The Never Ending Stories by Carlos Najera

In 1913 the towns of California were still very rustic. They were mostly new towns. Even the old towns like San Francisco or San Diego were still relatively young, going back to the gold rush years just sixty years earlier.

Oxnard brothers

               Photo courtesy of the Oxnard Public Library

Oxnard was a new town, just barely ten years old back then. It was founded by Henry Oxnard who started a sugar beet factory in the farmlands between Hueneme and the settlement called El Rio. The factory was a success and the town grew around the factory.

sugar

 The caption on this hand tinted postcard says: “largest beet sugar refinery in the world”

It was still a frontier way of life. Families used to visit each other and there really wasn’t much else for decent people to do for entertainment. There were the usual beer joints and gambling rooms downtown. China Ally had its own particular vices.

 When it was dark, people went to sleep. Reading by lamplight was an expensive luxury. One of the things the grown-ups did for their children was tell them stories. I remember my mama telling us about the Thousand and One Nights. I could almost see these places in my mind as my mama told us her stories.

The old ones, John’s people had their own set of stories. They told us about a man named Joaquin Murrieta and how he once robbed their father of his fortune in gold.

We spent many evening hours listening to these and other stories. I remember the story of La Llorona and El Cucúi. Sometimes I was scared, sometimes I thought they were funny.

As I grew older and I learned how to speak English, I discovered that there were many stories to be told. Many stories that were frightening and many that were all true. I wanted to hear them, I wanted to read them, and so I wanted learn to read. By the time I finished high school I had read nearly every book there was in our public library.

Oxnard library

For many years and this was the old library building in downtown Oxnard. It was a classic Carnegie library. It is a museum nowadays, I’m told.

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About jedwardnajera

I am a Poet. I live the life of a poet. I am an artist, a member of Gallery 9 in Los Altos, California. I published a novel Nena the Fairy and the Iron Rose, available through Amazon Books. I spent over thirty five years in a classroom. My father kept a living record of his lifetime as he lived through the Twentieth Century. He was born in 1908 and almost lived long enough to see us enter the new millennium. He was a mechanical engineer and had a wonderful love of history and science. He entrusted to me nearly 400 pages that he wrote through the years. He wrote in Spanish and I have spent six months translating these pages into English. Now I am in the process of editing, rewriting, and revising them. I am trying to post a new entry or chapter each Friday. Check in on us at least once a week for the latest post.
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