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Stuff We did #1

This blog goes way back to the inner recesses of my mind’s memory.

 I’m really tryin’ to remember details.

 From our beginning @ Albores Courts. 

 Our Mother, along with our relatives the Guzmán family moved into this government subsidized housing project from the time they were originally built, possibly the early ’50s.

 Life during this time was basically carefree. Working class families doing their best to provide for their families.

 We had quite a lot of characters at Albores.

  Some examples are:

 Don Lupe & his wife Emilia.

 Don Lupe sold fruits & vegetables to make a living.In between his gigs, he’d get smashed drunk on beer. Emilia, like a good wife put up with him.

 The kids, little rascals we were, would board his truck when we knew Don Lupe had fruit on it.

 We enjoyed Rrriiipppin’ him off from plums, grapes, oranges,tangerines,apples,. peaches,pears, strawberries, etc.

 Smart kids that we were, we’d stake lookouts.We’d wait til Don Lupe was DrUnK to his ass, before we snuck onto his truck.

 Sometimes we’d do it the easy way & ask Doña Emilia for Don Lupe. She’s unknowingly tell us he was asleep. Sometimes we’d 

 ask her straight out, “is he drunk,again?”

 She’s say yes, & we’d give the signal to the others.

 Don Lupe would sometimes wake up after being told by Doña Emilia. Ha!

 He’d go ballistic! Yellin’ like a madman, “Ey! huercos! Abajensé de esa Troca!”

 Sometimes Don Lupe would threaten to shoot us with his .22 pistol. He did once, we ran like the wind.

 “Yes, Don Lupe, as soon as we take all your fruit, we will”.


Johnny’s Truckin’ years

  Johnny began truck driving from a young age, probably 16-17 years. 

 Johnny would ride shotgun learning the ropes from career truckers, some which were our father’s aquaintances or friends.

 Old school Truckers who used their monikers instead of their actual names.

 Handles such as: El Pepino & La Chalupa. Pablo Garcia used his.

 Whenever people heard their handles,they usually knew which truckers.

 Johnny often spoke about his learning experiences, travels, & places he’d been.

 Also talked about the harrowing, dangerous highways & interstates throughout the U.S.

 The mountains & passes he went through.

  Johnny would say the only way he learned was by actual experience.

 He drove all types of eighteen wheelers. Johnny drove for many trucking companies.




Stuff Johnny & I did part #2

  Life in the 60’s livin’ in a housing project had its good & bad, ups & downs.

  After kids grew into teens, they felt they needed to branch out & leave their environs.

  At that time, everybody knew everybody & watched out for each other.

  Basically, the Albores was a safe place. People could actually leave doors unlocked.

  I remember even our uncle Lalo would leave his key in his car’s ignition.

 What to do on a weekend, we’d always wonder.

  The usual chores by ever creative parents who didn’t want their kids to get into any trouble with too much time on their hands. Come on! 

 “Can’t we have some fun?”

 Well, we could go get some oranges across the canal. Every kid would tuck their tee shirt in their pants & filled it with nice sweet oranges or navels. 

  Or,we could hitch a ride from the back of a pickup with our bicycle.

  The neighborhood kids from the project would gather across the street on an empty lot to play softball, usually or bigger guys, hardball.

 After a while, even this form of recreation became monotonous. 

 So,the bad influence guys, those wanting some excitement or cheap thrills began to put ideas in our heads.Hmm!


  Why don’t we go steal hubcaps? After a while, that got boring.

 So we started to switch people’s car hubcaps to other cars!

 Anything for laughs.

  Then the older kids got bolder. They heard that there was different colored tapes @ a local packing shed.The window on second level was open.

 What are small brothers for, but being volunteered to be the acrobatic monkey to climb through the window.

 Devil may care. 

 I climbed through it & began to ask the guys below what color did they want? Being a kid, I didnt know what I was doing & it didnt matter.

 To me, it was all about having fun.

 The guys below were having a fit.”Just grab as many as you can!” “Doesn’t matter!”

 So I did.Flung the thin rolls of tape out the window.

 Next thing you know, everybody’s bicycle rims were all taped in various colors. OMGawsh!

 Johnny & I used to attend Sacred Heart Catholic church for Sunday mass.

 I didn’t like the fact that our mother forced us to.

 I resisted as much as possible.

 Since we came from NO income(as opposed to “low income) every Sunday, our Mother placed her/our “limosna”(a monetary offering to the church)in a small envelope, courtesy of the church.

 Johnny & me always wondered about this.

 Me,always being the culprit, would tell Johnny I was not pleased with this setup.

 ” Why are we going hungry while these bozos live it up?”Something to that effect.

 So next Sunday when Johnny & I went to church, guess what we did?

 We tore the envelope, took the money, bought goodies & snacks for us.

 Didnt help the fact that the store was conveniently located by the church.

 Candy, cokes, gum, cinnamon rolls,chips.

 We got so bad that when there was a dollar in the envelope, we would actually get change from it.

 “How much today, Johnny?”.50¢ he’d tell his little bro.

 Next time. ” How much today, Johnny?”.75¢ for us. We’d have a feast & laugh about it.

Stuff Johnny & I did

  Johnny & me were your typical brothers, together & sometimes clashing.

  Being four years older than me really didnt matter to me.

  Johnny always one to hustle to make some money,ordered all kinds of stuff to sell.

  In the 60’s there were money making opportunities in comic magazines & young Johnny did his part to cash in.

  Some kids in the neighborhood were selling Bell salve & making quarters on each one. 

  Many of them began to actually compete who could sell more & faster.

  Never to be outdone, Johnny ordered some. Obviously being his kid brother, he “volunteered” me to help him sell.

  “Why do I have to sell this crap! YOU ordered it!” I’d tell him.

  Johnny would answer, “cause we need to help Mom, & need money”.

  This guy went overboard.

  Next, he ordered seeds of flowers for planting.

  OMGaw$h! I’d wonder, is this guy losin’ his marbles.”?

  Johnny also ordered a small newspaper called ‘Grit’.

  Of course there was the familiar Columbia record club. 

  Johnny ordered some l.p.albums 12″(vinyl) 

  Once, he ordered some of the good ones. He asked which ones should he order. I made some suggestions.

  We were bursting glad & beside ourselves when we received the dozen record albums.

  Guess what he did next?

  Some dummy in the housing project(Johnny’s aquaintance) had heard of the 12 albums & offered to BUY all of them. 

  One day, little ol’ Mario felt like listenin’ to the afore mentioned stash of hot tunes, & could NOT find the record albums.

  Don’t remember if this was after school(Travis) or on a Saturday.

  Some of the 12 albums were: the Everly Brothers greatest hits, The Ventures ‘Telstar’, Ricky Nelson, possibly Johnny Rivers.Maybe Roy Orbison. Don’t remember the rest.

  I went to Johnny & told him I could not find the albums.”Where are they?”

  Johnny replied that he “doesn’t know”.

  “Maybe they were stolen, Johnny.”

  “No, I sold them.”

  “You did what?”


  Little Mario just about had a cow & 10 monkey babies. Smoke started to come out of his ears, he was madder than a wet rooster.

  Johnny said he had $OLD them for ca$h.

  “That’s good, Johnny. You’ll $pend the money, & WE won’t have ANY music, Thank You.”


  Johnny laughed it off.

  {Insert little league baseball uniform here} lol

  As Johnny was growin’ into his teenage years, he seemed to revel in wild antics, pulling pranks on people & friends alike. Wild abandon to have fun.

  And did the kids in the housing project have fun to release the BOREdom.