Johnny got a new truckin’ job hauling carpet.
Calls me, & begins to tell me there’s good money to be made with this company.
Begins to convince me of this.
Johnny asks if Im interested in riding along.
I had just finished 1 year of technical training in electronics. I needed some rest & relaxation to clear my mind.
“Sure Johnny, I’ll go.”
“Ride the Greyhound up to Dallas & I’ll pick you up there at the downtown terminal.
One day, Don Lupe got rowdy(drunk) wanting to be a badass. He was goin’ bat crazy.
Don Lupe grabbed a knife & went to attackin’ his son Raúl.
Only thing was Raúl was a huge guy. He decked his dad & knocked him out cold. Holy Sh*t! We had never had so much excitement.
I went near to have a better look. “Is he dead?” “No, he’s knocked out.”
I began laughing. He got knocked the ‘F’ oWt.
Police came after a while.Poor ol’ Raúl had a cut on his hand, bleeding. Didn’t go well for his dad after he sobered up.
A younger son, named René had enough of that sh*t & ran away. Returned some time later.
This was in the early 60’s.
Albores Courts people wake up one morning to find the words: ‘F**k Edinburg’ written on the outside of a cement irrigation valve site.
All the “decent” upper crust of these working people were highly offended. 🤔
I went to see for myself. Lotta commotion goin’ on.(Anything for excitement)
Soon as I got there,(on the other side of housing project) people began interrogating me.”Did You do this?”
(WtF are you saying?”) “Heck no! I didn’t do it.”
“Do you know who did it?” “Nope”.
Eventually, after much investigating & finger pointing, Johnny’s name was mentioned.
Police were called.Hot Diggity Dog! We hadn’t had this much excitement @ Albores!
When the po po arrived, Dammitboy.
“That’s his brother.” “Do you know where he lives?” Lol
Everybody knew where everybody lived.
Very possible that the pol went to pay our apartment a visit.
When the pol got to our place.
I had run like a flash, greased lightning to warn Johnny.
“Johnny, the pol are lookin’ for you.” “What for?”
“People are saying you wrote something bad on the cement.”
Our Mother. OMGawsh!
She lost all her composure.
Johnny, brave soul that he was, says, “Let’s go see what this is about.” “Don’t leave me, Mario. Stick with me.”
Needless to say, Johnny got a good grillin’ & chewed out.”
“Did you do this? Why did you do it?”
The usual answer. “Nomas. I was bored.”
“You’re gonna remove ALL of it, you hear?” “Yes sir.”
So Johnny got some gasoline, paint remover, turpentine(all contributed by neighbors) & spent a good part of the day removing the graffiti.
“Help me,Mario.” “I’m not gonna help you, you did it.”
I might’ve helped some.
works, including casualties, killed & wounded.
The war was in everybody’s living room. I’d returned from 7th grade junior high school & sit to watch ol’ Walter Cronkite report this.
It became a routine & common news until I didnt care. Big deal.
Some Edinburg soldiers had died in combat by then.
When our parents returned with Johnny from visits with the relatives & eating out, Ma asked,“Are you going to Viet Nam, mi hijo?”
“No Im not,” Johnny replied.
Even at 14 I was opposed to the war & was becoming more socially active.
At school we had discussions, & more than likely, I’d be on the opposing side.
Ma asked again.”Please tell me you’re not going Mi hijo.” Johnny, ever mindful & not wanting to hurt our Mom’s feelings, again said he wasn’t.
Little bullish Mario, being against the war, angry, & outspoken, debated on whether to bring out what he had found out(the viet nam phrase book) or not.
I came to a crossing point. What do I do? I believe our Mother could see something in my sad face.
She asked me, “What’s the matter, Mario?”
I could not deceive our Mother & told her the truth.
“Mom, Johnny is going to Viet Nam.”
I remember Mom letting out a panicked “Oh No!”
“Tell me it isn’t true, mi hijo,” Ma said to Johnny
I stirred up quite a commotion & emotional storm.
I was immediately put on the hot seat by pa. Threatened for knowing too much.
Brother Johnny didn’t want to hurt our parents.
I kept quiet waiting for him to bring it out & tell them.We looked at each other.
I gave him my ‘it’s on you’ stare.
Then, the questioning began.
“How do you know?” I kept silent.”Come on Johnny, tell them” I said.
Johnny didn’t say anything.
Both parents about to chew my tail, & provide some corporeal punishment.
Holy sh*t what did I do wrong, I wondered.
Emotions ran high.
Johnny kept quiet.
“Mario, you’re gonna be spanked,”Ma said.“Why are you making stuff up?”
Well, push came to shove. A clash of wills.
Both parents pissed this little Taurus boy off for knowing what he shouldn’t have known.
“How the heck do you know”(but in Spanish colloquial language).
I stuck my hand into the Army green duffle bag again & pulled the Vietnamese phrase booklet out.
Here’s the proof.
Johnny gave me a ” I’m gonna have your hide’ look.
Don’t remember if I got the spanking, probably did. Everybody had tears in their eyes.