Growing up in Monmouth, Lupe and her five siblings spent much of their time playing outside or attending school. In the section of her autobiography entitled "Summer Evenings," Lupe details a typical evening playing outside with the neighborhood children: "When we were growing up on the Avenue - West 6th Avenue - on summer evenings young kids and even teenagers would meet under the Arc Lights. We call them streetlights now. We played games like 'hide and seek,' 'Red Rover,' and other games where we chose teams. We were very diplomatic about choosing young as well as older kids for each team without being prompted by a supervising adult. We took care of ourselves. Our parents never seemed to worry about us as they could always look out their front doors and see us all playing together under the lights." Lupe's parents did not speak any English in their home, but Lupe learned the language while enrolled at Willits School in Monmouth. Although Lupe could not recall who taught her first phrase in English, she had very fond memories of speaking the only English words she knew in her early childhood: "Since Monmouth's airport was one of the earliest in the state of Illinois, we sometimes had small planes flying - what we thought were quite low over our neighborhood. I don't know who taught us our first phrases in English - probably one of the older children who undoubtedly attended Willits School as did some of the other cousins. Anyway, when a plane would fly over, all of us children would yell as loudly as we could, 'Hey Mister, give me a ride!'"