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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.

 

Memories of growing up in El Paso

Growing up in the 50’s in El Paso was a unique experience. The city never felt like a small town. It was urban from the start. The population, when I first took note of it, was over one hundred thousand souls. It butted up to Cuidad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Growing up El Paso and Juarez were like one big city. Most of us on the US side had relatives in Mexico’ or many of our family members came from Mexico. It is no wonder that most of the population on the US side spoke Spanish, and were Catholic.

The population was composed of more than eighty percent descendants of immigrants from Mexico, there was not much exposure to other cultures. Our minorities consisted of some “regular” Americans. Many were servicemen station at military facilities that ringed the city. We did have some Chinese, Lebanese and Jews that were part of the business owners. There were few blacks. Excuse me if I use this word for people of color. I have not kept up with political correctness. We got along with everybody. Anyway, that is the way that I saw it.

In my neighborhood th, re were three of four churches. There was an black Baptist church and an apostolic one acros the street. The Baptist Reverend Humphries and his family lived on the corner. We shared a fence between us. His son and daughter were our playmates. Dad and the mister were friends. Dad worked at Mitchells Brewery, and got to take home a six-pack of beer. He was not much of a drinker so when his did bring some home, he would give it to the reverend. Even a man of God enjoys a cool one on a hot summer day. Guaridian Angel Catholic church,  was a block down the street. Grandma sent my brother Andy and me to services on Sunday. We often, we did not make it! But, since we almost had the priest’s fire and brimestone sermon memorized, we could cover our sses, if she asked about the sermon that week. We enjoyed going to the summer kermises, eating the gorditas and playing their games. But you could say that we were not that much into the church.

 

To be continued.

A Year of Stupid

A Year of Stupid

We do Stupid here! But maybe the Brits do it much better? Good blog by my friend in England.

The Mexile

A year ago today, we Brits awoke to hear the results of the big referendum. And 48% of us were mighty disappointed to hear that 51% of the population were indeed, as feared, Stupid. The campaigners for Stupid had worked tirelessly for 40 years for this and credit must be given where it is due. To induce

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The Poster Child

The Poster Child

Inequality, the subject resonates. It is the Robin Hood syndrome in reverse. The rich get richer while the poor, well they just continue to get poorer.

The Mexile

One.

The election last week. Well, that was unexpected, huh? Against all odds, the Conservative landslide transpired to be a hung parliament. Recriminations in Tory and media circles will last long into the night. And beyond. But the truth is, we are all guided by polls. Which in the UK are notoriously off the mark. But still, the

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My work with Cuidad Juarez and El Paso Maquiladoras

History of Maquiladoras

Seeing a story in my hometown newspaper, the El Paso Times, brought back memories of my crossing the border to work in Mexico.

Oregon “Gringo” lives the American dream on the border

Guilty as charged! I must admit the I helped move American Jobs to Mexico. That might sound heartless but in the context of the job situation in the US, you might understand the why of things. Employment in the US was very good. So much that someone working in a skilled trade could tell their boss to go shove it and walk out the door. Yes, you could go up the street and find work usually at the same or better wages. Workers had little loyalty and often did exactly that. My employer Dale Electronics based in Nebraska and North Dakota could not retain workers. So in looking for a solution. It decided to move some manufacturing to places where it could keep its workers. The City of El Paso, Texas offered many incentives for the company to move some of it manufacture there.  alternatives. A big labor pool with high unemployment, land at low cost with ultra low-interest rates provided a big draw. That was good enough for the first move. Dale Electronics was not the first high-tech company to move to El Paso. With technical training and some hands on experience, I applied for at job at their factory and got it! The city was mainly a hub for garment manufacturing so there was not need for the skilled worker. Nowhere to go without leaving, and so I was lucky to get the job at Dale as kind of a jack of all trades. I learned a lot while working there but that is a story in itself. That might include a defense for aiding and abetting the flow of jobs into Mexico.

 

Understanding Trump

Understanding Trump

“But the good news is that there is a cure for Trumpitis. You just need to give sufferers a hug.” I love this Brit humor. I heard that it was very dry but not so much in this case. So many turisms that apply on both sides of the pond.

The Mexile

Last week, Donald Trump heroically prevented the squashing of one of the most endangered insects on the planet by the careless actions of the prime minister of Montenegro, who came within an inch of stepping on it. In fluent Croatian, Trump alerted his international colleague, “Budi oprezan, prijatelju. Gotovo stao na

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Flavours of Brexit

Flavours of Brexit

The future appears bleak for both the US and Britain.

The Mexile

Perceived wisdom over the last year is that our Brexit future comes in two potential flavours – hard and soft. At this moment in time, it seems rather likely we’ll be sucking on the hard version. But hard and soft is too simplistic, referring only to what parts of various European treaties we might remain beholden to or detach ourselves from.

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