The Way it Was

I grew up in a pretty typical American setting. I had a mom, a dad, siblings, and the occasional cat or dog. (we had a few) Some could say we grew up poor, we grew up with less, but I just beg to differ. We never were without, I mean sometimes we had no lights or running water, but such is life, right? These things made us stronger, made us colorful, and we always made it through.

Don’t feel sorry about that, we were blessed, we felt fortunate most of the times, and to date, we are still blessed and fortunate. God is good.

My mother worked most of our lives. She worked in retail most of my childhood, and prior to that, she was some sorta seamstress, curtain maker, I remember she had a sewing room and all that jazz. I think she spent some of her younger years as a beautician and she went to beauty school too.  As a parent now, it’s kinda sad to not remember all those little details of days. Time flies.

My father worked all of our lives. He was an electrician and worked long days and nights. Most of the time he worked, ate and slept, but daddy there were some magical moments in there too.

I grew up with 2 brothers and a sister and my father had 2 previous sons before he knew my mother, we always thought that was pretty cool, but I’m sure others wouldn’t think so.

My siblings and I were very close, we worked together, fought, and played video games too. We had your typical 80’s childhoods. Life in the barrio was cool. It meant papas con huevos, pan dulce, raspas in the summer, and $1 movies at Northshore Movie theatre. Mom and dad would send us all day for a few bucks! What a deal! Summers were spent at Astroworld, playing kickball with the neighborhood kids and climbing trees.

When we were bad, we got spanked, when we were sad, we got hugged, although I don’t remember these moments much. My mom took us out a lot, to the mall, to her favorite friend’s houses which happened to be wives’ of dad’s cousins, so the family situation was pretty tight. Our cousins and 2nd cousins were l like brothers and sisters at times, we laughed with and at each other, got feelings hurt, and learned life’s lessons with these kids too.

We lived in the barrio in Houston. Denver Harbor was what it was called when I tell people now that’s where I’m from they all go whoa!  And, hold up gangster! So stereotypical, but hey, they’re not wrong. Growing up in the barrio required a lot from you. You either stayed quiet or got really loud, fought or got fought, and some would say criminals were sort of superstars in our eyes. Well, at least mine. Nobody messed with them, they were kind of untouchable.

Innocence in us all exists, the rich, the poor, the parented, the unparented. At what point does it get stolen, or do we just give it away. Either way, we miss that innocence and when we reflect on the good ol days they were just that.  Good ol days.  We lacked, we had, but we always carried on, that’s just the way it was.

Crystal Ybarra

Mother, Wifey and Daughter of the King!


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