The Early Years

27 Aug

The Early Years
I didn’t have anything special to do, so I just walked around learning Spanish words. At first just nouns. The little corner stores were good places to try out my Spanish, and I found that there was only one brand of cigarettes that I’d ever heard of. Ralieghs. They were the regular sized cigarettes like the Lucky Strikes or Camels I was used to seeing, but filtered. I tried some, and found them to be Ok with just a little cigar taste to them. They were the most expensive brand though at one peso a pack of twenty (eight cents).
The beer and pop was in rusty metal boxes with Coca Cola, Corona, or Victoria painted on them, and were filled with sodas and beer nestled in water. Evaporation providing the only cooling available. The counters were full of hand made cookies and candies. Chewing gum came in tiny celophane wrapped chicklets four to a package, Adams being the most prevalent brand. I found out that at “Super Sanchez,” you could buy Milky Way bars.
Where ever I went I became the center of attention. Everyone wanted to try out the few English words that they thought they knew. But they were actually happy when I spoke to them in my stumbling Spanish. There were no shortage of teachers among them who would correct me, making me pronounce words correctly. They didn’t hurt my feelings though because they always smiled when they corrected me, and genuinley seemed pleased when I said it right.

I wandered into Juarez park on day and was admiring the pretty red flowers in huge beds being tended by several gardeners. The beds were being water by irrigation, water running down small trenches dug across the dirt paths of the park. I asked the name of the flowers, and was told amapolas. Amapolas in my dictionary were poppies. The park was full of heroin poppies!

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