My mother married again in 1915. She married a Pochi. His name was Juan María Olivas. He descended from one of the original Spanish-speaking families of California. His name was Don Raimundo Olivas and in 1841 he received a land grant between the towns of Oxnard and Ventura. The original adobe building is now registered as California Historical Landmark #115. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The old family home made of adobe bricks is still there. It has been preserved through the years by a wealthy businessman and then later it became a park. You are welcome to go visit it any time you are in the area. It is right off Highway 101, exit on Telegraph Road and follow the signs. You can look up what my son Joseph wrote about this in the posting called, “A Kevin Bacon Moment.”
One of the earlier neighborhoods of Oxnard was called La Colonia. It is still there, separated by the railroad tracks from the rest of Oxnard. It was where the Mexican people were allowed to live. Even while the rest of the town was paved and had sidewalks, for many years the streets of La Colonia were unpaved.
We lived in a neighbourhood that was for the most part whites only. We were accepted there because of John’s background. My mama’s people were descendents of the original families of New Mexico. They did not consider themselves Mexicans, they were Americans and proud of it.
That is why John’s people were called Pochis. They use that term to distinguish themselves from the Mexican people. Sometimes Pochis called themselves Mexicans. The Anglos couldn’t tell the difference anyways.
Most of the Mexican people, and anybody else that wasn’t Anglo, had to live in La Colonia. It was noisy there when the trains rumbled by, they shook the ground, started the dogs barking, in addition to that, a lot of lowlifes jumped off the boxcars and showed up there to do their dirty deeds.
Our house had a tall fence around it with a nice-looking gate. I would hang from the gate sometimes but I got yelled at when I did. They said I would break the hinges but it was fun and I played on it when I knew nobody was watching.
One day, standing by the gate when the neighbourhood bully boys came by. You remember Chester Doolin and Beau Henry from the last posting.They looked at me and then they shouted,
“You Mexican!” They said it like it was something dirty and it really did sound like an insult.
“¿Why did they say that?” I wanted to understand. I know that I was Mexican, to say it in such an ugly way mad it sound lie it was bad to be Mexican?
“Now I’m going to ask my mommy.” I said. And then I told my mom of the story of what happened.
“Don’t pay those kids any attention. They are just boys, and boys say those things. They’re not very nice boys and they don’t know what they’re saying.” I knew my mother was right but that didn’t stop me from feeling bad.
“We are the civilized ones.” She continued. “The blood of Kings runs through our veins. Our people fought against the Moors. We crossed the oceans and came to this New World. The blood of warriors runs through our veins. Our people built great cities and pyramids. We have the best of the old world and New World in our veins. Don’t ever let those boys or anyone else, make you feel bad about being who you are.”
I stopped being afraid of Chester and Beau after that.