Recently I saw a Facebook post that my son John said that he was saddened by the events in Paris which had a terrorist attack. This was not the first time that I had witnessed my son’s sensitivity toward others misfortune. He has always been for the oppressed.
When I first met my son, I had come home on leave from Germany. He was just a few weeks old. We met on the front porch and he gave me a sort of look that I thought that he was going to be different. How different, I didn’t know what to expect.
When the whole family arrived in Germany, he didn’t recognized me and shied away until later on when he got used to me. He had already started walking and would wait outside on a porch waiting for everybody to arrive from school and work. He got used to the people around him and he made friends easily. When we went to the NCO club for dinner it was quit an event. John would take off and run around the tables before we could settle him down. Marie was quite embarrassed.
We could not count the number of times that we had to take John to the hospital for every minor cuts, illness, injuries while we were in the Army and after we had retired. In fact he had two folders about two inches thick before I retired.
Growing up in San Antonio was a different environment compared to the strictness of a military compound. His friends were streetwise and john learned how to get along. One time there was a shooting a block away where a man was shot in the head. John was curious and witnessed the body lying there. I hated for him to see that but that was the new environment
John attended Herff and Douglas elementary school where he excelled and Page middle school where he played football. He also started playing in the school band playing the saxophone before he went to high school.
He joined the high school band which gave him the discipline and spirit de corp. However, he always protected his friends and would go out of his way to back them up regardless if they were in the wrong. He and Michael, a cousin who was older had always been good friends. Though, their early years had been in turmoil. Michael lived two houses down and John and he always played at his house. When the pair got into trouble, John was sent home. A little later he would be back playing together again. Both he and Michael were in the band together creating all kinds of mischief.
John has always been very mischievous. In his early years, he was always getting under Marie’s hair. Pulling her hair or just teasing her. One time she was recording a song so she could learn it. John interrupted time after time. In time everybody in the family knew about John earning him the award of best con men in the family.
Every year the school takes school pictures and the band picture came out in the yearbook. However, John came out supposedly sporting a gang sign which got him in trouble with the school.
All during this time in school john decided to join the Drum Line, a section of the band which is the core of the band. I didn’t know how difficult it was to be a part of this section. The drum line is very prestigious and follows a tradition of fellowship and pride. This was John at his best.
Another trait of John was his hair. I never said a word against it because I went through the same thing myself. However, it was something I had to close my eyes to. One time it was short, another time it was braided and another was a pony tail.
After attending UTSA downtown for several semesters, he graduated and went to work with HEB. During that time I sensed a change in him. He was more focused but more in tuned with himself. One time I saw him rescue a baby kitten and taking care of it until it could fend for himself. We had a small dog, Duchess, which he also brought and started to take care of it until we took over. Later he brought Orwell, a large mixed Labrador. We kept Orwell at our house because he couldn’t take him to his new apartment. We didn’t mind because when John came over, the dog went crazy over him.
While he lived at home he led a free life and started to join several bands which gave him an outlet for his music. He mainly played bass but ventured into other guitar music.
WE found out that he was working at the HEB store on Broadway, called the “Gucci” store because the HEB logo was quite small like they didn’t want to advertise it as a regular store. They had the more expensive items and catered to the clientele in Alamo Heights. John was in the fish market and while he was there learned about the seafood items so well that he started his own experiments on different seafood and became quite proficient in cooking that Anita wanted to send him to chefs school. He decided against it.
He decided that he wanted to move out of the house and rent his own apartment during that time and move into an apartment near his work. He also bought a scooter for transportation. Later on he would buy a car.
While working at HEB he met Laura Mata and started to date her. It has started a relationship that has spanned many years. He moved in with her and her daughter and an older son. At that time, Laura was working to get one of her sister’s daughter to live with them. Her wishes came true and Natasha became part of the family.
While Laura’s girls and son were growing up, John became the father figure in their lives, bringing them up and supporting their activities. They became close and all of them came to celebrate the holidays with us.
November 2nd, 2015 was an exciting day in their family and that was because they had a baby named Angelina. She will be one-year-old in 2016. They both love their baby girl. Even the family dotes on her. The arrival of their daughter cements their relationship.
As a father, I am very proud of my son’s life and what he has become. The day he was born I was walking the kaserne in Germany and entreated God to take care of him. Being born on Martin Luther King birthday might be a reason he became what he is. A loving, caring person.