So Salazar kids want to go swimming?
“Pos we are not rich so se van a chingar aqui en la casa. We were not rich! Los swimming pools son para la gente rica.”
We had no swimming pools in our Riverside neighborhood barrio; our hope was to wait until God sent us rain. Since our street was unpaved, many pot holes flourished in our barrio. Our yard had dented areas, deep crevices and holes in the ground so when it rained, we enjoyed our nature made swimming pools called charcos. Charcos are mud puddles, and they served as our make-believe barrio swimming pools.
The five Salazar children: Baltazar, Elizabeth, Sandra, Marta and I… always looked forward to rainy days because Mom would let us play in the mud. We suited up in our bathing suits just as if we were going to swim at the beach. Mom would watch us play from the living room window as she sat on those brown sectional sofa pieces with silver glitter threads weaved inside. She would yell at us if we were getting out of hand horse-playing too roughly.
“Si no se sosiegan, con una chingada los voy a sacar y se me van a incar en la escina de la sala despues que les de una chingisa.”
We played war with mud. I remember how soft and silky the mud felt in between my toes; it was like walking on Jello cubes like the strawberry ones at Luby’s cafeteria. With handfuls of mud, we proceeded to throw baseball size terrones or mudballs at each other’s faces and bodies. The unmerciful torrents of rain made curtains of water and cleaned us off naturally. My waist length long dark hair dripped off chocolate mud beads dancing quickly trickling down my slender back. Oh my, how many germs must have been in the muddy water? Consequently and ironically, we never got sick! I guess we came in contact with so many germs that we became immune to them. Amazing and thrilling Charcoland mud activities throughout the year kept our childhood crystallized and memorable…we all pretended we owned our private chocolate mud swimming pools. Never did we ever realize we lived in a barrio, fantasyland, magic childhood and never did we think we were dirt poor and were just that! Nobody ever told us. We thought we were rich and we were!
Happiness lived with us at 415 Parral Street as we explored our back and front yard Charcoland Riverside barrio swimming holes.