Books by Art Rodriguez

"Coming of age in Latino life, Art Rodriguez's true tales give readers an inspirational life"


Art Rodriguez

East Side Dreams

Excerpt from East Side Dreams, Chapter - "The Report Card"

hrough the years some teachers would try to help me learn, helping and showing me how to do what I was supposed to do. But not Mrs. Heagan. She gave me my work; and if I didn't do it, even if I didn't understand, it was too bad.

rs. Heagan, if you tell my mother that I'm not doing good in school, I said, "my dad has this whip that he brought over from Mexico. And he's going to beat me with it. So please tell my mother that I'm doing good; and if you do that, then I'll try harder to do my work."

All she did was nod her head, not up and down, but back and forth, as if I were lying about the whip. I knew what she was thinking, so I continued, "He does have a whip! He used it on us already. My uncle in Mexico gave it to him. My uncle did give it to him but not to use it on us."

odding her head, still looking at me over the top of her glasses, she said, "I have to tell your mother how you're doing. If you want to get a good report, you'll have to try harder."

ut I am trying! I answered.

could tell that wasn't going to work. Mrs. Heagan didn't care what happened to me. My father was probably going to kill me for this, and she didn't care.

he didn't feel sorry for me at all. In fact, it seemed as if she wanted me to get hit with that whip! Through all my years in school, I remember her as my meanest teacher.

ater that day my mother went to talk with Mrs. Heagan. I was in my bedroom waiting for her to return; my father wasn't back from work yet. I was in my room, and I didn't feel well. I heard the front door open and close, and I hoped it was my mother and not my father. I sneaked in the hallway to see who it was. If it was my father, I didn't want him to see me. I might get hit early, and I didn't want that to happen. My father would always find something wrong.

y mother was sitting on the couch looking at some papers when I entered. I walked over to give her a kiss. She was always good with us. She would feel really bad when our father hit us the way he did, but there was nothing she could do about it. When he hit us and went to the point of abusing us, if my mother said anything to him, he really became upset with her. I guess it didn't matter much because he was always angry with her anyway.

y mother put her arm around me and said, "Why don't you try harder in school, Arthur."

do try, Mom, but .... I didn't know what to say. When I was in school, I wanted to learn; but it was difficult for me to remember things.

y mother and I knew what was going to take place when my father arrived home. She told me to go in the backyard or to my room until he arrived.

Return to Excerpt from East Side Dreams, Chapter - "The Get Away"


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