Maria Rodriguez and Juaquin Rodriguez
DescriptionSiblings Maria Rodriguez (65) and Juaquin Rodriguez (61) talk about their large family, being Latinx, what it was like growing up in a rough part of Dallas, falling into bad habits, and how they've changed throughout life for the better.
Subject Log / Time Code
Recording LocationDallas Central Public Library
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00:01 My name is Maria Rodriguez. I'm V I'm 65.
00:09 And it's Saturday, October 26th, 2019, and we're in Dallas, Texas.
00:19 Now my partner
00:25 Hello, my name is Joaquin Rodriguez. And I was born in Oklahoma, but I was raised here since I was 2 years old, Dallas, Texas.
00:37 And I am 61 years old right now.
00:47 And this is my sister in front of me and her name is Maria Rodriguez.
00:55 Start asking question
01:00 Where did you grow up? And how was your childhood? I was been here since I was two years old when?
01:10 I I was born in Oklahoma, but I've been raised here since I was too I was from a tough neighborhood in West Allis.
01:22 And it was pretty rough Tuesday. So had her.
01:26 And then also my parents.
01:29 You know as you can recall memory and they broke up when I was about 10. My dad used to be a preacher and we went from The Good Life to just disaster just chaos.
01:42 And it was so that made it even rougher cuz my mom was a single mother trying to raise us. And so we went we had a lot of time to ourselves. So we went to the bad guy, you know, cuz we don't have any anybody around this heart needs to discipline us, but you know, I
02:05 You know and then West Dallas was his supporters neighborhood in Dallas or was back then it's it's getting a little better but it was a rough neighborhood and you know all those fights all the time in the world.
02:20 Schools were like the best and we played hooky a lot and
02:29 I did good to my parents broke up. Then I started kind of going to the bad.
02:35 And by the time I was 18, I had my 18 birthday in the county jail and
02:45 I'm by the time I was 19, I was already imprisoned. But when I was 23, I got shot and almost killed.
02:56 Cuz I was looking for a fight.
03:00 I made it through that and thank God I change my license and things have gotten better.
03:10 So how much you Maria how how was your childhood? How did you grow up?
03:20 I said I would go.
03:25 You know, I always do something with what I had even if my mom was singing single single, you know, I stayed home.
03:41 But I did get married kind of young and 17. I should have got married. Like my daddy told me.
03:50 It was not he didn't turn out to be my Fairytale life, but I didn't know that but my dad did and so, you know.
04:05 I am
04:08 Then I went to the bad life when I was like in my thirties, you know.
04:14 And I started doing things that I wasn't supposed to do. I knew better and I didn't stop drinking or doing anything like that till I was
04:30 In my fifties, which is not too long ago and you know.
04:37 Oseas, I just went the wrong way, you know, and you know it you know that I did.
04:46 Yeah, but it started off like a fairytale your marriage. It was good at first, but then you know, I wanted to see what everybody else was doing. I thought it was fun.
05:02 It was not you know, I thought what my sisters and brothers were doing was fun and and obviously was but I didn't know that at the time I was 25 when I got divorced.
05:20 I had two more children after that.
05:24 Anna from
05:27 No, good Fathers. They were no good for them. So I didn't stay with them either, you know.
05:37 And that's pretty much do you know?
05:44 I just went wrong like everybody else, you know, but as I was saying about myself.
05:53 That day I got into that fight. I actually got stabbed twice but it didn't go in cuz he hit my ribs and the bullet got my artery the other guy shot me and
06:08 I went down and
06:11 I believe in God real strongly and I believe that God.
06:15 Save me that night. You know, he got me through it cuz the doctor open me my ribs and I have to puncture my lung and operation and he passed out of my arteries somehow he cut my back also and just butchered me really, but he had to do in order to get to the Audrey.
06:41 But then I believe it was kind of got me through that because in 6 days I walk down on my mom had just been killed and shot, you know not to three months before before and I kept telling you when you were in the ICU. I said, you better make it we just lost mom. Yeah, I couldn't remember that happen before or after squeezing my hand.
07:17 You know, so I know that.
07:21 Then the guy was there my mom got shot because my brothers would like to party a lot and they were to Bootleggers house like a few blocks from my mom's house and there's two of them in the friend of theirs and they got into it and with these guys and they ran off apparently they were losing her something.
