July 30 2004

Cuando Salgo a Los Campos

Las piscas, los tiempos pasados, and my childhood - I wouldn’t change it for the world


A song sung and recorded by Ruben Ramos, Little Joe, Jessy Serrata and so many other artists SO PROUD of their heritage and up-bringing........Cuando salgo a los campos me acuerdo de un amor que yo ame tanto tiempo, hoy la miro y me da sentimiento, sentimeinto que me hace llorar.........

Those words bring a lump to my throat......

Cuando fuimos para California on a trek to a gig.... We were traveling through King City (migrant capital) I noticed how all the people were lined up in a row sitting at the edge of los surcos. Looked like they were all having their morning cafecito and their homemade taquitos. I asked my husband to drive slow so I could absorb all the beauty of my life experience of yesteryear.

Same attire as before, a hat to cover the sun, a scarf to cover the heat. Long sleeve shirt to shelter the sun’s rays and long pants to shelter the flesh from the scathing plants. Parece que fue ayer.... those days of waking up in the morning and joining my brothers and sisters in the back of the troque. All you could hear in the morning was “ay viene el troque” and people would scurry out the door and head for the only transportation provided, a big truck with a hollow bed and nothing to hold on to through bumpy roads.

As we continued our journey, I noticed the farmers had white school buses, and we passed a camp that was pretty well kept. I cried at the site of a barn at the end of a field. For it looked just like a barn where we stayed when we went up north. The only place made big enough for us because there wasn’t enough room for a family of ten anywhere in the makeshift camp. Of course things were a bit different, the camps weren’t so pretty and people actually stayed in horrifying conditions. But mom and todas las madrecitas del campo kept things pretty clean.

Up ahead, I noticed a man speaking to a group of laborers as some of the laborers in the other field lined up so neatly in a row, picking crops and placing them in a conveyor belt. I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. It was as though I was smelling the dirt, the fresh crops, and listening to someone carry a conversation and the field man motivating everyone toward a deadline.... I really wanted to stop but for some reason, I was afraid to do so.

We continued and I managed a grin...... for I saw Cesar Chavez’s plight at work right before my eyes. All those wonderful hard working people de donde vienen, near and far, had far better conditions than we did cuando iba nos a las piscas. Sitting in a row at mid morning only told me they were allowed breaks and those big white clean buses only told me Cesar’s hard work had finally paid off.

I motioned the sign of the cross and silently said “God bless their soul and keep their perseverance strong - before they know it, they too will be looking back and standing proud”.......

Las piscas, los tiempos pasados, and my childhood - I wouldn’t change it for the world!

MaryAnn “Mariana” González (DHOC, Die Hard Onda Chicana) from Tejas. Passionate historian de nuestra musica y cultura and wife of Mario Gonzalez, (Drummer) who’s shared the stage with many many legendary Tejano artists. maryanngonzalez@lycos.com. Reprinted from LatinoLA.com

Return to the Frontpage