Thursday, June 28, 2012
My childhood bedroom looked like one of the rooms on Hoarders. There was so much stuff on my bed and on the floor. I had things like Juicy Fruit gum wrappers, a rubber chicken keychain, a Chuckie Finster keychain (come on - you know you love Rugrats), a Little Mermaid alarm clock, old shoes I forgot that I even had, marbles, socks without partners, a toy tractor, and numerous other odds and ends. I realized I had all these keepsakes of sentimental value, but I forgot whatever sentiment was attached to them, so why was I keeping them? I know that at a particular point in time, I had some sort of personal reason for keeping each item. Lately I realized that I haven't missed my Chuckie Finster keychain or the Little Mermaid alarm clock.
Okay, so I STILL couldn't dispose of certain things. I kept most of my M&M's collection; I gave some stuffed M&M's away to kids that I know. Of course, I didn't take down my skeletal system poster or the words that I taped on my wall from my bee days.
I still have my spelling bee stuff like my placard, two Webster's Third New International Dictionaries, my plaques and medals, newspaper articles, and my inflatable dictionary. I should take that inflatable dictionary to a swimming pool this summer; I'll be the coolest person there.
Of course I kept all the cassette tapes of my radio show. I was often bored as a child, so I often recorded myself into a tape recorder. I remember making my own countdown of the top five Disney songs of all time. "Under the Sea" was number two, and I honestly can't remember number one, but I'm certain it was a Lion King song.
Goodbye, junk that I haven't ever missed!
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
It’s hard when one comes (to the U.S. from Mexico).
One time when we were threshing wheat in the time of harvest, I lasted ten days without seeing my children while living with them. I would leave (the house) before six and return at eleven when everyone was in bed. I would eat and take a shower/bath. That was one of the difficult things that happened to me.
One comes and leaves everything over there. When I arrived in the U.S., I came in June and Concha’s father died two months later. I was unable to go. Eduardo Torres passed away. My brother Enrique’s wife Edubijes passed as well. All of that – one comes over here and leaves everything and everyone over there.
That day in November when they arrived to my surprise, Blanca was two years and a half old. In Mexico I had a horse carriage to help me bring fodder from the other side of the creek. My daughter Blanca regularly followed me. When she arrived here, four months without seeing me, Blanca was very bitter. We would sit at the dinner table, and she would turn and look the other way. She neither wanted to speak to me nor look at me. Little by little I won her trust again. It’s hard when one comes to the U.S. because of these unexpected things that happen.
It has gone well for everybody. I can’t complain. I have you all. We don’t have much, but we have you guys well-off. It has been worth it.
Now if I die, you don’t need me. You guys are no longer children. Why should we complain? (in other words we have no reason to complain).
Lately I have been thinking about how I miss writing and research. My nostalgia for the academic world prompted me to dig up some old papers I wrote as a grad student. I was happy to come across the following interview with my father, which I included as part of my Mexican-American autobiography my final semester in grad school. I made minimal changes, as I wanted to preserve his colloquialisms. I suppose I should translate it to English someday.
Es duro cuando uno viene.
Una vez que estabamos trillando en tiempo de harvest que le dicen aquí, duré diez días sin ver a mis hijos viviendo con ellos. Me iba antes de las seis y llegaba a las once de la noche cuando estaban acostados. Me echaba un taco y un baño. Fue una de las cosas duras que me pasó.
Se viene uno y deja todo allá. Cuando me vine yo, me vine en junio y el papá de Concha en junio se murió a los dos meses. No pude ir. Se murió Eduardo Torres, se murió la esposa de Enrique mi hermano, Edubijes. Todo eso… se viene uno, deja todo allá.
Ese día en noviembre que llegaron de sorpresa, Blanca tenía 2 años y medio. En México tenía una carreta y un caballo y iba a trae pastura al otro lado de la sequia. M’ija Blanca se mantenía atrás de mí. Cuando llegó aquí, cuatro meses sin verme, Blanca estaba muy resentida conmigo. Nos sentábamos en la mesa y volteaba a otro lado. No quería hablarme ni verme. Ya poco a pasito me fue otra vez agarrando confianza. Es duro cuando uno viene por estas cosas inesperadas que pasan.
A todos les ha ido bien. No me quejo. Los tengo a ustedes. No tenemos nada, pero los tenemos a ustedes muy bien acomodados. Ha valido la pena.
Ya si me muero, ya no me necesitan. Ya no están chiquitos. ¿Pa’ que nos quejamos?