It Is Good by Carlos Najera

The Lord once made the Earth and likewise made the Sky. And when He looked upon his work, and saw what He had done, He saw that it was good. (Klaus Australis)

I was nine years old in 1917 and another school year started.  I dreaded the thought of going through another gauntlet of scoldings, unkindness, and misunderstandings.

This was why many of my cousins and the  other Spanish-speaking kids that I knew dropped out of school. I do not blame them. I did not want to put myself through this terrible experience.

I had a lot of wonderful teachers throughout my school years but in between I have had the opposite. I never understood how grown-up people could express such hatred for our kind.

This is our land. This was Spain. This was Mexico. We were here many years before they ever heard of our West Coast. So many of the English-speaking people treated us as outsiders.

“Don’t pay them any mind, mijo.” My mother would tell me. She know what me and my brothers and sisters were going through in school. “You show them who you are. You show them that you are better than they are. The gringos want you to give up. They want you to quit so that you would be willing to work out in the fields. Many of our people do just that. Working in the fields is hard work, but it is also honorable and dignified.”

“But that is not your way. You have a brain. You have intelligence. Your father graduated from the University. He was a civil engineer and he wanted you and Bobby to follow in his footsteps. Bobby chose a different way and he works hard in the lumber business. It’s up to you now to be strong, to study, and be the best person you can be.”

“You read. You study. You learn everything you can. Your father is gone now but he can still be proud of you.”

“He can still be proud of you.” My mother repeated.

That is the path I took. I went on to finish school. I graduated from Oxnard High, Class of 1927. I never stopped studying and learning.

I still don’t know that how it works, but sometimes, now that I’m an old man, remembering these things, I feel that my father is not too far away looking down at me and saying:

“It is good.”

About jedwardnajera

I am a Poet. I live the life of a poet. I am an artist, a member of Gallery 9 in Los Altos, California. I published a novel Nena the Fairy and the Iron Rose, available through Amazon Books. I spent over thirty five years in a classroom. My father kept a living record of his lifetime as he lived through the Twentieth Century. He was born in 1908 and almost lived long enough to see us enter the new millennium. He was a mechanical engineer and had a wonderful love of history and science. He entrusted to me nearly 400 pages that he wrote through the years. He wrote in Spanish and I have spent six months translating these pages into English. Now I am in the process of editing, rewriting, and revising them. I am trying to post a new entry or chapter each Friday. Check in on us at least once a week for the latest post.
This entry was posted in autobiography, California History, Education, growing old, Oxnard and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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