Greetings to all,
Wishing everybody is having a nice evening at home, or at work for some. I had a wonderful day with the guys, finishing up another back yard project. It was a landscaper’s ideal weather day here in the desert, 72 degrees, partly cloudy! It was snowing back east I hear!
Yesterday I said I would share a little more of my personal life with you good folks. So here it is. Maybe it will explain me a bit more, and how I came to be the person I am today. For the better or for the worse, most of us humans are products of our environment. I am no exception to that rule, in fact, I probably epitomize it.
Both my parents have passed away within the past two years, so now I feel free to express my true feelings about my upbringing, and how it has impacted me as a person.
My parents were both Mexican nationals from the state of Sinaloa. A beautiful costal state on the pacific side of Mexico. My Father was born in Mazatlán, and my mother in a nearby village. Somehow their worlds collided some 400 miles to the north in Emplame, Sonora in 1955. At the time, my father was a 29 year old railroad worker, travelling from town to town, maintaining the steam locomotives of the day. A man of the world, he was well seasoned as a hardworking, hard drinking, ladies’ man. At his age, he was considered overdue for a wife. Especially in the macho culture of the nineteen fifties Mexico. Im sure my grandma put some pressure on him to settle down and start a family. But I think he was having too much fun being a bachelor!
My mother, on the other hand was living a miserable existence. Losing her mother at 6 years of age from tuberculosis, she and her three siblings were quickly absorbed into a readymade step family. The second oldest of twelve children, and the oldest girl, she was looking for a way out of her Cinderella like world. Forced to quit school at 8 years old to help raise her younger siblings, she was desperate to escape her plight. At fourteen, she swore to her father that the first man who winked an eye at her, she would be as good as gone! That wink of an eye belonged to my father. Again, he was 29, she was 15. Not that uncommon in their world. So they eloped to Nogales, Sonora.
That’s where mine and my sister’s lives began. The fourth of my parent’s seven children and the older of two boys. When I was 14 months old, we immigrated to Tucson. Unfortunately for my mother, she went from the frying pan to the fire. Although my father was now settled down and raising a large family, he still maintained a bachelor like life style. If a man could have his cake and eat it too, my father would have been the poster child. Again, not unheard of with our culture back then, even celebrated at times. He was a hardworking man, and never failed to provide for his family, but worked even harder at his addictions. Alcohol and women.
My mother was by no means an equal partner, but was simply there to tend to the king and his castle and to raise his offspring. My father, who in his defense was raised a child of chaos, had many demons of his own. Abusive, violent and moody, he controlled every aspect of our life. And with that, transferred his emotional baggage on to the rest of us kids. My mother bore the brunt of his dysfunction for 18 long years. Finally In 1973 she found the will to extract him from our world. I still remember the day he was asked to leave for good. It was like the entire weight of the world was lifted from our tiny little shoulders! I was 11 then, and I could say that up to that point, it was by far the happiest day of my life. Sad to say, although we were now set free from the monster that was my dad, the damage was irreversibly done. Walking wounded was what we all were. Saddled with. P.T.S.D., low self- esteem, depression and addictive tendencies to name a few. That’s what was he left in the aftermath of the failed marriage. And now my mom, 33, was a single mother of seven kids. Uneducated, unskilled, not able to drive and barley speaking any English, she went right to work as a motel maid to support her children. Never to marry again, or even date another man, she dedicated herself tirelessly to her kids and grandkids, until the day she died in 2014.
As for me, I struggled as a teenager to find my place amongst my peers. Feeling awkward and unconfident, especially around girls, I threw myself into sports. When I used to look in the mirror, I didn’t like what I saw. Most of the girls agreed! I hated taking pictures and as I grew, I manifested all my father’s physical traits. I hated being compared to him all the time. But I couldn’t escape the DNA running through out my body! I realized that I couldn’t help but look like him, but I was going to do my best not to act like him. No matter what it took!
In the eighth grade I got a part time job at the local drug store after school. I hung out with my close friends, played basketball, football and road my bike, like a normal kid. Still I longed for a father figure to share my joys and to express my fears with. By then my dad was living in California, with his new family. I knew he would not be of any help anyways.
I struggled tremendously through puberty and had to figure a lot of things out on my own. My mother was not emotionally equipped to help me deal with my load. Nor was there any other adult in my life. The same went for the rest of my siblings I suppose. Many kids the world over are experiencing the same challenges, or worse.
In high school I joined the cross-country and track team my freshman year. Finally I felt like I belonged to something special. I discovered the love of running long distances and enjoyed the fellowship with my teammates. It really helped me cope with my emotional deficiencies and kept my mind busy most of the time. Overall I could say that through those tough years, I never felt depressed or too lonely. I developed a sense of independence and self-reliance that I still carry on to this day. Running and exercising helped me get strong mentally, as well as physically. It taught me endurance, sportsmanship and perseverance.
Still, by the time I was a junior, I was missing something. I just didn’t know it, until I saw the new freshman girl on the team. Boy was she pretty, I though! I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her all the way back to school after a race. And more importantly, she was looking back at me! Dora was her name and my life was about to change forever!
So tune in next time friends, if I’ve kept your interest.
Have a pleasant evening, and thanks for your support!