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Brown Babies And All That

I really can’t blame Tom Brokaw for what he said. Maybe it has more to do with how he said it. But let’s face it, he is an old white dude, and well, he did not know any better.

The thing is, that I can relate to those speaking out to the concept of brown babies not being accepted into American society because I was one of those brown babies.

So the following article says a lot about me and my own experience growing up in a somewhat Latino bicultural world.

The real question at the center of the Brokaw backlash: What does it take to be seen as American enough?

Tom Brokaw angered many Sunday when he said “Hispanics should work harder at assimilation.” (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

By Theresa Vargas

Columnist

January 30 at 3:30 PM

I was standing in line at a CVS pharmacy on a recent afternoon, waiting to pick up antibiotics for my youngest son, when a man grabbed my arm and looked at me with pleading eyes.

I knew before he even opened his mouth what he wanted. He wanted me to translate for him.

This happens to me often, and each time it does, I have the same nagging thought: I wish I spoke Spanish more fluently.

I speak Spanish, but not that type that slips easily through my ears and off my tongue because I’ve heard it my whole life.

I speak the type of Spanish that took years of studying and traveling through South America to learn, the type that even during a casual conversation in which I’m laughing with someone, I’m also forcing my brain to double-check verb conjugations.

I have long been frustrated by this. I have also long understood the reason for it: assimilation.

‘Show me your passports’: Racist rants against Spanish speakers caught on camera

A woman was shown on video Oct. 17 yelling obscenities at a family speaking Spanish at a Virginia restaurant. It isn’t the first racist rant caught on camera. (Melissa Macaya /The Washington Post)

My parents suffered because they spoke Spanish as children growing up in San Antonio in the 1940s and 1950s. My father told me recently about a day he was in middle school. He spoke English in all his classes. But outside of class, he accidentally slipped into Spanish for a moment with two other boys. “Que paso,” he had said. “What’s up?” Just two words, but a teacher heard him and my father knew what was coming next: swats with a wooden paddle.

I don’t fault my parents for later choosing to speak mostly English, with a sprinkling of Spanglish, in our home when my siblings and I were growing up. Spanish had literally brought them pain.

Other Latinos and members of other ethnic groups did the same thing. They consciously allowed parts of their heritage, whether it be traditions, language or the pronunciations of their names, to fall away in the hopes that it would help their children be considered more American than they were. It didn’t matter whether, like my parents, they had also been born in this country, worked hard every day and paid their taxes on time. Americanism, society had let them know, was about more than citizenship and contribution.

To many people, the outrage that journalist Tom Brokaw ignited when he said, “Hispanics should work harder at assimilation,” may seem overblown. Those same people would probably point out that he apologized.

[Tom Brokaw apologizes after saying ‘Hispanics should work harder at assimilation’]

For what it’s worth, I don’t think there is much more to gain from further attacking him. But I also don’t think we should wave his remarks away, as some of his supporters have tried to do, and ignore why they were hurtful to so many people — and not just to Latinos.

His comments came during a discussion on NBC’s “Meet the Press” about the border wall and the recent government shutdown. He spoke about assimilation after remarking on how he had heard from people who don’t know whether they want “brown grandbabies.”

“I also happen to believe that the Hispanics should work harder at assimilation,” he said. “That’s one of the things I’ve been saying for a long time. You know, they ought not to be just codified in their communities but make sure that all their kids are learning to speak English, and that they feel comfortable in the communities. And that’s going to take outreach on both sides, frankly.”

Days after his remarks, followed by his apology, people were still sharing their anger and hurt on social media, many defending their place in this country. That’s not because there are a lot of overly sensitive individuals. That’s because his words struck at a concern many people of color share: What does it take to be seen as American enough?

People touted their degrees and their accomplishments online, asking if that made them assimilated enough. They also spoke of what their families had given up to be seen as American. Was that sacrifice enough? Would anything be enough?

[Hispanic immigrants are assimilating just as quickly as earlier groups]

“This son of Mexican parents and five siblings speak both English and Spanish, all graduated from top universities, own their own homes and businesses, have college educated grandchildren, two of which earned doctorate degrees,” one person tweeted. “Is that assimilated enough Mr. Brokaw?”

“My late great uncle changed his Italian surname to an English version to find work in Chicago,” wrote another person. “I’d wish that on no family in America.”

“I’m a non-Spanish speaking Hispanic,” wrote a woman whose profile says she served in the military. “I grew up with 4 grandparents who spoke Spanish around us. Later on I was sad to learn they thought they were ‘protecting’ or ‘helping’ us by not teaching us Spanish. Yet growing up in So. CA, I was called ‘beaner’ & ‘wetback.’ Go figure.”

