My Grandparents Undocumented Illegal Aliens?


Grandma Montoya, Dad’s mom crossed from Mexico into the United States in 1910. She lived a quiet life in El Paso, Texas. She raised sons and daughters Three of her sons joined the military and went off to war. Over the years, she never thought of applying for citizenship. Later, when she wants to visit a daughter in Mexico, she was told that if she did that, she would not be able to return home. Dad was born in Texas in the town of Stanton. I don’t know if that makes him the first generation of the Montoya’s born in the United States? Dad had four kids, three sons, and one daughter. I was of course on of the sons. I don’t know if that would make us second generation Americans?

My grandparents could be called undocumented immigrants. Let’s put this into historical context. Around the turn of the century, there were few requirements for entering the country. You paid for an entry card and that was about that there was to it. The US and Mexico were equal in most ways. So begs the question, what changed?

So I am starting to feel like I am not a legitimated American. If you can follow the chain of evidence you might come to the same conclusion. Grandparents upon entering the country did not apply for citizenship. Could it be, that their sons and daughters shouldn’t for citizenship themselves? What about their children? So that might well bring into question my status and, that of my own children.

Is there such a thing as an illegal alien?

My Log Cabin Story

My log cabin story. To start, I wasn’t born in a log cabin! And, I did not have to walk for miles and miles to get to school either. I will just have to call this my adobe homestead story instead. I did walk to school. I could have taken the bus. Bus  passes were available at school at very low cost. But had other plans for that money. Like going to the movies. And other neat thing that a teen might want! Besides, it was good exercise walking to school. My only sacrifice was on chilly mornings. But. only when I dressed in a T-shirt. That was cool! Double entendre meant.

The adobe homestead part? I was with Gram. Her place came under the Texas homestead act. It had super-thick adobes. They were so thick that they insulated the house against hot weather. No need for air conditioning.

This is my log cabin story. Not as stated in the title! It was a place full of love. And, I loved it!

I enjoy telling stories. The best story tellers may well be those who tell stories about themselves.

Want to hear another one?

Greek Tragedy 2.0

Greek Tragedy 2.0

Why the disconnect by Americans and the Brit Brexit. An excellent post by my friend Gary.

The Mexile

A hundred and fifty five years ago, the Greeks chose the second son of Queen Victoria to replace their recently deposed king. Alas for any dreams Alfred may have had for a lifetime of sunshine and mousakka, Vicky had other plans. Alf did not get to swap Buckingham Palace for Athens, having instead to settle for being the Duke of Edinburgh. The world is a funny place though. The Greeks’ second choice was grandfather to a young boy, Philip, who would one day trade Athens for Buckingham Palace. He’s still there, serving as the Duke of Edinburgh. The whole episode was part of a great game of

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I Love my HUAWEI smart phone

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!

Where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average

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Recalling an old radio program that pictured an idyllic America.

Companion: News from Lake Wobegon

From American Public Media

Revisit memorable performances of Garrison Keillor’s signature monologue, The News from Lake Wobegon, from rebroadcasts of the live public radio program A Prairie Home Companion. Garrison created A Prairie Home Companion in July 1974 and hosted for 42 years, until July 2016. Enjoy classic tales from the town where “all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” Produced by American Public Media. Twitter: @prairie_homeMore from A Prairie Home Companion: News from Lake Wobegon »

That memory was triggered by the above picture.

In the fifties, this may have been the image that we had of the country. In truth, it may have been a very different place. Still, it was something to aim for. We all looked forward having the real America look like this Norman Rockwell picture. That of the police officer helping the runaway boy.

Lake Wobegon, the place never existed except in the hearts and minds of the American public.

The Dead of Night

The Dead of Night

Great new blog that includes his telling the news of Princes Diana’s death. But it is the telling of his story that really impressed me.

