The other day I was walking in my neighborhood and I witnessed something that I just could not understand or believe.
There was an elderly lady trying to hang clothes and she was having a really rough time. Later speaking to her son, he told me she is in her seventies, with a heart condition and real bad problems with her legs and it is hard for her to walk without a walker. She left the walker inside so that she could carry the clothes basket. She fell down and was asking for help. Dalinda and I went to help her and I noticed that not fifty feet away were three young men that looked to be in their twenties.
I ask them if they had not heard the lady asking for help and they said they did but they ignored it because they do not like her son. Now here is my question. Have we become a society that will let things like that stop helping someone that needs help?
The flood of 98 came to mind where during that time I saw so many people helping other people because they needed help. When I walked out my front door and saw that the water was two feet deep and was up to my front porch I began to worry. I heard my neighbor ask for help because the water was so deep in his yard that it was running into the house. The reason he was asking for help was because the water was so deep in his back yard that his dogs that were tied to a tree were drowning.
We were able to save his dogs. Inside we stacked up the furniture the best we could to save as much as we could.
At that time, I was still teaching vocational at the Del Rio high school and we were told to go to a meeting at the high school with MR. ROBERTO BOBBY FERNANDEZ. He told us all to go out into our neighborhood and help anyone that needed help. My son Michael was 13 years old and he went with me and we would go and pick up cases of water and drive through the streets of San Felipe and give out water.
We also helped the red cross deliver food to the area. No matter where you would go you would see someone helping someone. I know the flood was horrible but it brought people together and that is the way I wish it was today.
It is sad to say but a lot of people now days when you ask them for help they want to know how much can you pay. The destruction that flood Charlie caused is still visible today. There are so many stories to be told about people that put their own life in danger to help someone else.
Speaking to Victor Camposano he told me that he also would go and pick up cases of water and deliver them to any one that need it. Victor also told me about MR. DUB WHITEHEAD who lived on the curve just before you crossed the creek they called Los Patos. Victor said that the people from the Cienegas area would walk across the rail road bridge and go to Mr. Whitehead house and get water from his water well. He did that until the well went dry.
If you knew MR. WHITEHEAD then you knew he was a good hearted Christian man and always tried to help other people.
I was told that people were allowing people to get water out of there swimming pool so that it could be used to flush the toilets. Victor told me later on that he was over at the San Felipe creek area behind the San Felipe lions club and found a pair of scissors that were completely stuck through a tree. Can you imagine the force of the water to do something like that?
I realize now that this has two be a two or three-part article to be able to cover some of the things I have heard from people about what they did to save family friends and even strangers and countless lives. Next month I will continue with the flood of 98 and tell the story of the Hernandez family and all they did to save people from drowning.
In closing let me say if you see someone or know someone that needs help don’t hesitate help them out of the goodness of your heart and not for what you can get from them. GOD bless and remember be proud that you live in my hometown Del Rio Texas. Thanks to the Val Verde County Library and Victor Cirilo.
I was at a convience store and watched a lady check out amovie at the red box.
It took me back to the time when there were three drive in theaters in Del Rio and three regular theaters.
The drive in movies were the Ceniza, the Flamingo, and the Gay 90 drive in. There were three downtown movies on Main St. the Princess, the main theater the Rita, and then there was the Texas theater where they showed mexican movies. My best friend Robert Diaz and I were hired by MR. POAG to clean the drive in movies every morning.
They paid us a dollar a day and free admission to all movies. We did not miss any movie believe me. I loved going to the Texas theater and seeing and hearing the western type mexican movies and songs they would sing. I would go to Seegers bakery and get some glazed donuts and go and see my favorite .My favorite was any movie with Lola
Beltran, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Pedro Infante,among others. How I wish they still made movies like that. I recall one Saturday night some one had some kind of spell inside of the movie theater and the lady there ask Robert and I to help him. I walked over and put my hand on his arm and he grabbed me and threw me over the row of seats. He did the same to my friend. It took both of us to hold him down until the ambulance got there. I hurt the next morning like you would not believe. On Saturday I would go to the princess and watch a double feature movie with John Wayne, Roy Rodgers, Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, Gaby Hayes and many more.
