This is downtown Calexico. The official border crossing is four blocks down the street and a turn to the left. The US/Mexico border line is directly behind the buildings on the left. There is an alley behind the buildings, and then the fence.
My father moved us across the street to Calexico so we can go to American schools and learn English. He said we can only learn English by going to school on the other side with the gringos. We could still see our old house tent from our new house. My mama seemed happier here in the new house. It was actually a house. It had a wooden frame, wooden walls, windows with screens, a wooden porch that went around all four sides. Like many houses around here, it was built high off the ground so the sand and dust would blow under it instead of through it.
Here’s a picture of what Calexico looked like at the time. You can see there were still tents being used. Plumbing was primitive, I can see a couple of outhouses is in the picture. The roads were not paved. The city planted shade trees but they were not very large yet. Look to horizon, the land here for miles all around was flat, good for farmlands.
Roberto and the girls went to school. I stayed home and discovered different ways to be a rascal. It took me a while to catch up with my brother and sisters in their knowledge of English. Mama knew English pretty good but at home we spoke Spanish. Even around town, everybody was Spanish-speaking.