The Mexile

About 9 months after I moved from London to Dorset in the mid 90s, I picked up a job at a Texaco petrol station about 8 miles from home. It was just something to do till I got something better. It turned out that the ‘something better’ was Mexico, nearly ten years later. I had a range of shifts to do, but mostly lates (2pm to 10pm) or nights (10pm to 6am). Back in those days, most stations were single manned, other than a manager or supervisor during the day. I liked single manned shifts.

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Remembering my grandmother, Encarnacion V Montoya.

Remembering my grandmother, Encarnacion V Montoya.


My son Matthew Montoya recently asked me to tell him what I remembered about my grandma . He wrote:

“I was wondering if you could tell me some things about your grandmother if you can recall.  What were her favorite scriptures?  Were there any specific ones she would read at certain times?  Do you know of any recipes for baths, floor wash or any kind of luck or superstitious practices?

I was wondering if you could tell me some things about your grandmother if you can recall.  What were her favorite scriptures?  Were there any specific ones she would read at certain times?  Do you know of any recipes for baths, floor wash or any kind of luck or superstitious practices?”

Others have asked me to put together what I remember about Grandma Chonita. This is my effort to document my life with her as I remember her.

I smiled at Matthew’s question about grandma’s favorite scriptures. Not that she was not religious. She did have a bible, and when she had a question, she would open her bible, whatever page it opened upon, and whatever scripture her index finger touche was the answer. When that wasn’t good enough, she would consult her Ouija board. She did not practice magic of any kind. She had two reliable sources of information.

When the Russians sent up Sputnik with a manned crew, she said that if men were to get to the moon and beyond, that it would be in her bible. There was no changing her mind on that!

Sitting on her lap, I learned many things about grandma and her life,. When I grew too big to sit on her lap, she continued with her stories.

She grew up on a farm in Mexico. She did not get much of an education, one might say the she was illiterate. She did get many life experiences just by being there. When she was fourteen, grandpa Montoya came along and rode off with her. You could call it an abduction. In reality, it was a marriage proposal as practiced at that time. Her parents likely knew that. It was all legit as their marriage was recorded.


More on grandma and religion.

She had a rosary or two, but I don’t recall her handling those often if at all. She was Catholic. She spent very little time in church, even though the church was only a block away. Seems that she had an ongoing difference of opinion with the clergy there. She sent my brother Andy and me to mass on Sundays and to catechism. In spite of her troubles with the church, grandma was deeply religious in her own way. She had a tiny alter where she kept a figure of el Santo Niño de Atocha. There was also a picture of San Martin Caballero. Having little interest in religion, I did not grasp their meaning.

Her Stories and more.

I lived with my grandmother from approximately the age of two until she passed in 1960. I was almost 16 years old at the time. We lived on one side of a duplex. Aunt Mary and Uncle Raul Perez lived in the adjacent duplex. Dad, Andres Montoya, and Mom Angie lived in the new house in front. It was situated to front facing Frutas Street.

img00003This is a picture that shows what the place looked when I was young. This is a view from the back of the duplex looking at Dad’ home in the front. It faced the street. In the picture is brother Ray.


Here is a better view with me standing on the pick nick table and playing with family and neighborhood kids. In the front, beyond the driveway was the colored Baptist church. We were friends with the pastor. One of his kids is seen on this picture standing on the grass. My uncle Raul Perez and I took care of the yard. Grandma had here own garden area that is not pictured here. She loved rose bushes and had a small peach tree in it.

It was here that I saw grandma as a loving matriarch. I had cousins who for one reason or another were left out on the street, or could not live at home. She always took them under here wing, providing shelter and a loving environment for them. Cousins Josie and her brother Chuy were with us for while. Josie as like an older sister. She stayed till she got married and move away. This place was like the center of an extended Montoya family. I loved seeing that activity around events such as Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Including the following pictures of life around our place.

img00005Left to right, cousin Manny, brother Andy, and me, Richie.

The picture is taken of us in front o Dad’s house, with the duplexes in the back.

Andy and were all dressed up for our holy communion.


The same crew but now we are inside my part of the duplex. All dressed up in our Sunday best. That is except for cousin Manny.