racism and discrimination that were her constant companions along the way.
In fact, she doesn't like to talk about obstacles at all. What she will say, and say proudly, is that she, like other Latinos at the time, never asked for anything. Not once. And they kept their culture in tact.
That sums up the Ramirez family. Good fortune has followed them to be sure. And they are the first to recognize theirs has a happy ending, while so many other Hispanic families continue to struggle, in Wisconsin and elsewhere. But they are proof that hard work, sacrifice, and family traditions, can be the armor against the obstacles.
It's not that Margaret came to Wisconsin with nothing. She came brimming with optimism, which after 76 years grew into appreciation. And that, more than anything, is what she has passed down from one generation to the next.