Rain of Gold

Rain of Gold

Rain of Gold

Rain of Gold


This all-American story of poverty, immigration, struggle and success is the Hispanic Roots.


It all started in the barrio of Carlsbad, California, when I used to walk to my grandmother's home behind my parents' pool hall. My grandmother on my mother's side, Doña Guadalupe, would sit me on her lap and give me sweetbread and yerba buena tea and tell me stories of the past, of Mexico, of the Revolution, and of how my mother, Lupe, had been just a little girl when the troops of Francisco Villa and Carranza had come fighting into their box canyon in the mountains of Chihuahua.

My father, Juan Salvador, also a great storyteller, would tell me of his own family and how he and his mother and sisters had escaped from Los Altos de Jalisco during the Revolution and how they'd come north to the Texas border. He told me of the horrible times that they'd endured on each side of the border, and how these horrible times had actually -- in some strange way -- become good, because they'd taught them so much about love and life and united them closer and stronger as a family. Often during these talks, my father, a big strong man, would cry and cry and hold me in his arms and tell me how much he still loved his poor old dead mother and how there wasn't a night that passed that he didn't dream of her, the greatest woman who had ever lived.

Reaching my teens, the stories of my parents' past grew distant and less important as I became more and more Anglicized. And in my twenties, I reached the point where, regrettably, I didn't want to hear about our past because I couldn't really believe in my parents' stories anymore.

Then, turning thirty and finding the woman that I wished to marry and have my children with, I suddenly realized how empty I'd feel if I couldn't tell my own children about our ancestral roots.

The year was 1975 when I began to interview my father and mother in earnest. I bought a Sony tape recorder and looked up my aunts and uncles and godparents. I accumulated well over two hundred hours of taped conversations over the next three years.

But, still, some of the things that my parents and relatives told me were just too foreign, too fantastic, for my modern mind to accept. For instance, the gold mine where my mother was born had been purchased by a man who'd skinned out a steer -- because the hide was more valuable than the meat -- and he'd run the naked animal up the mountainside to pay the Indians off. My God, I couldn't write that down with conviction. First, it was too barbaric and, secondly, I didn't think it was possible. But my relatives kept insisting that it was absolutely . . .

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