Thursday, July 6, 2017

La Tiendita

It was the late 1970s - two young adults (in their early 20s) were new to America, raising two toddlers. The woman was a homemaker; the man was the bread winner. He worked in the fields, picking fruit, all kinds of fruit, shifting from farm to farm throughout the Central Valley as the seasons changed. During spring time that year it rained for far too long - there was no work for the young man - he had no savings and no money to buy groceries for his wife and children. He felt nervous going home empty handed; he walked down to the corner store, on 8th and F Street, and asked the man behind the counter if he would be willing to lend him enough money to feed his wife and kids.

The man behind that counter, my dad says his name was Rogelio, gave my dad a box and told him to fill it with enough groceries for himself and his family. My dad says that he filled that box with the basics: milk, rice, beans, potatoes, tortillas and as soon as my dad found work he went back and paid Rogelio for the borrowed groceries - my dad says it came out to about $20 dollars back then. I think from then on my dad learned to save money - or at least hide money from himself.

My dad tells me this story from time to time; today I asked him to share it again. This story humbles me - when I complain about my job, about not having enough money or buying things I don't need -  I remember this: my parents came to this country with nothing and they accomplished their American Dream. I am part of that American Dream - because they gave me opportunity.

Below is a photo of what the grocery store looks like now; ironically it is a grocery store again - it has been a movie rental place and ice cream shop.

No comments:

Post a Comment