Some people have argued that Brokaw’s comment uttered any other time would have been ignored. Maybe that’s true. But we’re not in another time. We’re at a point in this country in which our president described an Indiana-born federal judge as incapable of being fair to him because he was “a Mexican.” He might as well have called him “not American.

We’re at a point in this country in which individuals and groups who have spouted hate against people of color were quick to latch onto Brokaw’s words and defend them as the truth, ignoring data that showed otherwise.

Hispanics have been found to assimilate and learn English just as quickly as other groups. The Pew Research Center released a report in 2017 that showed a growing share of Hispanics had gone to college and that “a record 35 million Hispanics ages 5 and older say they are English-proficient.”

No one is saying Latinos shouldn’t assimilate and learn English. They are saying that they have long been working hard to do so in ways they chose and in ways that were chosen for them. If you don’t see that, then you need to expand your circles.

I have no doubt that the man I helped at that CVS counter that day wished he knew English. No one moves to this country — or any country — and doesn’t want the easier life that comes with being able to better communicate. No one wants to have to rely on strangers to help them with the simplest of tasks.

That afternoon, he just wanted me to let the pharmacist know that he really needed that medicine that day.

Theresa Vargas

Theresa Vargas is a local columnist for The Washington Post. Before coming to The Post, she worked at Newsday in New York. She has degrees from Stanford University and Columbia University School of Journalism. Follow

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Language on the iPhone box — “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China.”

Updating to include news that Foxconn the Taiwanese company that was to build that factory in Wisconsin to assemble touch screens for Apple products has been downgraded to a technical center. It was to employ over a thousand factory worker, Going forward the plans are a lesser number of engineers and other technical workers.

Of course Foxconn received a phone call from the President telling them to build the factory. We’ll see how that works?

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Workers assembling Macintosh computers at Apple’s factory in Fremont, Calif. March. 5, 1984.CreditCreditTerrence McCarthy for The New York Times

PAST TENSE

Apple Computers Used to Be Built in the U.S. It Was a Mess.

Steve Jobs tried to create a manufacturing culture in Silicon Valley. As one former Apple engineer put it, “It wasn’t great for business.”

John Markoff

By John Markoff

In 1988, when Jean-Louis Gassée took a close look at Apple’s “highly automated” Macintosh factory in Fremont, Calif., what he saw was not pretty.

Mr. Gassée, a French specialist in office automation, had just been promoted to president of Apple’s product division by John Sculley, then Apple’s chief executive, and was responsible for the company’s engineering and manufacturing work. When he first started, Mr. Gassée decided to spend two days learning how the company actually built its products by working on a factory production line.

His experience assembling a Macintosh computer display and then stuffing chips into a computer motherboard is an important part of the story behind the artful language on the iPhone box — “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China.”

After Apple announced a large new campus in Austin, Tex. — creating as many as 15,000 jobs, none of them expected to be manufacturing — it’s worth looking at the company’s flirtation with advanced manufacturing in Silicon Valley in the 1980s. Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs, had an abiding fascination with the tradition of Henry Ford and the original mass manufacturing of automobiles in Detroit, as well as the high-quality domestic manufacturing capabilities of Japanese companies like Sony. But his efforts to replicate either in California were examples of his rare failures.

Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. Sept. 22, 1980.CreditTerrence McCarthy for The New York Times

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Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. Sept. 22, 1980. CreditTerrence McCarthy for The New York Times

Apple to Add $1 Billion Campus in Austin, Tex., in Broad U.S. Hiring Push

Dec. 13, 2018

 

In 1983, Mr. Jobs oversaw the construction of a state-of-the-art plant where the new Macintosh computer would be built. Reporters who toured it early on were told that the plant, located just across San Francisco Bay from Apple’s headquarters, was so advanced that factory labor would account for 2 percent of the cost of making a Macintosh.

“Steve had deep convictions about Japanese manufacturing processes,” recalled Randy Battat, who joined Apple as a young electrical engineer and oversaw the introduction of some of the company’s early portable computers. “The Japanese were heralded as wizards of manufacturing. The idea was to create a factory with just-in-time delivery of zero-defect parts. It wasn’t great for business.”

What Mr. Gassée found several years after Mr. Jobs was forced out of the company, was that the reality of manufacturing was different than the personal computer pioneer’s original dream.

“I embarrassed myself attaching a display to the computer bezel with a screwdriver,” Mr. Gassée recalled in a recent interview. At the end of his shift, Mr. Gassée grabbed a broom and swept up the parts that had fallen off the production line. “It was really shameful,” he said of the noticeably slipshod process.

Apple’s Macintosh manufacturing in California lasted just eight years. March. 5, 1984.CreditTerrence McCarthy for The New York Times

Ultimately, the Macintosh factory closed in 1992, in part because it never realized the production volume that Mr. Jobs had envisioned — such sales numbers for the Mac would only come later.

