The beginning of my unfortunate living!

by | Chapter 1

Hello! I’m Francisco “Pancho” Ramirez, from Michoacán, Mexico. I came to the USA at the age of 17, in March 1999. I arrived at my sister and her family’s house in Sonoma, CA. I’m not sure; I stayed with them for a month or two, worked for a couple of weeks in the vineyards, and then headed toward Washington State. My father and two brothers were there, so I thought I should be with them. I arrived, I don’t know the exact date, it was April or May, in a little, deserted, ugly town called George, Washington. I got to their home, a tiny little one that was not very accommodating. I was happy to see them again, but I regretted leaving California. However, as ugly as the town was, or I didn’t find the house comfortable enough, there was no way back; I had to get used to it. 

I worked in the apple fields in Washington state; apples are everywhere, just like in California, grapes are! I behaved well during my first year there, but my brothers returned to Mexico, leaving me alone. My father was there. With me, but it wasn’t the same. I was driving already and starting to get to work by myself. I didn’t have a choice; my father had to go to work, too, but not at the same place. I started to make friends, unfortunately, and started to drink. I used to drink when I was back in Mexico, so it wasn’t a new thing. It started to be a little too much, and it was getting in between my father and me. I left the house and went to live with my friends, just a few yards away from my dad. Shame on me! I should’ve left far away and kept myself from embarrassing him.

I spent about four years in Washington state. Then, in 2003, I decided to try my luck back in California. It was the first month of the year, and I’m not positive. Maybe it was January or February 2003! I came down and stayed at my sister and her family’s house again for a few days. I was able to locate a friend from the same village as I am from in Mexico. We had a very nice conversation, reminiscing about our past while in Mexico, GOOD TIMES!! I explained my situation and wish to find work and a place to live. I told him I was living with my sister, but I didn’t want to be a bother for too long, even though they said I could stay with them forever. I understood, he said; he was living and working in Windsor, California, and invited me to join him. I thought that was a great idea, but what about work? I asked him, I don’t know California, yes! I do know, he said. I will ask my boss to give you work and allow you to live in the company’s apartments. Do you live in the apartments where you work!? Of course, bro!! O. M. G!! I got very excited and reluctantly agreed to go with him. Hold your horses! I have to ask my boss first, don’t get excited just yet, he said!

My buddy went ahead and asked his “Patron” about me. Unfortunately, he had no space available at the company’s apartments, but he did give me a job. He told my friend I could work for him, and when one of his employees moved out, I could move in immediately. We loved the idea! My friend had an uncle living in Santa Rosa, 15 minutes away, and he worked there, too; he told my friend I could come in to live with him and his family while I was waiting for an opening. Super! I moved in with his uncle and family. They were very nice people. I was very comfortable living with them, but the opportunity to go with my brother, who was from another mother, showed up, so I left and joined him. We were doing well and working a lot, which is typical in the US, but we loved to go out and get wasted, literally living paycheck to paycheck.


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