1948—The store opens
(SAMPLE OF BOOK I)
The store opens
DJ made a deal for a load of bananas from a friend who delivered fruit across the border. The friend brought a truckload and filled the empty spaces on both sides of the corner of our new un-opened store. Since DJ could not stand seeing any of his sons hanging around in vain, with nothing to do, the following days he sent his older sons to go with the younger ones to sell bananas on the streets of downtown—including the ones who were still in school. “Sons have to be taught from childhood to work and not be useless with nothing to do,” was his favorite mantra.
The banana sale attracted the attention of many people who asked when the store was going to open. Fortunately, a merchant known as Don Elias approached DJ one day and offered to lease the store. DJ saw the opportunity to make some extra income and agreed. Immediately, he told his sons to paint the house and the store white. When they finished, DJ hired an artist to paint the name “La Casa Blanca” with black letters.
A few days later, the store opened up and people started calling the store and our house La Casa Blanca (The White House).
With the extra revenue from the store, DJ saw the opportunity to give extra education to one of his sons. Since Joaquin (Brother Number 4) was born in the USA, and showed to be studious, intelligent, and well disciplined, he enrolled him at a private school to learn English at the other side of the border. From day one, Joaquín felt privileged and never missed a class or an assignment….
In the years after WWII, the economy in Mexicali was on an upswing. Neighborhoods were sprawling, hotels and restaurants spawning, and businesses in all sectors flourishing. As this was taking place, big fiestas were constant events held all over town. Tourism was also on the rise.
The burgeoning tourism resulting from the fiestas filled the hotels and without sufficient beds, it created a demand for cots. DJ saw this too and stepped forward to fill the void. By now the Alcara family’s work was well known across town. Therefore, hotels (which were mostly Chinese owned), businesses, and a lumberyard called La Estrella Azul, all requested from the Alcara family cots made of canvass and wood. Taking this opportunity, DJ and sons were busily filling contracts from all those businesses….
…. One day of September 1948, the President of Mexico, Miguel Alemán, came to Mexicali. But prior to his arrival, the Palacio Municipal announced that the President would be visiting our neighborhood. Immediately, DJ and Don Ramos gathered a mariachi and gave the President a warm welcome.