07:47 The friend ended up going to my mom and letting telling her everything and she was just going to the age of my brothers cuz she cared about us a lot and one of them guys came in with the gun. He knew where we live than he was in you who she was and he pointed the gun is just started shooting at her and
08:07 Her and her husband ran off and she got hit from behind small and large intestines skin liver everything. That's what the doctor said. He told us. She didn't make it to singing to make it so that should be a vegetable.
08:34 But anyways, I was saying after I got shot and got over it. I actually became a better person and
08:43 I did you actually ever get married. I was 23 at the time.
08:50 I wanted to explain about how you know how I'm doing better. Now, you know, cuz I I actually changed my life to the good and I was 23 when I got
09:02 When I got shot and ever since then I've been trying to better my life and
09:08 And later, I became a barber after that and
09:14 And that's interesting employment, you know cuz you made a lot of people and I love barbering.
09:26 How about you Maria? Ho?
09:29 What do you think about your you know your jobs and no, but I know you went to beauty school at one time.
09:42 I see you didn't like being Beauty School on Garrison.
09:47 But later and I became a barber and got married and what are you?
09:59 I really I don't have any regrets. I'm I'm glad I turned out like I did.
10:07 You know cuz I like who I am and
10:11 And now you know, I'll do I don't have a lot of I'm happy with who I am and everything.
10:23 I'm listening.
10:36 It's just I mean what can I say?
10:41 I mean do you got grandkids or yes, I have grandkids. Of course. I do not have great grandkids and I enjoy life with them. You know, do you know that I've I've spend time with them when I can.
10:59 When they let me know when they let me spend time with that he kind of takes that away from me. That's her son. Yeah, my son.
11:16 Yeah, my son. Did he he he knows he uses her, right?
11:28 As for myself, I never had kids I erase three-step boys and just one of them, I'll marry 15 years but one of them does the activity called me a few days ago and he told me how much he loves me and and and then he regrets acting the way he did. Although I think he was a good boy.
11:53 And he just thinks that he did something that against me, you know, but I told him no lie. I'm happy with who you are and how you turned out. You know, he's he's thankful that I raised him. Like I did because he credits me from being who he is and he considers himself a good person. Did they did something wrong all the time?
12:20 You know, you're a bunch of the kids from your previous life. I mean reader. Previous marriage.
12:29 He raised them. He took care of them had I mean I give God dances. Do you know he did racism?
12:39 What I miss is having them which he took on my rights away. You know when I was young I didn't have a lawyer and couldn't afford one. So he was better off and he took advantage of that he was better off and he took advantage of it and his mother when she was nice to me afterwards. You see I will go see her and she would tell me about how the kids were doing and everything. She was never mean to me like that. But you know, I want to
13:17 Took a different track, you know if I would have known.
13:22 You know that it's it was going to be like that. I guess I would have stayed married, but no I just couldn't stay married with.
13:35 You just not the one for me.
13:39 And I still ain't found the right one.
13:48 Yeah, well, you know what? I don't make much money like I used to do, you know who made all the money I didn't have no problem finding a girl know. I don't make as much as I got needs and me don't matter if you got money in the way you treat me.
14:10 NN youngest I haven't met the right lady yet.
14:16 Didn't you know my boyfriend? He might be what he is drunk, but he's been working and he's been doing better. He's he's a
14:29 He don't treat me like y'all think he treats me still don't like that guy. But he's he's all right. He he takes care of me because I don't have nothing against white folks, but he he talks bad about Mexicans, although he's married to one and I just don't get it and I still talk to him and everything. You know that.
15:18 Ben Isaac's father
15:23 David's father and that he don't he might say what he says, but I'd tell him back to you not talk back to him.
15:33 You know him he don't he don't raise a hand to me.
15:38 Unless it's in bed and accidentally off.
15:42 He's asleep sleeping and I was dreaming about you in the parents. You are dad and mom do you miss him more or talk about them a little bit and I miss them very much. My parents were good parents day.
16:02 They would do the world for you. I mean.
16:09 They were just good parents. They did races, right? Yeah, then was he was he was a preacher strict and would lioness up like soldiers and but later and long on and live he was nice to us cuz
16:32 He became a barber and his hippie era and we wanted to have long hair and we want to go see him cuz he wanted to cut her hair to go see a very tired and my daddy alone later and he will try to be better to us cuz he he wanted us to go around him and see him when I see him every Saturday. I would find him wherever he was at. You didn't go see him and her mom. She was the best mom in the world. She spoiled brats and although she doesn't realize it was kind of her fault that we were rotten like we were although it was our decisions and everything, but we don't have no guidance. She was just wanted to go to juvenile.
