02/20/2013 11:29 am ET

Latino Literary Giant Offers Portrait Of El Paso, Texas Border Town

It's time for Texas to get smart about its westernmost -- and most ignored -- city, where an old pass tracks the route of our future.

A thousand years ago, I was half of a young couple, attractive if I may be allowed, the happy parents of two handsome children, the big one still willing to hold the hand of his beautiful mom, the baby still in a four-wheel collapsible that was more a rolling hammock. We didn’t have much. A lousy “good” car, income to pay the monthly rent eleven months a year, a home with barely enough furnishings to look lived in. I knew a few who weren’t better off, but also a few who were, who made car payments, found steady employment that could turn out to be career choices, had newer clothes and cooler shoes. Did we have “ideals” that locked us down, explained why we were staying too poor and not running from poor El Paso? That’s not what I said then or would now. No ideals in my simple mind. True, I didn’t want my wife to work, because we had two small children who needed to be with their mom while they were so young. But aside from less favorable alternatives, that seemed naturally connected to the pregnancies themselves. False, that we had lots of better options. We’d recently moved back to El Paso from years in Los Angeles, unto, finally, we were happy.

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