The south side of San Antonio is predominantly Hispanic. Plus I went to a predominantly all Hispanic Catholic School, mainly due to location. Growing up I had little to no interaction with any other races. I feel this gave my classmates and I a feeling of belonging. As I have learned since we all shared the same race, culture, and religion this also helps young people with identity formation. We not only embraced our Mexican heritage we also embraced our Texan heritage. I grew up learning both Spanish and English.
Studies show that youths with a positive ethnic identity who also embrace the American culture have more positive outcomes (Umana-Taylor, 2006). My Family growing up was very close. It seemed we always had aunts and uncles living with us at some point in time. I did not mind as I was always looked after and they were excellent role models and provided emotional stability. I am the oldest of four and we are spaced about 4 years apart. My baby sister, the youngest of my siblings came to us when I was about 15. My Father was very strict growing up.
It was the typical wait until your dad gets home of scenario. He was a hard working man, and a great provider to his family. He worked two jobs for over twenty years. He put me and my sister and brother through Catholic private school. My father barely graduated high school and was very proud to have graduated. He wore his High school graduation ring until the day he died. If this does not tell you why he sacrificed working two jobs for twenty years I will tell you. There was nothing more important in my dads eyes than going to school and getting a good education.
He did not want his kids to have to work as hard as he had to, he wanted a better life for us. Where would I be without my mother. My mother is truly an amazing woman. I know everyone must think their mom is pretty great; unless you can tell me that your mom can go from working a 8-12 hour day, come home feed the kids, help with homework and finish laundry all in one night, than I would say you have a great mom. What sets my mom apart from other moms is she can Cook, garden, fix youre a/c unit, retile your floor, install your carpet, change out your oil, alternator, pumps, fix your toilet, you name it my mom can do it.
So how about that for some motivation, drive, will to do better. When I say I learned my hard work dedication and will to always strive to be the best from my parents, you can see, I truly mean it. My Father was a great provider and like I mentioned before he wanted the best for his kids. I remember him helping me learn to ride a bike, swim, drive a car and even ride a motorcycle. Which are all key points in a childs life. My mother also worked very hard and late hours. I was cared for by my grandmother whom I grew very attached to.
I know its not nice to say but I dont think it was a big secret, I was her favorite. Going to private school definitely positively impacted my life. It is there I would like to say I met my second family. I went to the same school with practically the same students, teachers, nuns and priests from pre-k to 8th grade. It is there I felt safe, I never had to worry about drugs, fights or any negative influences. I played a few sports growing up, like soccer, baseball, volleyball, and most importantly basketball. I also became an alter boy for about 4 years.
The church taught me moral character and to love everyone as we are all children of God. My parents were very lively and loved spending time with each other. They seldom ever left us out, we went right along wit them. So this meant if they were going to a dance, so were we. I loved watching my parents dance. We went to many weddings, quinceaneras, and school dances. Another favorite pass time was going to the lake, or the beach, amusement and water parks. I have a lot of fond memories of growing up with my grandmother.
I use to love going to her house in the summers, because that meant great cooking, anything we wanted of course and playing with my cousins. My grandmother did not have a very big yard but it was amazing the things we would come up with playing outside. I mentioned before I played basketball. Well I grew up the shortest in class every year but what I lacked in height I made up for in speed. My dad encouraged me like no other, he taught me not to let the bigger kids beat me, he would always say, do not let them eat your sandwich.
I never really understood that until I got older. I think what he meant was if you let people take what is yours you will go hungry. This inspired me some how and I collected a lot of sandwiches, because I was feared on the court, fear I would steal the basketball. I continued to play basketball until my 8th grade year. Our team won City champs two years in a row, plus one first place in every tournament for three years. Talk about building up self esteem. Another memory that sticks out in my head is the day I had enough guts to get up and learn how to dance.
My mom taught me well. I enjoyed dancing so much I learned how to swing dance, lindy hop, country dance and tejano dance. My dad bought me my first car, it was a 1972 Volkswagen beetle. It was not in the best of shape but little by little my dad helped me fix it right up. All said and done it had a midnight blue metallic clear coated finished paint job with centerline rims, Pirelli tires and smoke black tented windows. I bought my first Harley Davidson when I was about 25 years old. My father always had a motorcycle until I was about the age of 15.
