The Neighborhood

“Nobody ever said, ‘Hey, you’re a Mexican,’ or ‘Hey, you’re an Italian’ or anything like that.”

Edited by Nick Ladeau.

Transcript for The Neighborhood

Did he ever suffer any discrimination? I don’t know. Because I was a kid and he was working in the mill. My mom definitely did not suffer any, I don’t think, any discrimination. We as a family suffered discrimination once. We were on a trip to Mexico, and we stopped at this place in Texas. And every place we would stop, they’d have signs that said, We reserve the right to serve customers. So we sat at this one table, and nobody came, and then some other folks came in and sat at other tables and they got waited on. And, finally, after the second or third group got waited on, my mother said, “I don’t think they’re going to serve us. Let’s leave.” And so we did, we left, and went to eat somewhere else. But that’s the only discrimination that I ever, really, that was outstanding.

Yeah, I felt kind of bad. It was, it was not something I was used to because I can tell you that in the neighborhood we lived in, there in across the street from Froebel school, nobody ever said, “Hey, you’re a Mexican,” or “Hey, you’re an Italian,” or anything like that. Nobody ever said that. And we got, you know, we got to play… when the Lucases and Zemelkos and Vargos had parties, Estebellas had parties, birthday parties, we’d have them across the street at Froebel Park, nobody said anything. We’d get invited. When we had parties, they came over. I remember my mom used to make, every Christmas, she’d make tamales, and, of course, the Lucases would come down, and they’d have tamales—she would give them tamales—the Zannonis, the Zemelkos… And I think my liking stuffed peppers and stuffed cabbage, the Lucases would bring it down after they’d make it. You’d know that they were making cabbage because you could smell it. And they were good. I, you know, I just, you can’t get over the fresh smell of stuffed cabbage. Love it!

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