I never took an admiration to my parents always thought they just nagged and nagged at me. Well I have but not in this point of view.
I come from a Mexican decent. And I have always been proud of it, but unlike some families in the state with a Hispanic decent, I was brought up in a house, with the basic luxuries, cars, a green lawn, toys, warmth, clothing, food,education, my parents put me in many extra activities and hobbies, I guess that whole dream with the white picket fence (except ours is brown).
I never looked before those years though, the struggles my parents endured to move forward, to Americanize and become one with society. Learn another language with not much of an education, leave their families behind, and attempt to make it on their own. It is America, you either make it or you don’t.
I hear so many jokes around my generation, and so many stereo types. It is frustrating and gets me so worked up. They don’t know my past, my parents past my families past. Don’t know what other parents had to go through to get here. People look down upon us sometimes, think that we are just here to steal and take everything. Girls getting pregnant at such young ages, men are just worthless alcoholics.
I know for one thing, neither of my parents came with their papers, didn’t have them. Came here as they would say “perros mojados” (wet dogs) a slang term used for illegal immigrants, of course after time they got their passports and papers.
Dad: “Do you know how I came here? No? Well, I was just about your age maybe a littler older 18 or 19, I told my parents I was going to come here to the states to make more money to send back, to help my other siblings. (now here is where I asked how did you come here) I met with a group near the boarder of Mexico, Coyotes we call them, they are guides That help you cross at night, very dangerous if you are not careful because if you get lost that is it, it is every man for themselves. So they brought us all to another person, we traveled always at night and hid in bushes, holes, anything to cover us up in the day time. Cold nights and very dry. ( here is where I asked, so did you get there?) We got caught near the boarder and we were all just sent back, security wasn’t as heavy as it is today. I was tempted to try again though, so I did, exactly the say way as I had done before, and I made it over. To california it was, and you know how I lived there for a couple months? Down in the valleys, with other immigrants from Mexico, Living in tents and in unbearable weather conditions, cold frosted nights and mornings, living in the fear that we will get caught or maybe killed by others. I guess I am not that great at hiding out *chuckle* I ended up being caught again and this time I wasn’t just sent back. They sent me to jail for three days and then on my way again back to Mexico. ( I know it is not very nice, but I had a bit of a laugh at hearing that my father went to jail, one of the most loving, respectable, well mannered, easy temper men you could ever meet! He doesn’t even look Mexican because where he is from in (the northern part of Mexico) people have fair skin and colored eyes.)
After sending me back, like they say Third time is the charm, I went to New York and found a room up for rent, I roomed with your uncle, that is how your mother and I met actually. I started off taking classes of english at community school, worked shifts at restaurants as bus boy, waiter and eventually staff at cooking. Slowly moved my way up. And whatever money I made I kept a little of it and sent the rest to your Ma Pillita (that is what we call my grandmother). Later on when the building was shut down, I moved into construction, and I have been there ever since, working. That is the only way you can move forward, Education and working hard.
Now the only reason we had gotten into this topic about his whole early life was because he was giving me one of his “school is very important” lecture and how “working hard is the only way you can survive”, while driving home from my music class. I always remembered it, probably one of the greatest stories I ever heard and I wish I had gotten more details.
My mother on the other hand is a bit vague, I never heard her tell me herself but when I went to Mexico I discovered so many things about my mother’s past from family and relatives that I never even knew about. I suppose that is the great thing when you travel. Learn not only what is around you but about the people that have shaped you into who you are.
Mom: She was only 16 years old when she flew over, no papers, nothing. She used a fake passport that a family friend had made for her, who also agreed to fly over with her to meet up with her brother, who later on returned to Mexico, due to the lack of jobs. She went to California and took care of children as a nanny and assisted in the kitchen with cooking. (my mom now has her own catering business, and let me tell you she is one great cook). Later after she moved to New York and worked as a cleaning maid and a care-taker.
My grandmother was so upset and worried for my mother, hoping well
1. That she would not be deported back.
2. Not marrying a gringo hahaha
She was very thrilled with my father though, called her a lucky woman to have a man like him in her life. 🙂
That is all I got from my grandmother before she was off to feed her birds and tend her garden.
In other words, my parents stories made me realize that I am lucky to have such history and culture behind me. That everything they have done is for the best of my future, they didn’t want my sister and I to go through the same things they did. They came here with nothing and slowly they were able to grow and turn that nothing into a home and a loving family.
So thank you mom and dad, for everything you guys have done for me.