My friend Victor Camposano said he did the same thing almost every Saturday. In those days they had what they called dollar night at the Gay 90. No matter how many people you had in your car you got in for one dollar. As well as i can remember it was on a Tuesday night. I could be wrong. I called Victor to ask him but he didnt answer. In those days i knew a young musician that was a homosexual and when he dressed up if you did not know him you could not tell he was not a woman. On a dollar night I saw him with a man going into the drive in and he held his finger up to his mouth for me to keep quiet. It wasn’t any business of mine so I did not say a word. About thirty minutes after the movie started I heard him screaming Help me Freddie help. They stopped the movie and Robert Diaz and I ran over to the car which was parked two rows away and the man was beating the hell out of no names please. We tore him off of the guy and ask why were you beating on him. He said because he is a he not a she. He said I was kissing and touching and all of a sudden I put my hand in a certain place and found out it is a man. I am going to kill the so and so but the cops showed up and took him away.
One morning we were cleaning the drive in and found a set of diamond rings. About that time a gentleman walked up and ask if we had found a set of rings. I told him we had and he wanted me to give them to him and I refused. I tried to explain that i had to turn them in to my boss and then he could talk to him and work something out. Not no but hell no he said and tried to grabbed them out of Robert hand and Robert shoved him down and told him to get the hell out of there.
He said I will call the police. He went to the pay phone outside the concession stand and called the police. He told the police we were stealing a set of wedding rings from him and he needed help. I called my boss and ask him to come over there and told him what was going on.
When they all showed up the gentleman said that the night before him and his girlfriend came to the movies and he ask her to marry him. He said the rings had cost him 18 hundred dollars. He stated that the girl told him she was already married to a marine that was some where over seas.
He said he called her a few choice words and the girl got out and walked off. He said he threw the rings out the window and drove off. When he woke up that morning he knew he had to get the rings. To make a long story short he got his rings back. Another time at another drive in movie a friend of Robert borrowed his pocket knife and he ended stabbing someone with it there at the concession stand. In closing let me say that although there was few problems when alcohol was involved but over all it was a good time to be alive. Del Rio is a great place to live. If you live here are just visiting be sure you walk the Dora Alcala trail along the San Felipe Creek and visit the whitehead museum and the winery I am proud to say Del Rio is my home town thank you and GOD BLESS.
A few days ago, Dalinda was watching t.v. and it was talking about the scariest movie of the year. It took me back to a time when we lived at 304 E. 4th St. this was back in the forties. It was an old wood frame house and there was ten of us in this two-bedroom house. We had a big wood heater set up in the living room and when it was really cold, we would all sleep on pallets on the floor around the wood stove.
My mom would make some hot chocolate and my mom, dad, and my grandfather would tell ghost stories. One my mom told was during a time when they were chopping cedar up around Junction. She said one morning she got up and had to go to the bathroom really bad she found a caliche pit and went down in it and was just starting to use the restroom when all of a sudden, she heard this loud rattling noise. She looked up and on the wall behind her and the walls on both side of her was rattlesnakes.
She started screaming and my grandmother came and got her out of the pit. Mom said that for a long time she could not go to the bathroom alone. My grandmother had to go with her. That was before I was born and maybe that is why to this day, I am terrified of snakes.
My dad was born in 1915 and my mom was born in 1919. Then there was the story my granddad would tell about a panther. During the war my granddad was the night watchman for the old Devils river rail road bridge.
They ended up giving him an old railroad boxcar and he put it on a piece of property he had on Viesca St. it is still there today although it has almost rotted away. Behind their property was all woods. There was a duck pond way back in the rear of the property. Later on, it was owned by a gentleman named Marion Hunnicutt. Growing up all my brothers and me would go out there hunting rabbits.
