I Have To Go Poop!

Early 1980’s: We’re back in the USA! My sisters and I are waiting for Mom and Dad in Riverside while they try to cross the border illegally. It’s late at night, and they finally arrive. They say we are going to live with ‘Tio Lencho’ in San Jose, California. I was expecting a huge house. You know, we are now living in California. To my surprise, we arrive to an empty carpeted garage. It has no bathroom. It only has a laundry-sink, and a couple of cabinets. At first, my cousins were nice to us. Then, they were mean. Sometimes they would talk in English at school, and I just saw them laugh at me with their friends. My second language acquisition was not the best. But, I try hard to learn the language. I stay close to the teachers, and I am not afraid to have an accent when answering questions in class.

We get several mattresses, and use them as beds. Dad’s two cousins arrive from Mexico so Mom says we will need some privacy because we are all girls. She puts flat sheets through nylon string, and makes “individual rooms”. This is a time of working together. Mom reminds me that I must be a big girl and help keep the place clean because she has to work hard if we were going to get out of that place and make something of ourselves in America. She begins two jobs. Dad is working in the the construction business. Fences, I think.

My cousins fight with us constantly, but of course, Tia says it is not them but us that begin all the trouble. They find a way to get back at us. When we need to use the restroom, we go into the house. Several times now, they have locked the doors on us. So, we used the laundry sink to go pee. “What if we have go poop, Mom?” Her face shows a bit of frustration. She cleans a Teasdale Hominy can, and puts it in a paper bag. What? I guess. My sisters and I laugh thinking we will not have need of such primitive resources. WACK! We are not to mock mother’s efforts! Yes, the day comes where “the can” is in need. I can’t believe it! I have to go poop! Noooooo……I can hold it till Mom comes! No I can’t! Okay, I tell none of my friends. I pooped in a large Teasdale Hominy can. Maybe, it is since then, that I do not care as much for Posole or Menudo.

Soon we have enough money to move out on our own into a small duplex in East San Jose. It’s is not the best neighborhood. It’s kinda ghetto. We have to go to a new school. Make new friends. But, I don’t mind because at least I have more privacy (walls) and a bathroom! Over the next couple of years, I make lots of friends, and work hard in school. I am almost fluent in English. I still have a hard time pronouncing the “Ch” and “Sh” words. My writing is quite good, and math is one of my strongest subjects. I am a straight ‘A’ student for several years.

Relationship wise, Dad and Mom are not good. Several talks about divorce and separation have been popping up. It hurts. I’m scare. I don’t show the fear; I have to be a big girl for my younger sisters. Even on the days Dad or Mom have hit us with the spiked Gothic-style belt and left a bruised bottom, I suppress my distress, and strive to make my school experience better than home. My sister Brenda has started to act up. She is almost in 2nd grade. Last month, she accidentally peed in her pants, and was sent home alone because it was walking distance. This week, she has peed twice, and repeated the action. Today, she got caught by Mom because a friend of her told her that she has been seeing Brenda wander around the front yard several times during school hours. She gets a spanking, and so do I for being the eldest and keeping an eye on her. I was mad, but I love her. I have to say though, that she is feisty. She has bitten me several times. If I hit her back, I get in trouble because I should know better. If I don’t she will beat the ‘poop’ out of me.

I hate that this year for Christmas, Mom bought all three of us the SAME dress. They are the puffy laced-up sheer Mexican dresses. I am taller than everyone in my class, even taller than Omar (my best friend)! Blah! Besides I am not a little girl anymore. Brenda and Iris are flat-chested; I am not! Why do we have to dress the same?

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