I'm a Texas boy (now a man). Born in the Rio Grande Valley (South Texas), a place and at a time that has played a very important part in my life. And because of that, I write about my experiences and about growing up in Texas a lot. It was a different time. A different America. And I saw the best and worst of life and of living, growing up along the Rio Grande. This is just one memory of a lifetime of moments that made me who I am, and why I am.


 By A. Garcia-Garcia

It was the breeze and the wind gusting and drifting over the fields of green, and the rain that quenched the earthen thirst, like a mother bird feeding its young, that I remember as a boy, growing up in the valley along the Rio Grande.  The budding cotton plants like miniature flailing arms reaching to the sky, and the aroma of rain and dampened earth, potent and intoxicating.  That was life on a farm for a young brown boy, whose dreams were merely sketches of unfilled and unlived memories yet to be.  It was pure innocence.  Pure joy.  It was the simplicity.  It was the plainness and unassuming quality and texture of life being lived and shared.

We were poor at the time, I found out later, as I grew and matured.  Yet, I never felt poor, nor in need of anything.  Far from it.  For my parents taught me to share and to give to those in need and those less fortunate than us.  We were Americans.  That I always knew.  But, what I didn’t know at the time, was that we were inferior.  That we were the obedient, compliant, docile laborers and “braceros,” simply because of the color of our skin, and the origins of our ancestors.  So simple, and yet so wrong.  And as a young boy, I never knew I was supposed to have been less in every way, than Tommy, Sue or Betty Jane.  We were in a league of our own – Juanita, Tomas, and yes, me, Alejos.  And I never realized as a young boy, that to the world around me, I didn’t matter.  I didn’t count.  I was insignificant as a human being.  But even today, all I remember about being a young boy in the valley along the Rio Grande, was the breeze and the wind, and the rain, and the potent fragrance of nature in all its simplicity and beauty.  And of course, family.  Those were the days that outlined the character of me, and the very soul of me.

How strange and even sad, to look back in time and realize the brevity of life, and the unfair and unjust moments that linger a lifetime, in the mind of a young boy.  As a boy, I couldn’t wait to grow up and to experience the world around me.  Little did I know or realize, how fast life goes by.  One moment I am that innocent, naïve young boy, the next, I am my parents’ dream come true.  The passing years, the fading seasons, like blurs of racing cars along a wet and rainy road.  Horns honking, tires squealing, and the radio blaring “oldies but goodies.”  We reach that time, when memories become good friends, and family and friends begin to fade away, leaving that young boy that I was not so long ago, alone in a field of dreams. 

When dies the wind, dies the dream.  And I am the dream that came to be, and the wind is winding down, and memories lived and shared now fill the outline of my being, with color, substance and radiance.  Having been poor as a young boy, and being brown and of Mexican origin, were my two badges of courage.  They were the wounds inflicted by time and by circumstance as a test of my strength and my character.  Other wounds and gashes were intentionally, or possibly unknowingly, inflicted by those around me who could not accept the possibility or clarity of equality, of acceptance, of fairness.  And I bare the scars, like so many like me, of a lifetime of living with the prejudices of others.

And it is when I feel and see the breeze and the wind gusting and drifting over the fields of green in my Valley by the Rio Grande, and when I feel and hear the rain come down, like tears of fading and dying fears that no longer frighten or terrify, that I remember so well each moment of my boyhood, and of growing up in the valley that formed and shaped the man that I became, and helped complete the dream that my parents had of me. 

Submitted: May 19, 2023

© Copyright 2023 A. Garcia-Wiltse. All rights reserved.

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