But going back to the story granddad said one day his son Fred Cross went out there hunting he said later on he went out the door and heard
a scream that sounded like a woman screaming. Granddad said he recognized the scream as a panther and grabbed his gun and took off in the woods hollering for his son. He saw his son running towards him with a turkey thrown across his back, about 20 feet behind his son was a panther closing fast. Granddad hollered drop the turkey and as soon as his son did the panther grabbed the turkey and was gone back into the brush.
My uncle Fred lived on that property until he passed away but he would never go out there hunting again. My brothers and I walked and hunted that property for years and I never seen anything bigger than a bobcat out there but I did not want to say anything about my granddad story.
The story that scared us most of all was the story my dad would tell us about what I called bigfoot, this happened at the Pecos canyon on highway 90 west. my dad said that when he was thirteen or fourteen his dad had two trucks and they would haul freight and almost any thing else. Now remind you this was before they built the bridge at the Pecos canyon.
In those days you had to drive down in to the canyon and hope you had a good enough truck to handle a load going up to get out of the canyon. They were going to Van Horn or Alpine I forget which but as they started down one of the trucks broke down, when they checked it out it was determined that they would have to come back to Del Rio for parts. They left my dad there to guard the load and for a while it was, he said very exciting walking around the canyon looking and listening for all of the sounds that could be heard.
As it started to get dark, he walked back to the truck to eat some of the basket lunch my grandmother had made for them to eat. All of a sudden, he got this horrible smell coming from somewhere behind the truck and then he heard a sound that he could only call terrifying. My dad got out of the truck but could not see anything but the sound and the smell was closer than before. All of a sudden, he felt the back of the truck go down on the frame of the truck. whatever it was had gotten in the back of the truck with the freight they were hauling. After a few minutes it jumped off of the truck and the springs popped, that’s what he said.
All the while the creature or animal was making this growling sound and giving out that smell of rotten meat. My dad said there was a blanket in the front seat with him and he grabbed it and got down in the floor board of the truck and covered up with the blanket, then the smell was so strong and the growl so bad that he started praying.
About that time, he heard a car honk its horn and the sound and smell was gone. My dad uncovered his head and the food basket was gone. When my grandfather stopped behind the truck, he asks my dad who was that or what was that ran off into the brush. My dad said he was to scared to answer. They looked around and found the basket torn to shreds. What was it? I have often wondered.
These were just a few of the stories us kids were told but I still remember them. I hope you have enjoyed this story of looking back and will share it with someone, remember be proud you live in my home town Del Rio Texas GOD BLESS. Special thanks to Victor Cirilo and the Val Verde County Library.
Here we are again talking about the way things used to be in this city and around this area. Back in the early sixties my parents lived in the San Jose project in the barrio of Chihuahua.
There was my mother and my stepfather and six brothers and sisters. My stepfather was a truck driver and worked a lot of hours for seventy-five dollars a week. No tv just a radio.
My mom would play the guitar and we would all sit around and listen to her. Our apt was right on the end and the neighbors would sit outside and listen to my mom and then my brothers boogie and Kenneth and me would sing also. Our dad would come over maybe once a month.
I had a lot of hard feelings towards my dad for leaving my mom and us for another woman. I am sorry to say that for many years I would not go around my dad. When he moved to junction my brothers boogie and Kenneth would spend the summer with him but I would not go.
Thank the lord that as I got older him and I became very close and spent most weekend together my two sisters were not into music my youngest brother Robbie was my mom pet and we did the best we could. We were never hungry and the apt. was fairly warm in the winter and with no ac if you had a fan and kept the windows open the summers were not that bad.
My mother and my grandmother would go all out preparing a meal on Thanksgiving or Christmas on thanksgiving my mom would invite any and every body to stop by eat sing, play dominos.
