Elementary School - Language Arts
As we drove home Papa did not say a word. With both hands on the wheel, he stared at the dirt road. My older brother, Roberto, was also silent. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes. Once in a while he cleared from his throat the dust that blew in from outside.
Yes, it was that time of the year. When I opened the front door to the shack, I stopped. Everything we owned was neatly packed in cardboard boxes. I sat down on the box. The thought of having to move to Fresno and knowing what was in store for me there brought tears to my eyes.
That night I could not sleep. I lay in bed thinking about how much I hated this move.
...Papa parked the car out in front and left the motor running. "Listo," he yelled. Without saying a word, Roberto and I began to carry the boxes out to the car. Roberto carried the two big boxes and I carried the two smaller ones. Papa then threw the mattress on top of the car roof and tied it with ropes to the front and rear bumpers.
Everything was packed except Mama's pot. It had many dents and nicks, and the more dents and nicks it acquired the more Mama liked it. "Mi olla," she used to say proudly.
I held the front door open as Mama carefully carried out her pot by both handles, making sure not to spill the cooked beans. When she got to the car, Papa reached out to help her with it. Roberto opened the rear car door and Papa gently placed it on the floor behind the front seat. All of us climbed in. Papa sighed, wiped the sweat off his forehead with his sleeve, and said wearily: "Es todo."
As we drove away, I felt a lump in my throat. I turned around and looked at our little shack for the last time.
At sunset, we drove into a labor camp near Fresno. Since Papa did not speak English, Mama asked the camp foreman if he needed anymore workers. "We don't need no more," said the foreman, scratching his head. "Check with Sullivan down the road. Can't miss him. He lives in a big house with a fence around it."
When we got there, Mama walked up to the house. "We have work! Mr. Sullivan said you can stay there the whole season," he said gasping and pointing to an old garage near the stables.
The garage was worn out by the years. It had no windows. That night, by the light of a kerosene lamp, we unpacked and cleaned our new home. Roberto swept away the loose dirt, leaving the hard ground. Papa plugged the holes in the walls with old newspapers and tin can tops. Mama fed my little brothers and sisters. Papa and Roberto then brought in the mattress and placed it on the far corner of the garage. "Mama, you and the little ones sleep on the mattress. Roberto, Panchito, and I will sleep outside under the trees," Papa said.