In downtown Calexico there was a movie theater. I know it sounds strange. We were living in the desert wilderness but we had a theater. It was on Second Street across from our new house. It was an open air theater. It had a traditional looking front, movie posters were on display. It had a ticket booth outside and a lobby inside the building. The actual auditorium was in the back, outside. It had a dirt floor. There were wooden benches. Each of the rows of wooden benches got higher as you moved towards the back. The theatre showed the latest silent movies of the time, but they did not show movies in the daytime, there was too much light. There was also too much heat.
That is me in the picture. One of my aunts is trying to keep me from moving. Cameras were real slow back then and people had stay still, sometimes for up to a minute.
My father had rules. There were no exceptions. The politics of the area had settled down. There were no more rumours of soldiers or rebels. Those things however, were still on my parents thoughts. Going out anywhere after dark was one of the things we were not allowed to do.
One evening my brother Roberto had an idea. There was a new movie he wanted to see. He came up to me that night and whispered his plan in my ear.
“I want you to cry. Cry real loud. That way Poppi will get tired of listening to you.”
I started in as loud as I could. I was moaning and groaning and whining. I even started wiggling around on the floor. Robert kept motioning me to cry louder. I kept it up for as long as I could.
“I will give you a reason to cry if you don’t stop!” My father was starting to get annoyed. After a few more minutes of me moaning and groaning and whining, Robert’s plan finally worked.
“Take this huerco out of here!” Our father finally shouted. He tossed Roberto a dime. Both of us ran out of the house and across the street. That’s my big brother! He was always thinking.