“My name is Carlos Leonardo Nájera de Madrid.” This is how my father begins his life story. I am not sure when he started writing. It might’ve been in the 1960s or 70s. But I remember seeing him many nights typing away. A lot of what he wrote were memories that he had. His memories of his life go back to a very early age.
His earliest memories involved the Mexican Revolution, traveling across the desert to the Imperial Valley, and eventually finding his home in Oxnard, California. Some of his memories were not pleasant, some were painful, and others were quite humorous.
As he wrote through the years he was a witness to the transition of the nineteenth century way of life to the developments that we now have in our modern times. These things were important to him. He learned his trade as a blacksmith, shoeing horses, making plows and other farm equipment. He learned how to design the machinery and continue to train himself to become an engineer.
He left his writings to me, that was my inheritance. I was the youngest in my family and he would tell his stories many times over. I knew them by heart, and even though I have heard his stories countless times, I listened to him as if it was the first time. It took me about ten years to edit over 400 pages that he wrote. He had written much more than what is in this book and perhaps someday I will edit those pages.
This collection of his stories I titled Dust of the Moon. It starts with his earliest memories and continues through his childhood years, and ends with his graduation from high school in 1928. At that time most people stopped going to school around 6th grade. He was one of the few Mexicans to finish high school. Fewer still sought to continue their education.
Thank you for reading this far. Joseph Edward Nájera.