So, the story of Silicon Valley’s success turned out to be the ability of a company like Apple to devise manufacturing supply chains that stretch all the way around the globe, taking advantage of both low-cost labor and lax environmental regulations.

“We don’t have a manufacturing culture,” Mr. Gassée said of the nation’s high-technology heartland, “meaning the substrate, the schooling, the apprentices, the subcontractors.”

It took Mr. Jobs a bit longer to grasp that idea, however.

In 1990, just a mile and half from where he had built the original Mac factory, he created another $10 million one to manufacture his Next Inc. personal workstation. Like the early Macintosh, however, he was never able to make flashy jet-black Next machines in quantities to support a Silicon Valley-based assembly operation.

The Next manufacturing facility featured robotic devices, but it failed as its Apple predecessor had. Dec. 7, 1990.CreditTerrence McCarthy for The New York Times

That failure taught Mr. Jobs the lesson. He returned to Apple in 1997, and the next year, he hired Tim Cook as Apple’s senior vice president for worldwide operations. Mr. Cook had mastered the art of global manufacturing supply chains, first in IBM’s personal computer business and then at Compaq Computer.

Apple, like many companies in Silicon Valley, had begun outsourcing manufacturing early on. Not long after Silicon Valley emerged in the 1970s, labor-intensive assembly, such as the process of packaging semiconductor chips, was moved to Asia, to countries with progressively lower labor costs. That trend only accelerated as the company grew.

“When I started my career, all my flights were to Japan,” said Tony Fadell, one of the hardware designers of the iPod and iPhone at Apple. “Then all my flights went Korea, then Taiwan, then China.”

Today, Silicon Valley has retained a relatively small manufacturing work force, as electronics manufacturing has exploded globally, creating millions of jobs. The small amount of manufacturing still done in the Valley is largely done by specialized contract firms that focus on fast-turnaround prototype systems.

The challenge today is that an enormous manufacturing ecosystem is required to make products for mass markets, and that ecosystem has largely moved to mainland China, where some 450,000 people have worked at a single iPhone plant.

In the early 1990s, when Andrew Hargadon was a product designer at Apple with a portable computer called the Macintosh Powerbook Duo, the ecosystem had already moved to Asia. He worked with a complex web of suppliers.

Steve Jobs, then C.E.O. of Next, speaking during the Unix Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York. Oct. 30, 1991.CreditRichard Drew/Associated Press Photo

“You can’t bring manufacturing back because of those webs, you would have to bring the entire community back,” said Mr. Hargadon, who is now a professor of technology management at the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis.

When Mr. Jobs fell ill and had to take a leave of absence in 2009, he appointed Mr. Cook as the company’s future chief executive. It was a significant statement about the nature of Silicon Valley and what the mature computing industry there looked like. The dream of manufacturing computers at scale in California was basically abandoned.

Through the 1980s and 1990s, there were many people who predicted the manufacturing flight would mean the death of Silicon Valley.

“When I started doing research, I begun looking at the chip companies that were moving to low-cost manufacturing regions in the U.S.,” said AnnaLee Saxenian, the dean of the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of “Regional Advantage,” an early analysis of Silicon Valley’s success. “Their executives told me that Silicon Valley is going to die because it’s too expensive. I wrote my book because I was basically trying to explain why Silicon Valley was different.”

Indeed, the offshoring of manufacturing jobs didn’t kill the Valley; the region became the world’s leading industrial and software design center. But unlike Detroit’s automotive model of the mid-20th century, relatively few middle-class jobs were created, and the region is marked by a vast concentration of wealth in the upper, white-collar reaches. Hourly workers routinely commute more than 100 miles to their support-staff jobs in the Valley, $100,000 Teslas are a common sight and the median price of a home in Fremont — the former site of Mr. Jobs’s ill-fated factories — is $1.1 million.

I Love my HUAWEI smart phone

FeaturedI Love my HUAWEI smart phone

This blog is old now. My daughter has moved. We are still in central Mexico, Patzcuaro, Michoan to be exact. And, I still love my HUAWEI! I don’t really care if them Chineese are monitoring me. This is the best smart phone I’ve ever had. Politics aside, and I do mean asisde, I would get another HUAWEI if the one I had died.

Sitting at home looking a CNN reporting on hurrcane Irma. I have also been on my cell phone texting back and forth with my daughter. She is in Hileah, Florida. Irma has passed by leaving high winds and lots of water. Our conversation was cut off due to power failure. We, my wife and I, are in central Mexico, far away from loved ones. If it were not for our computing devices we would be pretty much cut off from the US.