17:22 Ian pick us up and hold her kids cuz we were Petty thieves and she would laugh with us all the way home cuz she wanted to be good good to us. But now that I think about it. I wish it was more strict and would have got on to us, but then try to do better.
17:48 She would see this phone this run, but that's the way she was. She was just your shoes too. Good you could tell you some stories like her daddy spoiled her her daddy's father and he he had cat on he had all kinds of stuff, you know.
18:13 Hey, he had a ranch.
18:16 Your great-grandparents were actually they were from me they were they had money and you know, and he would spoil mom had anything. She wanted to he would buy her. I remember when our dad used to take us to Mexico and I was last time I went I was like 12 years old. I guess it's been almost 40 years now and I mean 50 years already, but my grandma she had a little ranch out there and she had the little adobe house. But this was in the late 60s early 70s.
18:52 And she had 20 cows and a little storm going in her little since she made Tortillas out of cornmeal.
19:12 Yeah, and we were going to go visit cuz it was a country. I like that to see the water was actually the richest person in her little town which was cool, you know drinks and
19:35 Yeah, it was fun.
19:37 Yeah, it was a lot of fun your uncle took me and my brother out to plow the field and yeah, I didn't feel well and you could call their name and they would turn. Well he knew how to guide him funeral.
19:56 Are ants out there one of them still lives?
20:03 One of those still alive. She's 60 know she's 8086 but we really don't know a lot of our cousins and uncles and aunts cuz my parents for some reason they went up north and they left two of our brothers and sisters which are from another dad in the valley down the mission and around McAllen, Texas and all that where they were from and my sister to the day till today still regret. She never really got to know my mom cuz she was raised with our aunt.
20:45 What she considers her mom and our cousins she considers sisters.
20:51 And but we really don't know them people cuz they never wanted to come around us and they wanted to keep her from us and and that hurts her so much and she doesn't understand that my mom when the never left her. You know, it's just like she thinks she stays like a little puppy and that's so wrong. I could see my mom like that. You know, I don't know. What do you think Maria? I don't I don't think so. But I think from what it sounded they talked her into it.
21:28 You know.
21:29 From what it sounded like they talked them into and they kept my mom away from her and she doesn't understand all that, you know, because they told her to different stuff. I'm sure.
21:41 But anyway, my parents went up north and worked. You know, I got I think it was to work. I think the reason they left two of them cuz they did take my older stepbrother stand with them witches race with us. And he took on my dad's last name, you know, cuz my dad consider him like his but they went up north to work. So I think it was a financial on reason that they left them down there in the valley of Texas. But Mission, Texas in
22:15 But they had us on the way down south. Cuz what were you born Mary Ellis born in Indiana? Noblesville, Indiana somewhere little rinky-dink town who else was born up there? And where was he born when I was born in
22:36 Let me think Sam was for the same place when I was born there, and it sounds
22:50 Oh, I forgot. You can remember there's another little place. And what time were you born in? Noblesville? No, damn. Yeah and me and my brothers were born in and Jessie and me and
23:12 I believe Manuel and Clinton, Oklahoma.
23:19 And then they were born in Texas County around to Oklahoma and but I've been here since I was too like I said, so I really don't know, but I know they had it on the way down and we ended up in what's a Hachi first we might have moved out of what did we move out of Oklahoma because of the tornado I think so because we're data, I remember seeing one took our roof. I remember the story of Indiana. We had a bad fire those mom accidentally put too much cold in their home and we had a bad fire and so they had to regroup has put us somewhere, but I don't remember the tornado in Oklahoma either bad when it opened. What's a Hachi and then we ended up
24:19 Texas yeah, and then and then after that won't hear just there's one born in Ennis, Texas. I want my brother and this was born in Ennis, Texas and then we ended up in Dallas after that. We moved to Dallas and we've been here since about 1960. We were actually here when John F Kennedy got killed and now we're actually here and my dad used to film a lot of stuff back then he had a little camera, but he knew he wasn't able to go USB Kennedy makes Hotel. Yeah, he wasn't able to work that day the day Kennedy was here he had to work so
25:05 He was a cook. So he was in the bathroom whenever or he would have called me the words and then my sister-in-law through all those films outside the memorial. I mean my sister through all that stuff my sister-in-law she threw all that stuff out and it all got burned by the sun on those old films.
