The Southwest

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The U.S. - Mexican Border: Sunset Heights

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May 7, 2015 —
908 West Missouri: This is my childhood home as it looks today. It is located in Sunset Heights, two houses from our parish church (Holy Family). Behind us was an alley, which separated us from my elementary school and then from the border highway.

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Holy Family Catholic Church was practically next to our house. Masses were held in both English and Spanish.

Father (later Monsignor) LaPieza was our parish priest; he hailed from Spain. I never felt that he understand the Mexican congregation that he was assigned to minister. He would sometimes run out of the rectory carrying a canister filled with holy water when he heard us squealing while we were playing outside. He did this because, as he said, he thought we were being demonized and he felt a need to exorcize us.

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Here is the playground of Holy Family Elementary School, where my siblings and I went to school. I sometimes looked out my classroom window that faced the border highway, looking across into Cuidad Juárez wondering whether there was another school like this one on the other side. It would sometimes occur to me that perhaps some of the kids over there did not even go to school because I would often see them playing in the dirt roads during school hours.

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Here is a view of Ciudad Juárez, México from my elementary school. It was the same view we had from the back windows of my home. We often had "visitors" running through our yard who had crossed over from Cuidad Juárez. Occasionally we would wake up and find clothes gone from our clothesline if we left them hanging overnight. It was annoying, but at the same time, we were reminded and understood that whoever took them must have needed them more than us.

It made me feel lucky and at the same time embarrassed that I often took for granted what we had in this side of the border.

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