I came to Mexico fifteen years ago, and found it to be the land of phone land lines. ATM’s had yet to arrive. There was the beginnings of cell phone communications. These were sketchy at best. But, there have been an upward evolution of communications. The bank ATM’s now speak to other ATM’s and the world! We have internet and wireless! For a long time we clung to our landlines.Preferring them over experimenting with cells. That is old school now. We have smart phones with which we can call anywhere in the United States and Canada. Don’t know any one in Canada. Who knows when we will meet someone from that area.

But let me get back on-topic. My daugher  is in midle of a serious storm! How were to stay in touch, and try to find out how she was doing? I amold fashioned. Dad said to us, if you don’t have business to get off the phone! My phone conversations tend to be brief, to the point. I don’t like to using the phone. I’ve made good use of Skype as a telephony tool. That is because I get to see the person on the other side of the conversation. This was an emergancy, and I’ve paid for international calling. What harm can it do to communicate with my daughter using my smart phone? Don’t care too much for the audio on cells but texting should work.

It was wonderful! I got across, and have been texting ever since this morming. Never a dull moment. Not being good at spelling, the spell checker on the phone works well. Not only that,  the app guesses what I am am going to type next. It works well. I can type away much faster on my cell phone than on my computer keyboard!

I love my HUAWEI smart phone!

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Introduction to Orwell’s 1984 Revisted

Revisiting an introduction to George Orwell’s 1984. It has been less than a year since Donald Trump took office. Now it is becoming clear that his actions are leading to the subversion of American institutions. All of the government agencies seem to exist for the sole purpose of restructuring themselves. DOJ is far from embracing the notion of justice for all. Supreme Court is in the process of defending the federal government instead of the people. The progress of the Civil Rights Movement has been set back and all minority rights are being trampled upon! So has Orwell’s 1984 being update for our generations?

The Trump campaign, his subsequent election, and his follow through, has many people re-reading this science fiction novel. It is my belief that this has much to do with his flipping the purpose of American institutions, such as the EPA and the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice is now under a person that fought against the Civil Rights movement. And the Environmental Protection Agency plans to deregulate most controls on the protection of the environment. So looking at an introduction to 1984 might be useful in evaluating the present situation.