25:40 Yeah, we had a bad case of roaches back then embarrassing to say but they got in the film and she my sister-in-law she was in her family films and she threw it in the backyard and the sun just melted at all. They are always watching every year. We had some old cartoons on Cartoon and whatever it was and yeah, we had all those are my dad my dad would buy and stuff back in the days. Just want to he had made some mask in Halloween.
26:31 And we had him on which doctors and with Addison. We were running around The Cauldron Hey Hey Stephen Marley and we still watch him every year we did and I learn how to clip of and everything baked salmon cuz one time it stopped and got burned.
27:02 You know the film and I had to play do it like Daddy did I saw him? No strips of tape and stuff. I don't remember that. But yeah, I did it.
27:19 I had picked back up and they had a little strips where you put the little slot.
27:26 The little sliding in and then you put the the the tape over it. I sure do miss him films though. Cuz I know he had found some of the old barber school that was in downtown to have seen that and I'm being that I became a barber and later on in years. But when I became Barber, I actually got to cut the police use hair his name. I had a barber shop on Garland Road in East Dallas and he moved in over there and I was reading in the paper house. I had moved here and he was going to be the new police chief and I made sure I'll just saw his picture and remember his name and sure enough. He came walking in one day. He became good customer friend.
28:18 Yeah, the police chief.
28:29 And I I got to cut his hair and no CC top. I saw him on the late night shows and I'll bring it up to him. I said, hey man, you going to have to give me her autograph? Yeah. Yeah Rhymes drummer. Frig Libra was his name yet.
29:00 So, how do you like retirement now, then I like it. I can do what I want.
29:09 Stay home and take Maddie women's she's out of school now.
29:15 I mean
29:17 I do a lot of cleaning, you know, I've rearranged stuffing.
29:25 We're fixing up the nephron house because it's
29:30 It's not at the sea rocks about right then there. It is. Still gets kind of cold and still haven't got them fixed and we did the back house but in the back house so, you know his sister lives there. So.
29:48 But yeah, we were still working on it. He wants to do this Iraq. He wants to do the walls and fix it back up.
30:01 Because yeah, I like retirement.
30:04 I mean, I'd rather make more money working.
30:10 You know then.
30:13 Yeah, I know what I make a month. I didn't like 10 years old when I was young, you know, I did a lot of construction and hurt my back. So the standing as a barber and eventually got to me and my right leg was going numb on me and that's when I had to close to my barber shop in 1999.
30:44 And I sure do miss that though cuz I used to make good money. And now I'm on disability and they're starving me to death cuz I'm not have to do something about that dog started finding a way to make more night baby dancing baby cuz they just scared him $15.
31:13 You know that's not much to live on for a month is kind of hard here in Texas, you know.
31:22 They need to do some you know, for the people in the people in the Navy people are in the poor folks as you can say, yeah, and we need more help and everything. I mean, you know, cuz I actually I really need to get to doing something to selling stuff for.
31:43 Or find me a part-time job or something cuz
31:46 But I'm afraid they might cut my check though, cuz I'm I'm still not retirement age and I'm not I don't have enough confidence in my bag to go back to work cuz then
32:00 You know, I might end up.
32:02 On the streets cuz he was going to help me if I don't get that check.
32:09 Yeah, I'm okay, but you know, I'm I'm glad I'm happy with who I am doing.
32:21 You know, I I have a good life now. So I'm I'm I get by I'm okay.
32:29 You know.
32:32 So anything else you want to say before we get done here? I want to say thank you Thomas Edison for helping the people that got thrown out over there in North Dallas cuz of the storm they recruit them to Thomas Edison's okay, they transferred him to transfer them to it. Okay for now from what I heard on the news bad tornado here recently.
33:11 And then did do a lot of damage in North Dallas.
33:16 And then he infected my nephew's kids. They dad's transfer from one of them's been home-schooled and then the other one that had to go to the Irving School. What's her name is Angel is home-schooled and his sister got can't think of her name right now, but she's going to Irving school now cuz of that.
33:47 Yeah, that's good.
33:50 But anyway, I wanted to put that in there but God is good y'all doing okay?
34:01 I am sorry.
34:05 Sorry about that.