I would say about 1 month after I bought mine, he went and bought himself one. For the first time, in a long time he was back on a bike and we were riding together. As a teenager I was pretty active. We moved from the south side of San Antonio to the outskirts of the southeast side of town. This was about the time I graduated from 8th grade. My life was about to change as I knew it. See, up to this point I only knew and interacted with Hispanics. The High school in my district in our new neighbor hood was well versed and predominately white.
It is here I would truly feel and learn what assimilation was. There was a mix of races, homosexuality and people of different religious back ground. I did not fully grasp the concept of racism, to me everyone was equal. This was a very tough adjustment for me, especially since I gravitated to the basketball players, which I had always fit in with. I could not fit in with the basketball players they were much to tall, and a lot better skilled than I was. I did however end up getting picked up for the football team, but stopped playing after my sophomore year.
I turned my focus to soccer. By the end of my junior year my dad had his first heart attack and I no longer wanted to play sports. I started working to help pay for things that my parents could no longer support me with. I kept some money and gave some to my parents. Without sports I quickly started falling into the wrong crowd. It was not long until I figured out I was headed on the wrong path and with some guidance from my cousins I snapped back into reality. I enjoyed going to clubs and dancing with girls, showing them all the fancy moves my parents had shown me.
I can remember dancing until 2 a. m sometimes. This was not a popular decision with my parents of course. In my lifetime I have held many jobs. My first job was with a pharmacy drug store called Eckards. This introduced me to the cruel world of dishonest people. I eventually had to quit this job as I was accused of taking money from the register. I did not take any money from the register but on camera it looked like I took money from the guy that was over paid and whom owed me money, he took the change from a mystery shopper gave me what he owed me and stuck the rest in his pocket.
I was very trusting and naive, I never did question what was going on. So I hit the streets, pizza hut delivery that is. I did that for a few weeks but very quickly was introduced to more than what I care to share about from transvestites to abuse. I did not do that job very long. I went to work for West Telemarketing where I found a comfortable, professional, and challenging job as an AT&T representative. I am not going to lie to you this job was boring but I was really good at it, and made a lot of money as a senior in high school.
After High school I partied a lot with friends and tried going to a local community college. I also tried to move out of a perfectly good home that I had with my parents. My mother cried for a long time the day I told her I wanted to move out. As it turns out, my mom was right this was not a very good idea and I probably would have done better in community college had I listened to her. I found what I thought was going to be my future in working for Pace Foods. I quickly moved up from learning how to run every machine in the place to being selected as a on the job trained mechanic in about one year.
This job found me. I did not choose it. I will never forget my Tio Polo cornering me one afternoon at his house after a night of drinking. He shot it to me strait and gave me the best advise of my life, God Bless His Soul. I joined the Coast Guard at age 20. In the Coast Guard I have had many jobs. I have been a deck hand, a painter, and even a boat rescue swimmer. I really got my calling as I chose to be a corpsman in the Coast Guard. I have done everything from pharmacy, lab tech, x-ray tech, and a physical therapy technician.
As I matured in my job I was trained in tactical field medicine and a swat team member. After that I was appointed as a Clinic supervisor. Currently I am running my own clinic as I am the only medical provider for over 60 people. In the Future I would like to make E-7 a rank not easily attained. I would like to finish my degree and retire in San Antonio. I have two kids an ex-wife and the woman of my dreams my wife. My second marriage has worked so well partly because we come from similar religious back grounds and we both believe in making things work.
I can honestly say we dont always see eye to eye, but our Love for each other pushes us past any short falls. I have a son from a previous marriage and she has a daughter from a previous marriage. We currently do not have one together. I hope to instill hardworking ethics and strong leadership to my children. Throughout my life I learned some of the most important things. There are many different walk of people in this world and everyone conforms to whom they were brought up to be. Individually it is our job to note all our differences, along with each persons strengths and weaknesses.
I tend to follow my parents footsteps in working hard for what I have and raising my kids with strong moral and respective manners. I hope they grow up to have the respect that I have for my elders. The purpose of such rites is to show society that it has a new adult and to impress on the former youth that he or she is now an adult and expected to act as such. Social scientists like Kottak (2008) believe that rites of passage create new adult identities and allow elders to be looked at as sources of wisdom and role modeling for adult thinking and behavior.