The Land of Dust by Carlos Najera

Don Carlos remembers his first few months in his new home of Mexicali:


The Sun went down slowly on our first day there. I watched the evening sky change from bright blue to shades of red and pink. The sun lingered over the Rumarosa Mountains to the east then sank below the horizon evening shades of purple and embers of coal.

I was sleepy and relieved to be home. This didn’t really seem like home yet, but this is where we were heading and we were not going anyplace else. Mama spread a blanket out on the floor for all of us. We would not need to cover that night. I snuggled with my sisters. Roberto made space for himself nearby. My mother and father spread out their mattress near the door.

It was still quite hot but the dark of night had  made the temperature feel comfortable. Mexicali seemed to be a quiet town, a quiet place to live. The people seemed friendly and willing to help each other. I made friends with a couple of boys my same age. These thoughts were drifting in and out of my head as I was drifting into sleep.

“Is it okay here? Will we be safe? My parents were talking. Did you hear anything?” My mama spoke softly, she must’ve been thinking that all of us were asleep.

“What did you hear?” My father whispered back.

“There was fighting over here and on the other side of the mountains in the town called Tijuana. There was fighting here. They might be again.”

“These are not the same people. They don’t even know Villa and the others. They follow a man named Ricardo Flores Magon.  He has his own cause and it has nothing to do with the Revolution back home. Nobody knows me here. Nobody wants us. I will do my job working for the Post Office and the canal district. We will be safe.”

“But the soldiers?” My mama whispered. I could tell she was worried.

“I work for the American businessmen. I’m not involved in politics here. When things settle, we can go back home.”

The first few months that we were in Mexicali the grown-up people were afraid there might be another attack. I of course was having too much fun trying to catch lizards and horned toads.  There were a few trees around and Robert and I had fun throwing rocks at the bats that were up there.

My mom did her usuals which included sweeping and cleaning and purifying the water. There were no new attacks or rumors of any kind so she did not cry as often. My father was gone much of the time. His new job was working for the Mexicali Post Office, and as government agent and civil engineer. He was often in Tijuana working there.
There was a lot of commerce and a lot of workers and supplies coming and going to both sides of the border and that kept my father busy.

About jedwardnajera

I am an artist and a Poet. I live the life of a poet. I published several novels. Nena the Fairy and the Iron Rose, Dust of the Moon are among them, available through Amazon Books. I have spent over thirty five years in a classroom. I am now retired from that profession. 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 entrusted to me nearly 400 pages that he wrote through the years. Now I am continuing the tradition by posting my own stories and misadventures. 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.
This entry was posted in autobiography, California History, Mexicali, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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