Purpose in Life

I think we all have the same question, why am I here? What destiny awaits us? What is my purpose in life?

The problem for me is that I never thought that way. Living in the barrio and surviving was my purpose. Everybody that I knew had some instinct to live as best as we could. We were laborers, servants, or other ways to make a living.

If I was to think about it, I would go back in time where I had to make some decisions as to where I could make more money. I started young as a newspaper boy selling newspapers for five cents and keeping two cents. Every day I would hustle to bring in at least a dollar worth of pennies. I was just 7 years old when I started to deliver newspaper. However, I was too skinny, and the papers outweigh me and the bicycle and by the end of the week my dad told me to quit that job.

I didn’t know how important an education was worth because nobody ever told me. We just went because if you didn’t, the truant officer will come after you and send you to reform school. “Southon”? I heard about it, and I surely didn’t want to go there. So, that’s one decision I made. To finish school and get a job.

It didn’t work out that way. While in school I took printing class and after graduation I was given a referral to a printing company. They hired me in the morning and fired me by noon time. I guess that I wasn’t cut out to be a printer anyway. So, I joined the US Army.

One of the reasons I joined the army was because I couldn’t find a decent job. My ideal job was to be a milk delivery man. They were full.

From this point on, decisions were made for me. I led a disciplined and structured life. When to get up, when to eat and when to work. However, fate intervened. A recruiter told me that if I stayed in the army and retired after twenty years, I would get a monthly pension depending on what rank I had at the time. I decided to stay in, and I thought I had to survive twenty years to collect. That was my sole purpose.

Come twenty years or more I was out at age 37. I was married with children. I wanted to continue working as a military man in uniform. So, I tried interviewing for a high school ROTC job. That didn’t work out. I went to college instead to get a degree in social work. Meanwhile I volunteered as a boy scout leader. After I graduated, I became a Boy Scout executive, this was an unexpected opportunity and I took it. However, it was mostly administrative and no where close to my major degree of social work. My sole purpose now is to get a social worker position.

Ella Austin was a community center which worked with children and families. I volunteered there to get some real experience as a social worker. Later they hired me, and I worked there for a few years dealing with children and counseling families at their homes. I figure that this what I should be doing for the rest of my life.

I had heard that the San Antonio Independent School district was planning to use social workers in the school system, and I quickly resigned from Ella Ausstin and took on substitute teaching and later as a teacher’s aide to get in the ground floor when they started hiring social workers. By that time, I had learned the protocols, environment and the schools associated with each other and one other qualifier, I spoke Spanish. I was hired immediately.

This was to be my last position in life, and I spent almost twenty years in it. So, I would guess that graduating from high school and joining the military was the first purpose in life and after retiring getting a degree in social work place me in position to work with families was another purpose in life.

After retiring from the workforce, what then? I decided to work as a volunteer with the American Red Cross. I had another purpose. To help families in distress due to fires, floods, or tornadoes. I was able to find shelters for those unfortunates. After twenty years, I retired as a volunteer.

What’s my purpose now? I am the financial secretary for my Knights of Columbus council in my church. I am an officer in my Knights of Columbus Assembly. I am a lector in my church, and I belong to the Guadalupanas Society. Besides writing, that should keep me busy for a while.

Why I Love San antonio

  I believe that San Antonians love their city for different reasons. It could be the history, culture and the ethnicity. I love it far better than those reasons.

I was born and raised here in the west side which in my estimation started from Laredo Street all the way to 24th street. I say that because I was hunting rabbits beyond 24th St.

  I lived on Laredo Street where we had our own little community. Our convenience store, Don Chencho and Guerra’s drug store for our medication and emergency doctor, El chino, who dispenses prescriptions to the in-house pharmacy where I worked as a teenager. I was the delivery boy on a bicycle.

So, we didn’t go too far for our meat, corn tortillas, haircut, pan dulce, groceries or shoe repair. The school, Navarro elementary was nearby and Lanier Jr Hi and High School was walking distance if you didn’t mind the walk all the way on Guadalupe Street.

  The Alazan housing where we moved to in my 14th year was a great experience. We had grass in front and back. I didn’t mind going to the main office and signed up for a lawn mower. We had to keep the grass trimmed. Also, we had our own bedrooms with a door for privacy. The courts was where we met our new friends, local teens going to the same school and living in the same neighborhood. Even today, as senior citizens, we can talk about where everybody lived and worked and had their first love and their first heartbreak.

  When I left to go on active duty with the US Army, I found myself in strange surroundings. Not only with the soldiers who came from different parts of the country but the towns and villages that were next to our base camps. Plenty of bars, tattoos shops and pawn shops. All of which was news to me.

  It was only when my family were with me that I encountered more stable living. We mostly lived in government quarters which had a homely touch. It was ok but it lacked an atmosphere of home.

  So everywhere we went we lived in areas which were mostly cement fronts. No grass or trees growing in the front lawn or back.  Staying in apartment complexes was no fun either. The only post that we enjoyed was Ft. Bliss, Texas in El Paso. That is if you didn’t mind the dust storms and the desert which surrounded us. Ft. Lewis, Washington came in second with its’ constant rain and severe cold.

  So, why do I love San Antonio? I could say the folks here are friendlier than any place I went. We live in a multi ethnicity area where Mexicans, Salvadorians, Polish, African americans and other central American’s citizens exist in a friendly atmosphere.

  I love the hum of the city with its’ tourist and great restaurants. There is food for every taste bud from Greek to Thailand or Italian. Don’t mentioned the overwhelming taquerias which dot the city.

  When the city celebrates Fiesta in the Spring and parades galore is when we really go all out and participate. When we can enjoy the many activities that Fiesta brings.  The comradery that brings the people together to celebrate a common cause. Don’t forget the annual Fiesta in Blue by the Air force Band of the West.

  The ongoing growth of the city where new schools are being built to accommodate the growing student population. Where there is no discrimination in the school districts. Every student is equal and has the same opportunities for a good education.

  How about my house? It’s a wooden turn of the century home with a built-in fireplace and a metal roof where we can hear the rain or hail pelting the roof. Our front year has grass, and our backyard has grass also along with weeds. There was a time where I could mow the lawn. We had a small building in the back that was probably built for animals and now converted to a garage and later to a storage room. My son and I use to shoot BB guns to a large metal tub we had use for washing. That ended when my wife saw all the holes and dents from the BB pellets.

  Now you can understand that we have a lot of memories stored up in San Antonio. My extended family lives here also. It’s great to visit them even if we must use the freeway.

 And that’s why we love San Antonio.