Ricardo Montoya Ochoa

Introduction
George Orwell‘s 1984, like many works of literature, unmistakably carries with it literary traditions reaching back to the earliest of storytellers. Among the literary traditions that Orwell uses is the concept of utopia, which he distorts effectively for his own purposes. Utopia, or Nowhere Land, is an ideal place or society in which human beings realize a perfect existence, a place without suffering or human malady. Orwell did not originate this genre. In fact, the word utopia is taken from Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, written in 1516. The word is now used to describe any place considered to be perfect.
In 1984, Orwell creates a technologically advanced world in which fear is used as a tool for manipulating and controlling individuals who do not conform to the prevailing political orthodoxy. In his attempt to educate the reader about the consequences of certain political philosophies and the defects of human nature, Orwell manipulates and usurps the utopian tradition and creates a dystopia, a fictional setting in which life is extremely bad from deprivation, oppression, or terror. Orwell’s dystopia is a place where humans have no control over their own lives, where nearly every positive feeling is squelched, and where people live in misery, fear, and repression.
The dystopian tradition in literature is a relatively modern one and is usually a criticism of the time in which the author lives. These novels are often political statements, as was Orwell’s other dystopian novel, Animal Farm, published in 1945. By using a dystopian setting for 1984, Orwell suggests the possibility of a utopia, and then makes very clear, with each horror that takes place, the price humankind pays for “perfect” societies.
Historical Background
Orwell wrote 1984 just after World War II ended, wanting it to serve as a warning to his readers. He wanted to be certain that the kind of future presented in the novel should never come to pass, even though the practices that contribute to the development of such a state were abundantly present in Orwell’s time.
Orwell lived during a time in which tyranny was a reality in Spain, Germany, the Soviet Union, and other countries, where government kept an iron fist (or curtain) around its citizens, where there was little, if any freedom, and where hunger, forced labor, and mass execution were common.
Orwell espoused democratic socialism. In his essay, “Why I Write,” published in 1947, two years before the publication of 1984, Orwell stated that he writes, among other reasons, from the “[d]esire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after.” Orwell used his writing to express his powerful political feelings, and that fact is readily apparent in the society he creates in 1984.
The society in 1984, although fictional, mirrors the political weather of the societies that existed all around him. Orwell’s Oceania is a terrifying society reminiscent of Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union — complete repression of the human spirit, absolute governmental control of daily life, constant hunger, and the systematic “vaporization” of individuals who do not, or will not, comply with the government’s values.
Orwell despised the politics of the leaders he saw rise to power in the countries around him, and he despised what the politicians did to the people of those countries. Big Brother is certainly a fusing of both Stalin and Hitler, both real and terrifying leaders, though both on opposite sides of the philosophical spectrum. By combining traits from both the Soviet Union’s and Germany’s totalitarian states, Orwell makes clear that he is staunchly against any form of governmental totalitarianism, either from the left or the right of the political spectrum.
By making Big Brother so easily recognizable (he is physically similar to both Hitler and Stalin, all three having heavy black mustaches and charismatic speaking styles), Orwell makes sure that the reader of 1984 does not mistake his intention — to show clearly how totalitarianism negatively affects the human spirit and how it is impossible to remain freethinking under such circumstances.
The Role of the Media
Orwell spent time in Spain during the time of Franco’s Fascist military rebellion. Although he was initially pleased with what he considered to be the realization of socialism in Barcelona, he quickly saw that dream change; such a political climate could not maintain that kind of “ideal” political life. The group with which Orwell was associated was accused of being a pro-Fascist organization, a falsehood that was readily believed by many, including the left-wing press in England. As a reflection on this experience, in 1984, Orwell creates a media service that is nothing more than a propaganda machine, mirroring what Orwell, as a writer, experienced during his time in Spain.
Orwell worked with the BBC during World War II when certain kinds of restrictions limiting what news could be disseminated were common, and he became disturbed by what he perceived to be the falseness of his work. It is noteworthy that Winston Smith, the main character in 1984, works in the media and is responsible for creating what is, essentially, deceptive propaganda. In fact, it is Winston’s position in the media that gives the reader the most insight into the duplicity of the society in which he lives and therefore, the society that Orwell most condemns.
The Setting
The setting of 1984 is Oceania, a giant country comprised of the Americas; the Atlantic Islands, including the British Isles; Australia; and the southern portion of Africa. Oceania’s mainland is called Air Strip One, formerly England. The story itself takes place in London in the year 1984, a terrifying place and time where the human spirit and freedom are all but crushed. In the novel, war is constant. The main character, Winston Smith, born before the World War II, grew up knowing only hunger and political instability, and many of the things that he experiences are hyperboles of real activities in wartime Germany and the Soviet Union.
It is important to remember that Orwell based 1984 on the facts as he knew them; hunger, shortages, and repression actually happened as a result of the extreme governmental policies of these countries. The war hysteria, the destruction of the family unit, the persecution of “free thinkers” or those who were “different” or not easily assimilated into the party doctrine, the changing of history to suit the party’s agenda, were all too real. Orwell’s speculation of the future is actually a creative extension of how the masses were treated under Franco, Hitler, and Stalin.
By setting 1984 in London, Orwell is able to invoke the atmosphere of a real war-torn community, where people live in “wooden dwellings like chicken houses” in bombed-out clearings. His intent clearly was to capitalize on a memory that every reader, especially a British reader, was likely to have. London in 1984, then, becomes not just a make-believe place where bad things happen to unknown people, but a very real geographical spot that still holds some connection for the modern reader.
In 1984, the world is sliced into three political realms — the super states of Oceania, Eastasia, and Eurasia. Orwell drew these lines fairly consistent with the political distribution of the Cold War era beginning after World War II. Each of these three states is run by a totalitarian government that is constantly warring on multiple fronts. By creating an entire world at war, Orwell not only creates a terrifying place, but he also eliminates the possibility of escape for Winston, who is forced to live within his present circumstances, horrible and unremitting as they are.
Oceania’s political structure is divided into three segments: the Inner Party, the ultimate ruling class, consisting of less than 2 percent of the population; the Outer Party, the educated workers, numbering around 18 to 19 percent of the population; and the Proles, or the proletariat, the working class. Although the Party (Inner and Outer) does not see these divisions as true “classes,” it is clear that Orwell wants the reader to see the class distinctions. For a socialist such as Orwell, class distinctions mean the existence of conflict and class struggle. In Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, for example, the few people who comprised the ruling class had a much higher standard of living than the masses, but in these nations, as in 1984, revolt was all but impossible.
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Everybody’s’ leaving town. Seems they’re moving to L.A.

