A Place to Call Home
Buried between the high-rises of downtown Phoenix, its Capitol, and freeway system, lies a neighborhood caught in a vortex of time. Immigrants make up a majority of the residents taking up residence in homes that time forgot. Local family owned businesses, mainly mechanic shops, used tire shops, and barber shops line the streets. Small restaurants are sprinkled in between the leftovers of the nation’s car industry and the numerous scrapyards that have the strongest presence here. The area is stricken with poverty. A few of its residents still hold on to the memory of a place that no longer exists.
This was my home.
The first place I called home when my family moved from Mexico City to the U.S. was when I was about to turn eleven years old. I have memories of this place. Mostly of how starkly different it was from one of the largest cities in the world, I came from. The memory of how vacant, dusty, and scorching it all felt is deeply implanted in my psyche. And yet, here I am again. Back in this place that was my home, trying to connect to a community, trying to make sense of things that as a child made no sense.
Like why would anyone uproot their family and start again in such a foreign place?
This is my story. My parents’ story. The story of countless others who have journeyed before.
All in hope of a fresh start. Guided by a dream. One to give voice to those who seek.
I am back in this neighborhood, and I find new sitters and listen to their stories. I am moved by them. The bits and pieces people hold on to. What they entrust a stranger with, (Me). A woman’s memory of a place a half century ago. Everyone she knew is gone, and the place is but a faint memory of what it used to be.
Yet, she remains.
The residents who call this area home come from different backgrounds and reasons. There are those who are proud of what they’ve achieved. Others diligently wait for their dream to fruition.
Regardless of why, this is home. Home and a place to dream, to hope, to remember.