I’ll never forget my parents attempt to enroll me in kindergarten. Never in my five years had I been separated from my family. The only white people I had ever seen close up were the bosses in the fields, and it seemed like they were always yelling and cursing at the workers – mostly Mexican like me.
We arrived at school and I went into culture shock. By the age of five I had heard so many stories of racial difficulties I was petrified – if I stayed with these white people something very scary was sure to happen to me.
I started screaming that I could help my dad work in the fields instead of being here in this strange place. I cried so much my dad felt sorry for me and convinced my mom that we should take me home. All I heard from my mom the rest of the day was how I would return to school the next day. I knew there was no changing her mind so I started planning my escape.
As if my fear of white people were not enough, the teacher in charge was the hugest, most robust white woman I had ever seen. According to my recollections, the poor woman had five o’clock shadow and looked like Dick Butkus with massive boobs.
Mrs. Butkus took me by the hand and walked me in. I was much calmer the second day because I was determined not to cry, and I was plotting my escape. Mrs. B kept her eye on me until another child threw up. She looked away and I hightailed it out the back door. My home was conveniently just across the cyclone fence. I remembered that the neighbor boys had dug a little trench under the far end of the fence. I made a bee-line for that part of the fence and began to crawl underneath. The trench was just deep enough to allow my small body to slide under the fence. My shorts got caught in the wire momentarily and the delay allowed me to think. If I went straight home my mom would know I had escaped and would surely take me right back.
So I decided I would wait there, in the trench, until I saw the other children leaving school. Then my mom wouldn’t have a clue that I had left early.
I fell asleep and the next thing I knew my brother Joe was screaming, “Here he is, I found him! I told you he wasn’t lost!”
Later I learned that the whole school had been looking for me before letting my mother know I was missing. Luckily my brother knew of the short cut under the fence.
When they took me back into the school Mrs. Butkus was waiting by the door. Before I could panic something wonderful happened. I noticed that Mrs. B was teary eyed and she looked like a different person.
When she saw me she smiled and exclaimed something in English which I didn’t understand. She rushed towards me like a charging linebacker but she was smiling from ear to ear. She took me into her huge bosom and almost smothered me. Had she squeezed me a second longer I’m sure I would have farted. So Mrs. B and I became best friends and every time she saw me she would a practically smother me with her huge bosom.