It has been eleven years now since I have been back to Mexico and the thing that I remember most was that my childhood was very simple. I lived in a very rural town so I had no idea what cities were like—no streetlights, no paved streets, and not a lot of animals. It was not a farm and it was not a ranch. It was just a very small town filled with agricultural life, and my childhood did not involve a lot of toys per say. I lived a very simple life mostly playing outside with my friends and interacting with some animals. That was just about it. I went to elementary school there until 6th grade. Most of my life revolved around school, and I loved school!
I was among the best in my class. To be precise, number two out of the entire school. I was also part of what we call escolta, which is the band guard. We have a group of individuals that carry the Mexican flag and march around the school once a week, and everyone sings the national anthem. Only those who rank among the first five of the entire school get the privilege of being part of the escolta. I was ranked number two, however number one gets the flag. Ah! I really wanted the flag, but as second in the school, I was given the privilege of being captain! In this leadership role, I was in charge of giving orders to the marching group. That was a huge privilege for me.
My grandparents raised me as their child. I never felt secluded because they always embraced me. I was actually my grandpa’s favorite, and for 11 years I was known as Juanito, because my grandfather was named Juan. He loved me so much that other people knew I was his favorite. They started calling me Juanito, because I was treated as his own. It was the same way with my grandmother. It wasn’t a bad life with my grandparents. They were both great! But I didn’t have my mother. That was very difficult and painful for me.