This story has to begin with the people that came before me. My parents. Both of my parents were born in the tiny country of El Salvador in the early 1960’s during a time of relative societal calm. At least, in the parts of the country where they lived it was calm. Isolated from the major cities and mainly confined to family owned farms, they avoided encountering the political conflicts of the time.
They weren’t rich, but they also weren’t poor. Much like the majority of people in the United States, they were doing just okay and getting by.
Much like myself though, they also attended school, they had home duties and they spent most of the daylight hours playing outside. For the most part they lived pretty normal lives.
In 1979 tensions between the then military led government and the leftist organization, the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN), finally erupted into full on civil war, in what would eventually lead to a decades long battle taking many lives. Before things escalated to critical levels though, my grandparents made the tough choice to send their kids to a safer place to seek some form of shelter and asylum.
And so they first came to the United States in the early 1980’s. Not so much by choice. But more so by necessity and by fear. The fear shared by hundreds of thousands of parents seeking safe haven for their children.
And my parents were still young at the time. They were your typical 17 and 18 year old young adults who went to school, had friends, listened to the radio and probably had no real interest in crossing the 3000 miles into the United States on foot with pretty much zero outdoor survival skills.
But the situation was definitely beyond what a young teenage mind could comprehend. And at the behest of their parents, they decided to make the journey. But not together mind you. At this point, my parents were both complete strangers oblivious to each others existence but with identical goals in mind.
My parents journeys are worthy of their own personal stories and definitely not for me to tell because I would not do it justice. For one, I wasn’t even born at the time so I can only go by vague whispers that I’ve managed to overhear during the years and hazy Polaroids that my…