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.