It was nothing to have forty to fifty people come by during the holidays my mom was a very caring person and she believed that if someone needed help and you could help them do so. I still feel that way to this day. The bad part is that now the more you try to help someone the more they expect you to do and if you can’t then they talk bad about you.
I recall that every Saturday my mom would go grocery shopping at Paniagua groc on Dignowity st. Arturo and Armando were the owners.
Very good people good food and very courteous with everyone it was a time when you knew all your neighbors and every one would do what they could to help out.
Now days when you ask someone for help they want to know what’s in it for me it is now 2019 and I miss the way things used to be. when things change they call it progress but I wonder.
Watching Radney Foster came home to be the headliner for the fourth of July is a good reminder that you should never forget where you come from and try to treat people the way you want to be treated.
I have found out recently that the people you really trust can’t be trusted at all. In closing let me say take the time to walk the streets of Del Rio walk in the barrio of Chihuahua the barrio of San Felipe.
Walk the creek walk it is a beautiful place to be. Walk down Main St. and see some of the stores that have closed and only memories remain god bless and thank the good lord up above that you live in my home town Del Rio Texas.
A special thanks to Victor Cirilo and the Val Verde County Library for their help and expertise.
In the past articles I have told you about the project on Main St. But this time I would like to talk about where we used to go to have a good time, relax or go swimming. In the summer time almost everyday you would find us at what we called the pump house, where we would swim and just hang out. When we could, we would take some sandwiches and maybe a soda. If we were not able to take food, we would go to the golf course and dive for golf balls and sell them to whoever was around. We used that money to eat on. We would then walk along side of the river down to what we called the pig pen.
You could, at that time, pull your car into the water and wash it. We did not have a car but we would watch the people when they would wash theirs. When it was a good looking girl or woman we would volunteer to help. I remember some of the guys that were part of our little group; Robert Diaz, Danny Meza, Salvador Torres sometimes Victor Ortiz, Maurie Renovato and Wayne Law. Robert Diaz, Salvador Tobie Torres have passed away and Danny Meza lives in San Jose, Ca. Maurie Renovato is in very bad health but I call his wife to check up on him. I speak on the telephone with Danny Meza on a regular basis. Looking back now, they really were fun times spent with good friends, no trouble, just being young teenagers having fun, enjoying life. Back then there was no overpass at Gibbs and Ave F. There was a small cafe on the left, just before you crossed the railroad tracks, called the Best Cafe. As you crossed the tracks, the wool house was on the left. As soon as you crossed the tracks, Jap Lowe’s place was on the right. Sometimes we would ride all the way down Main St to Caesar’s Steakhouse for an ice cold cherry coke. Now going north at the railroad tracks, at GIbbs and Ave F, there were four service stations.
One on the every corner, a Texaco station owned and operated by Pop Word, then there was a Gulf station, a Phillips 66 and a Mobil station. Where Stripes is today, on 1st and Ave F, as we called it back then was the Royal Cafe owned by Mr. Galamore. Across the street was a service station where I worked for a while, owned by Mr. Rudy Cortinas. A very nice and understanding man. It was a pleasure to work there. Across the street was a small grocery store, where Robert Diaz worked, owned by Mr. Walter Goodman. Next to Mr. Cortinas’ service station was Jack Rhodes Drive-In with carhops and even an outdoor movie screen which showed mostly cartoons. Farther up the street, at the corner of 7th and Ave F, was the Jacala Drive-In, where Sherwin Williams is today. Give thanks to the Lord for every day in your life.
Enjoy life, spend time with your wife, your children, your grandchildren and if your parents are still alive, spend time with them. Take a walk down San Felipe Creek, it is so beautiful and very relaxing. If you are lucky, you might see our former Mayor, Ms. Dora Alcala. Remember, do something good for someone, it will make you feel good. I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day. I was hoping that someone would remember that I love dark chocolate. God Bless.