Back in time El Paso, Texas was isolated from most of the United States. Hardly anybody ever left. This was in the forties an fifties. But then started the trickle in my family. Los Angeles and the rest of California were the main places. It was almost a religious thing,  the pilgrimage to L.A. and back. They inadvertently came back to El Paso. Then one uncle, Frank Ochoa on my mom’s side of the family, and then another on my Dad’s side, Jose Montoya left. They would come back to visit but they were gone, never to come back accept for a brief visit. These were the first ones to leave our parochial town.
I never thought that I would leave. I loved the city,  the thought of leaving never entered my mind. I stayed put. There were not many jobs to be found, those that existed did not pay much. But, I figured that with enough schooling I would be able to find work. Got married not long after high school graduation, and then the kids came. I had kept on going to school, went to night school at Burge High School and El Paso Tech. I was interested in My interested electronics and did well in classes related to that. There were few jobs in electronics in town. I had to get whatever jobs that I could to support my young and growing family. Worked food service at first and just managed. The only way to get a decent job was if you knew someone that could open doors for you. I thought I could make it on my own, and so I struggled.
After trying to find work and finding only food service jobs paying low wages I finally got smart. Deciding to ask for help, I found it in a couple of uncles that worked for one of the biggest employers in town, Farah Manufacturing. My uncle Joe Farah got me into the garment factory. Later Uncle Eddie Ochoa got me into their research and development shop. More tales to tell later on the eleven or so years that I spent at Farah. It was a great learning experience, leaning to work with people, knowing how to go up the corporate structure, but best of all applying my basic electrons classes. In the end, I had to leave. Problems within Farah family over control of the company and attempts to unionize created an unstable environment. And so I left Farah.
I am skipping over a lot of history but that will be the next step in telling the story related to my leaving El Paso for better pastures. My oldest boy had a good job in town working for an electronics company. The second son only found work in food service. My older brother had lived in Dallas for some time, so I suggested to my second eldest that he look for work in Dallas. It did not take him long to decide to go there where he found jobs easily. The electronics company my eldest worked with started one of many restructuring steps. Eventually, he too left for the Dallas area.  The story is still incomplete but let me just stop here to say that I too followed in seeking work in Dallas.

 

Water Under The Bridge

This was 2017. A lot of water has gone under the bridge. So I guess it’s time to update this.

Ricardo Montoya

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Friends

A friend wrote the following, “Ricardo Montoya I had a conversation with my 43-year-old daughter just yesterday about how much technology has changed over the past 20 years. It is indeed remarkable how much we take for granted that didn’t even exist 20 or even 5 years ago.” I feel much the same and wondered how it has been a part of your own experiences?

Let me recall from my rocking chair of memories the past half decade. Forgive me if I forget some things as my RAM is more random than ever. Let me jump ahead and examine what COVID-19 has brought. Distance Learning. That is staying home or away from school using modern technology. How many of you have learned to use digital cameras, video cameras, and programs to get things done.

My daughter is a prime example of teaching her yoga classes by adopting the tools of this new world. It was a steep learning curve. For many to survive in this environment it was like jumping into the future head first! You may add your own experience to what I am writing.

My own enjoyment of working with older computers has forced me to accept the changes taking place in this areas. Regarding operating systems I held on to Microsoft Window 7 as long as I could. But now we have seen Window 8, Window 10 leapfrogging into perhaps Windows 11? But it’s not only computers that have invaded our space in a very short time. You may want to look at your own high tech toys/tools. iPads, IPods, and all kinds of cell phones. Look around your place and notice how many of these you have accumulated over the past four or five years.

A Death in the Neighborhood

This morning I saw something that has probably been repeated countless times in Patzcuaro. There was a mound of ashes at the house on one corner of my block. The ashes mean that a death has taken place in that household. I am sure that it was the old man that often stood outside of that house. There was a small gathering of relatives surrounding the ashen memorial. A bit later a pickup truck with a large tarp arrived at the scene. This tells me that old man died at home. He will be wrapped in that tarp, put on the back of the pickup truck and transported to who knows where. We may never know if he died a natural death or if this was due to COVIDS-19.

I will miss seeing Jose taking in the sun or walking into town. His wife passed away quite a few years ago. And so I often thought that when I say him that he was still in mourning after all these years.

May he rest in peace.

Finding My Roots – Part Five

When I got back home to El Paso, I would do everything I could to get back what I had lost.

I felt that I would not be going to get a chance to get back to connecting with my roots. Next, I got a job with Dale Electronics. It was a great place to hub-nub with a variety of tech types. It was not a part of my plan. A turn of events changed my plans. The company was moving to Mexico! This created an opportunity to work in Mexico. I stayed with the company.

Here was my chance to delve back into my roots.

Working in Dale Electronics, Mexico, was a challenge. I was to train mechanics and techs. Many knew or understood English, but they were not about to help me! They would rather have me fend for myself. So I had to absorb the culture and language. That did not last long. After a year, I was out of a job and far from my quest.

But lady luck or some other lady found me on my way to Patzuaro, Michoacan, Mexico. Maybe there I would find my root and culture.

