Tag: Mexico


Bracero’s Hands

By Celia Viramontes

"...As they labored for days and weeks, Don Luis and the men awaited their check. But it never came. He and his buddies hankered to leave. They fished into their pockets for bus fare, but nothing turned up. ..."


Sounds of Home

By Celia Viramontes

"...When he’d settled in, he opened the gifts. Swatches of cloth, clothes and a brown rectangular object spilled out. His daughter traced with her finger the letters engraved on the radio: P-H-I-L-C-O. That night, the voices of Pedro Infante and Lola Beltrán flowed from the speakers, singing of love and loss. ..."


City in Flames

By Cristian Vasquez

"... Our drive home from the freeway usually took 10 minutes, but that afternoon the streets overflowed with angry people armed with rocks, bottles and milk crates. The red light at Main Street and Century Boulevard was the first to trap us. The mob hurled bottles, rocks and any heavy object at our car. An uncoordinated “No justice, no peace!” chant pierced our closed windows. Dad and Uncle Heli looked in every direction, scanning for anyone trying to approach the car. A rioter tried opening the door to the car in front of us. ..."


Fruit of Labor

Celia Viramontes

"... As the sun peeked above the Ventura skyline, a sweet aroma cut through the haze. Workers set up a table, spreading it with bread and coffee. They sat there – braceros and firefighters together – atop the hillside, amid the embers. Don Luis poured a cup of coffee and bit into the bread. It filled his empty stomach. Then he and his buddies followed the foreman for the downhill trek and drive back to the bracero camp, where lemons and oranges waited to be picked. ..."


Toque de Chicharra

By Miguel Roura

"... Dressed in khaki pants and plaid shirt, the Guadalajara city cop carefully handled the electric wand, stepped over the wet floor, and with sadistic sarcasm repeated the question. “You want another hit of the chicharra? On the city streets of Guadalajara, local tokers taught me to associate the chicharra - the cicada - with ‘catching a buzz’ and getting high; taco vendors served these insects fried. But at that instant the incisive sound and sensation of the cattle prod was added to my personal vocabulary. With that, I broke. I took the police to the apartment of a university student I’d met at a wedding named Marco, with whom I’d smoked a joint. ..."


Aureliano and Esther

By Maria Fernandez

"... The gun battle that followed between the the Salcedas and the Valdovinos left only one wounded man on the Valdovinos's side; but nothing was ever the same. Most of the Valdovinos clan had to move to another town. Aureliano's family home and his father's land had to be sold. Aureliano missed his friends, and working on his father's fields, but more than anything he missed Esther. ..."


The Tracks Home

By Celia Viramontes

"...But braceros murmured late at night. Some fellow villagers, ill or injured, hadn’t returned after a stint on other U.S railroads. Wives and mothers had implored officials in both countries, eager to learn the fate that had awaited their husbands and sons in El Norte. Still, Don Luis and his buddies toiled where Chinese and Irish laborers once had. ..."


The Blue Serpent

By Maria Fernandez " ... One night, mom and dad noticed a surreal blue shape climbing one of the walls inside the house. This shape resembled a small serpent. They looked around the room trying to find a source for what they were seeing. Nothing. When it appeared to them a second time they panicked a little more. `It wants to show us where the other treasures are,' said my mom. But my dad was not about to start digging for treasure after what Jose told him. ..."


Rosa

By Anonymous

"...Two years have passed and still no one has seen Rosalba Andrade. She was kidnapped soon after her 46th birthday, and has not reappeared. Her houses, cars, clothes, and other property have been divided among those who envied her and befriended her. Even her own family has stripped away at her riches. ..."


Un Mitote Mas

By Miguel Roura

"... Suddenly a fog rolled in and enveloped the car. My thoughts dissipated in its mist. I felt lost. I waited for Nico to return. The night noises grew, augmenting with my breath and heartbeat. Tittering to myself, I suppressed the prayer I knew could save me, but I didn’t want to sell out my recently acquired agnosticism. ..."


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By Manuel Chaidez

"I have always been awkward. The doctor who held me as an infant said I was squinting too much so he ordered me some baby glasses; they had a black thick frame. Some people ask me if they are the ones I wear now but I’ll never tell. ..."


Leaving Tijuana

By Brian Rivera

"... We stopped at a mini-mall in San Ysidro. Blocks away, were parking lots for individuals who preferred to walk across the border. Oscar stayed with Luis. Luis handed me his birth certificate and his California I.D. I gave him a hug. He gave me his blessing. ..."


Bending Branches

By Olivia Segura

"...The braceros understood very little. They talked among themselves trying to make sense of the situation. Some talked about deserting and going back to Mexico. Miguel learned one of the men from his home state had died. He heard of others near death. ..."


Stepping Foot On The Moon

By Susanna (Whitmore) Fránek

"...It was meant to be my first day of high school. I never stepped foot on campus. From there she dropped me at the house of another friend, who drove me to the border two days later. While some San Fernando Valley girls my age were preparing for their Sweet Sixteen parties in frilly dresses, I was planning an unlawful international border crossing. ..."


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By Eric Franco Aguilar

"...The journey up north was made easy by the human smugglers who were then abundant in her town. Laura, a woman from her hometown, met her at the bus station. Small in stature, large in confidence, the young Laura was an experienced human smuggler, and that day she was Margarita’s guide. ..."


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By C.J. Salgado

"... During onemagical night as a little girl, my mother heard the sound of the ears of corn brushing against each other, and saw the tassels of the corn swaying in the wind, as if waving her onward. She promised that night to God and herself, she tells me now, that one day she would go. In time, my mother came to loathe her life on the ranch. “No hay vida,” she would say to herself. ..."


Crossing One Day

By Brian Rivera

"... We rented a room the color of mint ice cream in Ciudad Juárez. The room had a black rooftop and was equipped with a bathroom. We used the living room as a bedroom and our kitchen was a sink inside a narrow hallway. The living room took up most of our living space. ..."


Cardboard Box Dreams: A Bracero’s Story

By Celia Viramontes

"... They left the station and soon found themselves on a street on the outskirts of Empalme. A man summoned them over. He stood outside his yard pointing to trash cans on the side of his home, a water hose, and a littered sidewalk. `Clean the debris and trash from the sidewalk. Use a water hose to wash it all out. Just be sure to not splatter too much mud.' ...”


Carmen

By Jacqueline Gonzalez Reyes

"...Then one day she called home and no one answered. She called from different phones. Still no answer. She kept calling. She waited six months and went to Mexico. In her town, her mother told her that her kids now ran away from her when they saw her. ..."


Song For The Living

By Diego Renteria

"... above the mantelpiece was a large framed portrait of a boy no more than twelve years old. He looked down on everyone, eternally smiling for a school portrait, his hair spiky and clad in a gray school polo shirt. On a nearby stool were a backpack and some toys. On the mantelpiece was an unwrapped tamal, a glass of milk, and two cookies. The couches were arranged to face his portrait. I knew what song they would request and secretly hoped I was wrong. ..."



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