One of the things I wish my Mom had saved for me while I was away at college was my baseball card collection. After some housecleaning, out they went. What I do still have are my Hot Wheel cars and Hot Wheel pop-up storage box. The pop-up box springs open into a makeshift grandstand and you are able to connect the orange plastic tracks to it. The actual cars have the dates stamped on them for the mid-sixties.
Back to the chorizo burrito...
In first grade and in Catholic school, I learned the art of bartering. I tell you, I learned quickly that what was most normal to me was an extravagance to others. When I whipped out my lunch, the chorizo burrito, kids mouths (particularly the gringo kids) would salivate with a longing for like no other. Burritos, heck we ate them all the time. I was introduced to the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich by these kids. We didn't know much about PB & J sandwiches in my home. I later found myself trading my chorizo burritos for the PB & J sandwiches. I was no fool, though, as I soon realized the gringo kids were getting the better end of the deal.
Before long, I noticed the gringo kids playing with these heavy metal cars called Hot Wheels. My Hot Wheel collection thus began when I started to trade my chorizo burritos for kid's Hot Wheels. I believe I ended up with the better end of the deal as burritos were a dime a dozen en mi casa.
What also began were relationships with Ray and Mark Jurado, Ronnie and Lawrence Godinez and a few others. These relationships would evolve and exist for the next several years until high school. These guys were cousins of each other and lived on the same lot around the corner from me. Ray was in my class and was extremely smart. I still had not acquired the mastery of the English language. I remember my Mother walking me on many an occasions to Ray's house for help on my homework. My Mom humbled herself enough to walk me to Ray's house. I excelled enough to get by school. All the while, many of my Spanish speaking friends were being labeled "retarded" and were held back in school. All because they did not speak the mother language.
Am thankful for my Mother and these friends who were my rock these tumultuous years and helped me keep my head up. Significant relationships were my life raft that kept me from sinking.