Memory Lane-Alameda Avenue

As I get older, I test my brain to place and things along my path.
Part of my path is getting grayed out.
But I recall a few things along my way.
Let us start with Lovelady’s 5 and 10. Boyhood chums tried to pocket tops and yo-yos. We got caught, and our parents had to come for us!
At Calderellas Trash & Treasure, you could find many unique items and wondered how about their use.
Next along the way was Coffee Joe’s. The name itself was an oddity. There was no coffee there, but maybe there was a Joe. They had small appliances and much more. Some items, matchbooks did not belong. I saw bags of marbles. The large and small steelies I can understand.
Next was Butchofky Drug Store.  There we would fill out our prescriptions, thumb through, or get the latest magazines. I got my Modern Electronics magazines there. Butchofky’s were a friendly family.
Continuing along my path is Black & Tan Bar. Moving on, I approach Mission Theater, the neighborhood movie theater. They had Western movies. Live entertainment. Mexican Shower of Stars. Many Saturday matinee memories.
Oh dear, Glad that I got to Mission Drug Store, where I stop for a Cherry Coke before I move on!

Return To My Roots-Part 3

It has been quite a journey. It started when I was in grammar school when I was told that if I spoke Spanish I would get some kind of punishment. So I spoke only English while I was there. Getting into high school I preferred to us Richard instead of Ricardo my given name. Ricardo sounded so Mexican! I even developed an East Texas drawl which my speech teacher at Jeff called a pseudo-Chicano accent. So I was on my way to be a regular American. Or so I thought. It was then that I realized how far I had fallen. In trying to climb the ladder, to get ahead, I had lost my way. It was then that I realized that I needed to reconnect with my roots.

I vowed when I got back home to El Paso that I would do everything that I could to try to get back what I had lost.

And so the journey begins.

Things were not going very well at Farah. There was a lot of turmoil. It looked like the company was not going to survive and so I left. Next job that I got was working for peanuts at Azar Nut Company. They processed and packaged all kinds of nuts. It was a good place to catch up on my Spanish since most of the people there spoke the language. But there were too many idle hours mostly sitting and drinking coffee waiting for equipment to break down. Holiday season was coming the required for maintenance, of which I was a part, to spend long hours and more day. So I left.

I felt that I was not going to get a chance to get back to connecting with my roots. Next, I got a job with Dale Electronics. They used to make transformers for Lionel Trains. You may recall those trains that we had as kids. But they had become a major electronics component parts maker. You know, those funny looking parts that going into computers, missiles systems and much more. Within five years Dale Electronics grew quite a bit at their El Paso location. There I was in a huge area built for engineering among a group of engineers from many parts of the country, none of which spoke or understood Spanish. It was a great place to hub-nub with a variety of tech types. But it seemed not a part of my plan. But a turn of events changed my plans. The El Paso plant was shutting down! And I would be left without at job.

I know that I am stretching this story out more than a little but there is a method to my madness and to my writing.

So please wait for the next installment.

Return To My Roots-Part 2

It has been quite a journey. It started when I was in grammar school when I was told that if I spoke Spanish I would get some kind of punishment. So I spoke only English while I was there. Getting into high school I preferred to us Richard instead of Ricardo my given name. Ricardo sounded so Mexican! I even developed an East Texas drawl which my speech teacher at Jeff called a pseudo-Chicano accent. So I was on my way to be a regular American. Or so I thought.

Moving forward I fine tuned this to get what we call upward mobility. I got closer to what was considered normal to get ahead on the job. The more Americanized that I got the further behind is put my heritage and culture.

It did not hit me how wrong I had been until went I went of San Antonio, Texas to provide information on new equipment to operators. I was working for Farah Manufacturing, a pants and other garment maker. I was to orient operators on a new line of equipment. Five minutes into the spiel to the first operator she stopped me. She told me that she was sorry but she did not speak English. A big stop sign came to mind as I backtracked and tried to explain in faulty Spanish to the how to do this and that. It was a total failure.

It was then that I realized how far I had fallen. In trying to climb the ladder, to get ahead, I had lost my way. It was then that I realized that I needed to reconnect with my roots.

I vowed when I got back home to El Paso that I would do everything that I could to try to get back what I had lost.

And so the journey started.

Actually a lot of things happened in between. While I did got back to Farah for a while, I had to leave them. I went to work for Dale Electronics for a while until they moved to Mexico. I helped with the move and then went to work in Juarez. It was not exactly a part of my plan but an opportunity. This may be my chance to upgrade my connection to my heritage. And so it begun but more one that in Part 3.

To be continued.

Get Ready For Brexit

Get Ready For Brexit

This week, the railway has been participating in practice sessions to prepare for the new Britain that will fully emerge from the Brexit process at the end of this year. We all recognise that it is important to be ready for a new, independent future. Britain will be a sovereign nation again for the first time since the 1970s.

