Gifts From My Parents

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley in the 1950 and early 1960s as a Hispanic had its challenges, even as a kid, but especially for parents. Money was tight. Jobs scarce. And brown-skinned people like me were not necessarily fully accepted or appreciated.

GIFTS FROM MY PARENTS

By Al Garcia

Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley in the 1950 and early 1960s as a Hispanic had its challenges, even as a kid, but especially for parents.  Money was tight.  Jobs scarce.  And brown-skinned people like me were not necessarily fully accepted or appreciated. 

Necessity is the mother of invention.  And in the 1950s and 1960s in the Rio Grande Valley, necessity reared its ugly head at every turn for struggling Chicanos/Hispanics trying to scratch out an existence for their families.  My family was no exception. 

I remember my early years growing up at Rio Farms near Hargil, Texas.  My father was a tenant farmer, my mother a full-time housewife and mother.  And I, I was the little boy that kept Mom on her toes all day long. 

From what I was told, I was quite a talker and always on the go as a young boy.  I was always exploring and finding new things to play with.  Mom would spend hours with me, reading to me and teaching me Bible songs.  I remember that as early as 4 or 5 yeas of age I would grab a pile of magazines and books Mom kept around the house and I would put them under my arm and I’d tell her I was going to school, and that I was going to go wait for the school bus.  A school bus drove by our house out on the farm every morning.  She would kiss me on the head and would watch as I walked outside with the books under my arm.  The bus would just pass by as usual and I would wave, and then I’d return to the house with my books, sit on the floor and start browsing through them as I did every morning. 

Not having store-bought toys, Mom and I would improvise.  Each day we would create something new for me to play with.  Each day I was allowed to go outside and explore the wonders of nature around me.  I saw cows in the pasture, dogs playing and horses grazing.  I had my homemade swing hanging off the old Mesquite tree, next to the old car tire also hanging from a rope.  And then there were the hot homemade cookies always made and brought out to me while I played outside.  What else could a kid ask for?  I felt I had everything.

And I continued to grow, and eventually I did get on that school bus that passed our house.  And Mom would wait outside with me and wave until I was far away. 

I look back now and can only imagine how my parents must have felt brining me up on that farm away from store-bought toys and simple luxuries enjoyed by other kids my age.  Yet I never missed them, nor did I ever ask for them, because I didn’t even know they made such things.  I had my Mom’s magazines and books, all the toys I could create myself, and the whole outdoors to play in.  I felt like the luckiest kid around.

Now, I know why I felt that way.  It was because Mom and Dad gave me the greatest upbringing any kid could ask for.  They gave me the gifts of curiosity and imagination at an age that allowed me to begin to think, to create, to imagine and to enjoy the world and the people around me, and I was still just a little kid. 

It is those gifts from my parents that still enrich my life today.  For I continue to think, create, imagine and enjoy the world and the people around me, but in a different light.  All thanks to my parents instilling in me from childhood a sense of wonderment and awe in my little mind before I knew that someday I would grow up, look back at those days, and wish that they had never ended. 


Submitted: June 10, 2021

© Copyright 2021 A.Garcia. All rights reserved.

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