Sunday, December 04, 2005

One Neighborhood...Part 2

Oddly enough our local paper, Houston Chronicle is running a series on the very subject I addressed yesterday. The neighborhood they profile is half a mile from where I live. My route to the silent Starbucks goes right past the corner of Washington and Shepherd. Sometimes on the way to work I stop for coffee at a little place around the corner from Case Juan Diego. On cold mornings there is always a line of bundled up people waiting in line for food. The day laborer site at 11th & Shepherd is within walking distance of my house.

Across the street from our house is a cramped, falling down house that houses a succession of Hispanic men, most of whom commute to work on bicycles. I know one works nights because I see him coming home as I am leaving for work. We nod and smile at each other.

They have assorted women and children coming and going. Sometimes they stay for a few days. Try though I might I've never quite been able to figure out the relationships.

I've often wondered what they think of us, with our revolving collection of cars (My Beloved changes her cars at the rate some people change their shoes), the constant arrival of packages, and expensive hobbies of golf and travel.

No matter what the anti immigration folks say, we need each other. Without the men across the street and the day laborers standing on the street corner just blocks away the entire economy of Houston (and the US in general) would come to a standstill. Without them My Beloved wouldn't have the labor needed to complete the buildings she builds and I wouldn't have any children to teach. There wouldn't be anyone to clean our house, serve our meals at the local coffee shops and cafes or manicure the golf courses we play on

Almost every good thing we have in our lives comes from the sweat of their brows and the aches in their backs.


Julie said...

Wow. As I mentioned in the previous comment, Ann Arbor MI seems SO FAR from the situation you describe. Yet, as you say, it's really not.

MsAbcMom said...

At the school I teach at, it is very common for many families to live together in a 2 bedroom house or apartment. (Lots of adults and even more kids) It is also not uncommon for families to rent out the garage of someone's house. SO different from my reality. Many of the parents work crazy hours at local factories. I have several students who rarely see both parents at the same time because when one is at home one is at work. It is a hard life but I have very happy students and very grateful and happy to help when they can parents

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