In keeping with the 70s theme, the first thing we did was turn the electricity off. Just before 6am, the switch was flicked and we were plunged into almost total darkness. With disrupted energy supplies, higher prices for fuels and less cash to pay for the stuff, a key part of preparing for Brexit Britain will be learning to stand around in the dark doing nothing. I feel that my own performance in this regard was beyond reproach. Dare I say, I may excel in this new Britain.

The railways…

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Sitting It Out

Here I sit. Waiting for something to happen. It seems like it has been months since this gloom started. I’ve lost track of time.

I cannot not fall back on my pastimes. No more Tuesday breakfasts with friends and associates. I cannot even take my walks into town to check things out.

Sure, I am on social media and so I am glad that I can chat and joke with friends on line. But I miss being one on one in the real flesh! There is nothing to replace the human touch.

So here I sit still doing what I think that I do best. Blogging and hoping someone sees this and can relate to it.

Of Things Forgotten

It may not all be clear but I think that the reason that I am adding content to my family blogs is to remind myself of what has gone before and maybe leave some of me and my past to future generations.

While I still have presence and clarity of mind maybe I can do this.

I will start with a letter from my niece Teresa (she is my sister Pat’s Daughter. That is the letter below.

From: Patricia Chavez [thechavez@worldnet.att.net] 
Sent: Wednesday, February 02, 2000 2:32 AM 
To: richard Montoya 
Cc: Patricia Chavez 
Subject: family history

Hi Uncle Richie, 
     Sorry I have taken so long to get these names to you, school has started and I have been busy, busy, busy.  Well first off my mom wanted me to thank you very much for the pictures you sent us, they are great. She also wanted me to ask you if the second CD you sent us is also for us to keep or to send to Andy? Also thank you so much for the history and the pictures you sent. My mom said that all the dates and places sound correct but she says you know more about all that then she does. I am planning to take an evening to record grandma telling the stories of her account of how the Ochoa family came to the US and any names, dates and places that she can remember. Well I am going to send you a copy of the pedigree chart that I have written up of the Ochoa family, if you can please look through it and add anything that I might be missing. Thank you very much and I hope to here from you soon. 
Love, 
Teresa

1.  Jesus Jose Sandoval married Maria Casillas     Date: 
    This is your grandmother (Margarita’s parents) 
    Children: 
        a. Guma Sandoval 
     **   b. Margarita Sandoval 
        c. Dolores Sandoval 
        d. Gabino Sandoval 
        e. Gildardo Sandoval 
        f.  Avilardo Sandoval 
        g. Jose Sandoval

2. Francisco Ochoa married Margarita Sandoval      Date: 
    (This is your grandmother and grandfather) 
    Children: 
        a. Elisa Ochoa (Fransicos daughter by his first wife) 
        b. Lily Ochoa 
        **c. Consuelo Ochoa 
        d. Eustolia Ochoa (died as a child) 
        **e. Angelina Ochoa 
        f. Fransico Ochoa 
        g. Isbel Ochoa (Francisos daughter by his first wife) 
        h. Hector Ochoa

—-From your grandfathers side (Fransico) the only name I have is his mothers:        Maria De Rosario Ochoa 
These are all the names I have been able to come up with you may have more information so I do not really know if I am telling things that you already know. If you know any dates such as death or birth dates of any of the names above can you please add them in.   Thanks.

Montoya’s, Nerds, and Computers

This blog is related to an ongoing family discussion on geeks in my family. I am not all that sure that I started the trend but since I am the senior of the group I guess that age trumps all!

Back in El Paso it seems that the only way to get out of the bad economy was through education and going this was a career in electronics. Since I already enjoying this type of work I enrolled first in night classes related to electronics such as computer fundamentals and basic electronics. This opened a few doors that allowed me to get a job in the R and D department of Farah Manufacturing. Of course having my Uncle Joe as part of upper management and Uncle Eddie Ochoa as the machine shop manager were a few pluses but that is another story.

My first tasks there were not all that glamorous. This was making cables for the machine controls of very specialized automatic equipment for the garment industry. Boring as could be so I had to get away from this and this involved troubleshooting on the field. This was the best on the job training in electronics that I ever had! That and the three senior engineer that headed up the R and D department. But to tell the truth when I first got into the shop I did not even know which switch to turn on to get a machine going!

More on that later but in a big sense this is how I started out on the road to nerdsville. The picture above is the only one that I found that included my beloved pocket protractor and other tools of the trade.

Our current Face Book discussion now feature the long nerd line that got us to where we are now along this road. All of my children had traveled this road in one way or another. From Number Sense club to sending digital pictures from Austin and beyond. My kids have always had their computer connections and they grow stronger by the day. iSense that iPods, iPads, Smart phones and what’s yet to come will become a part of our life’s and keep us forever in touch.

Hey look at me living in Mexico and writing this blog!

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