The Wonderful Unforgettable River
Veronica Ojeda

          I was only two years old, when my parents moved. They moved to the north side of the city with no money and lots of dreams. They started a new life by an unknown river in a city called Aguascalientes , Mexico . Aguascalientes is known for being the smallest city in Mexico , with long hot summers and giant plantations of vineyards.

       My parents were always struggling, trying to find a better life for my two sisters and three brothers. The opportunity to own their first piece of land came when a friend of my dad told him, “David, you can buy a big piece of land for little money.” My dad was very excited although there were some difficult problems associated with buying this piece of land. It was very far away from civilization, with no running water, no electricity, no transportation, no school system and no hospitals. It was located in a remote area called La Presa De Los Gringos, which means "The River of the White Man." It was named after  the only family living there. They all had blonde hair, fair skin, and light colored eyes. Soon we all packed our belongings and followed my parents to the adventure of the unforgettable river. My life started right there when I started to notice other people around me. When I turned seven years old, my neighborhood consisted of only four families. The Ortegas were the first family; the De Lunas, the second; the Ramirez family, the third; and finally came my family.

            We lived so close to the lake that we could feel the cool breeze every morning, and we lost ourselves in the fog at night time. My mom used to do laundry in the lake every morning, while we would stand under the waterfall taking showers. We would swim for hours. We built our own swing in a thick giant tree right at the edge of the lake. The water was clear blue and nice and warm. It was pretty much like being in a private tub. The only disadvantage was it was so deep that no one ever tried to find out exactly how deep it was. Everyone was scared to go all the way to the bottom, especially my older brother (Martin) who was 15 years old and the oldest of my brothers. He was scared of fish. My older sister Lucia was the bravest one of all. She taught us how to swim. During the long hot summers we spent most of our time on the lake playing and swimming until we heard that something eerie had happened in our neighborhood. Sometimes we would hear someone crying in the middle of the night. It was the sound of a lady crying with desperation in her voice. “Help me find my kids.” The story of this lady was that she had lost her two children in the river while she was doing her laundry. They had run off to swim and both of them drowned. She felt so guilty that she killed herself. People named her “La Llorona.” After hearing that story, we were more careful of the river. Around the lake were many types of plants, like tulips, cactus and wild grass. Big strong beautiful trees provided cool shade. I still remember their wonderful scent. Some of my favorite flowers were sunflowers. My sister Olga and I used to cut them and put them in our hair. Another favorite hobby was to build fires at night. We would all sit around telling scary stories. Looking at the stars and counting them was another favorite form of entertainment. We felt carefree in a magnificent universe. We could see the shadow of the moon in the lake and imagine it was our only light. I still remember one day when I told my mother how lucky we were for having such a wonderful planet. She was amazed, because I was only a little girl.

            Our house was made of wood. My dad got it free at his job. It was a weird and very small, cold house. We had no belongings; our lives were so squalid. We always joked about our poverty. We only had a smelly old mattress, a rusty stove, some dishes, and two blankets. Each of us had one pair of pants, two shirts, and one pair of shoes. We had no toys; we never had a TV.  We were blind to the outside world. My mom knew how to budget the little money she had and prepared delicious food on almost nothing. She was so good at making us feel like we were very rich in heart and lucky to be all together as a family.

            As time went by, my little neighborhood became bigger and bigger. Each year more and more families would settle around the river. The government of Aguascalientes built schools and public transportation. Electricity and water came soon after. Now the area by the river has become one of the most beautiful parks in the city known as “Parke Mexico.” My family was so lucky to be a part of Aguascalientes' past. We have the best memories and, of course, the best view of the wonderful river that is still in front of my house. We had no money, but we were happy living there.