El Paso Times
Growing up on the border meant spending countless Sunday afternoons locked in an idle car, sometimes for hours, until it was our turn to say “American.”
Before crossing the international bridge back home to El Paso, we had spent the day at grandma’s house on the hill in Juárez. Aunts, uncles, cousins and friends from both sides of the border would come together there every weekend. EVERYweekend.
Inside the blue adobe three-room house was a tiendita, or little store, where neighbors came to buy groceries, assorted candy, sodas in glass bottles, caguamas Carta Blanca and raspas in many flavors. The raspa, or shaved ice, soaked in lemon and sprinkled with powdered chili known as the changito was the greatest.
Corn tortillas and bolillo bread warmed up on the wood stove in the kitchen as our mothers sliced blocks of cheese and loaves of bologna. Abuela, or ‘Buelita as we called her, made salsa on the molcajete — the mortar and pestle made of volcanic stone.
The younger cousins hid in the armoire, or ropero as we knew it, in the combination bedroom-living room area during a game of hide-and-seek. The oldest ones sat on the counter at the tiendita listening to Menudo and Michael Jackson on the boom box.
Grandpa listened to novelas and soccer matches on his radio, and waved his cane around at all the commotion. ‘Buelita tied on her white apron and colorful head scarf as she shouted at everyone to settle down and go outdoors.