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                                                    Henry B. "Gonzo" Gonzales

Note: I wanted to write this story for some time. Is is a chapter in the life time of Ole
Texan that I want to share with you. Because of length and writing space I have made a decision to write two installments as you may see on the diary title. The ending of this entry is deliberate. In my next entry I want to tell you of the loving parents I found at the end of the journey I just embarked on into the unkown. I enjoy writing for you. I hope you enjoy this piece. I will write the next portion of this diary next week. . Peace
Many years ago when the simple word "politics" was a dirty word to me even in my vocabulary, I had what I viewed at the time several face to face meetings with a politician icon that may have placed a replica stamp deep in my soul of that dislike of politics and politicians that I grew up with as a child in the ghetto in old San Antonio.

I lived due to this man to recall my dislike for politicians. A dislike that I suspect was passed on down to me by adults as I have written in splashy technicolor language in one of my first diaries here that I have saved for being the worst and misguided piece of garbage I have ever dared to write about politics in my backyard in the 1940`s. I will not even link you to it. It embarrasses me. But I want it for a special purpose.

I have absolutely no problem if you find and read it. But keep it to yourself, please.

Naturally you in this community who reads this piece know who Henry B. Gonzales was, (RIP) and went on to become in the political stage as a Democrat. I don`t think I need links on him and if you are unfamiliar with this late political icon, I urge you to click his name on your search engine and see for yourself. Today I have  pictures of him, Lyndon B. Johnson and Cesar Chavez on a wall as I sit typing this. Politics to me, mean these three icons and nothing else matter. I don`t do politics here like most do. My horses have galloped to greener pastures. Today I write this for a different reason. Four words he spoke to me the last time I saw him, in essence I credit for my existence here today. These three giants are akin to me. They are born once in a million years.

But when I met him several times in difficult situations for me in the very late 40`s and early 50 in San Antonio, he was tirelessly looking for his footing to climb to prominence in the political world. He was a Senior Juvenile Probation Officer taking small steps to advance as a voice in the Hispanic Community in San Antonio and the city as a whole. He was smart and could see I was a troubled teen in need of help, a fierce and staunch voice battling racism against minorities at the time arguing cultural values that would win him the support of the masses in the city. That much I recall vividly.

He was sort of religious and tried to push his God on me, something that Nuns and Priests had failed to do in parochial school when I was just a  child. In no sense of the word was I was an incorrigible teen. For me the issue of a Supreme being had been tested and rejected long ago in my life and I blamed those adults who were supposed to take care of me as a child, but did the apposite and beat me senseless instead. Very early in life I concluded that there was no God. How could there be? But that was another issue, perhaps for another day`s diary.

On the other hand, I was scrounging to survive in my homeless little world, taking big steps in the wrong directions and making bad choices. Finally my welcome mat in this man`s office was removed. He sent me away to this place. The day he saw me off he preached to me and told me he would be there when I came home: " Drag your own cross",  he growled at me. I knew exactly what he meant and how those words connected with his Jesus.

I have never forgotten those words

When I arrived at my destination at the State School for Boys that is described in my  link above, I was far from fazed or afraid. Even though this voyage for me was meant as some sort of punishment I was angry because I had done nothing wrong to deserve this, other than being a burden around those who did not want me close to them, a luck that I was born with that started in my life beginning in my cradle as I have extensively documented.

Here I felt free. I had many dogs. But let me swear again. I swear I was not that ugly child that not even a mother could love. I was just one of those unlucky souls that are born once in a million years. Here I honed that swiftness of feet that I had as a child growing up as I ran and ran away from brutal beatings by those who should have known better. I was already street wise when I entered the place and quickly discovered the job I wanted for as long as I was there.

I do not pretend to rehash or rewrite the diary on the link in this instance. I merely want point to this particular incident in my life to pave the way for the path that would follow after my release from this "punishment". But I might as well add my own thoughts to the words spoken in Spanish to me by Henry B. Gonzales when he saw me off, obviously apparent to his religious thoughts that he was sending me to the Calvary on a hill, not knowing it was the live forests instead that would save me, and dogs.

As I ran free as the wind as I have said, in the coolness of the Texas forests with happy barking dogs on my tail, I kept thinking: "no hay dia que no se llege, ni sentencia que no se cumpla", and I howled in laughter out loud up at the trees. In English translation it meant, thus: "There is not a day, or a sentence that will not be completed."

My stay was not long at this school for boys. But I had no intention of facing Gonzales one more time with a risk of going back or worst. I took his last words spoken to me as a threat and I had no desire to press my luck. Upon my released I was prepared mentally and physically to practice my running. And I would run. And one can forget to ask: Why not a job? Why not school? I saw both of these avenues as oppressive with threats on my own personal freedom attached. As traps. I had no right to a trial, or counsel. I was at the mercy of Gonzales and his word was the law as the committing judge had determined when I was sent away. I was a juvenile.

I had to keep on running and I knew it.

I knew a war was raging between America and Korea at the time and I was excited of the prospect of being able to prove my value to my country. A friend suggested that we should volunteer and enlist. At the time I had been laying low and hiding from my probation officer for about two weeks. So in March 1951 Rick and I took the leap. I was convinced that age was not a factor because many other under aged people like me had enlisted and joined that war. I was nearly sixteen in 51 and gave it a shot.

Going through all the processes and procedures to enlist in the military were quite easy.
What was not so easy to swallow was my results. Those childhood beatings showed up in my physical examination and I was classified a 4F. Any person here knows what this meant to me. Class 4-F, a registrant must have been found not qualified for service in the Armed Forces by a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) under the established physical, mental, or moral standards. I was found legally deaf in one ear and unable to join the military under the physical standards of the U.S. Marines, which I had chosen.

I raged in silence for days and brooded against dire expectations if found by those who were now on my tail. Looking back now I have to say I was over dramatizing my puny legal situations. But at that time I was not. The day came when I met a man who took me under his wing and offered me a way out of San Antonio. Stealing or doing stupid things never crossed my mind for survival. Don`t get me wrong as I have never written of being a saint. It crossed my mind though. But I never did. Streets educated me well.

This man, although I knew had a prison record had several people I knew lined up and contracted to join him on a migrant trip to Wisconsin. He was driving an old creaky rusty
large truck with wooden sidings covered with brown tarp typical of those used by migrants to move around. He had promised jobs in canneries that paid well. His pitch was that he would give each man $5.00 on the day everyone was on his truck to make the trip. Once reaching Wisconsin (city unknown to all) a place to live for free would be provided, along with a store to obtain food on credit until pay day. Oh, and good jobs to boot.

If you have heard this line before, well it was true. $5 bucks yeah!!

Five dollars for personal traveling expenses snarled 3 guys some older than me for the trip. I saw this as an offer I couldn`t refuse. It was a no brainer for me. Late one night everyone that he contracted including me met on a corner to board the truck for the trip to Wisconsin. The dude was reeking of weed as he passed crumpled five dollar bills as each of us boarded the truck. Inside the tarp cave were the man`s wife and a daughter. smelly thick blankets were spread accross the floor of the cave for comfort. The only clothes I carried were those I wore. Talk about immigrants in my own country. I cannot help buy crack up due to Ole Texan situations back then.

Riding in front was another daughter and the man`s son-in-law. They all were smelly pot smokers. Even that did not fazed me. I had seen a lot of that.

But I was running. That was important to me........

To be continued.

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