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Interview with Anita Astran




Anita Astran was born in Bluffton, Ohio. She attended one year at a community and technical college. She married Rudy Astran and together raised two children. Astran worked as a scholarship advisor providing financial assistance to prospective students. She supports community organizations such as the YMCA, Centro Culture, Migrant Legal Services, and Migrant Health. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Family background - education - her son's direction and career choices - her daughter's personality and interests - Christian influences - differences between Crystal City and Moorhead ethnically - using Facebook for a Crystal City social network - keeping in touch with family - discrimination and racism - relationships with neighbors - Moorhead community becoming more understanding of different cultures - Latino community - community organizations - deciding on living in Minnesota vs. North Dakota - and immigration.





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Anita Astran Narrator Abner Arauza Interviewed September 6, 2010 Minnesota State University, Moorhead

[Note because Anita and Abner‟s initials are the same, their first names will be used] Anita Astran Abner Arauza - Anita - Abner

Abner: It‟s September 6, 2010. We‟re interviewing Anita Astran in Yolanda Arauza‟s office at MSUM [Minnesota State University, Moorhead]. I‟m Abner Arauza. This is for the Minnesota Historical Society Oral History Project. Anita, I‟m going to ask you some questions, and just give me your answers as well as you feel you can, as much as you can. Feel comfortable to expand or come back to questions if you want. First, of all, although I‟ve stated it, if you will, state your name, please. Anita: Anita Astran Abner: Your age and date of birth? Anita: I‟m forty-two, and my birth date is August 22, 1968. Abner: Where were you born? Anita: In Bluffton, Ohio. Abner: Is that a little town? Anita: I think so. I heard it was a farming town, and that‟s where my parents were at. Abner: You don‟t know what it‟s close to as far as? Anita: Not at all. Abner: How about your educational level?


Anita: I finished high school and I went one year to a community and technical college for legal secretary. So, thirteen years. Abner: And that‟s enough? [chuckles] Anita: Yes. I made it enough. [chuckles] Abner: Good. Your spouse tell me a little about your spouse, name and ethnicity of your husband. Anita: His name is Rudy Astran Junior. He‟s Mexican American. He‟ll be forty-four next month. Abner: Number of children? Anita: Two. Abner: And their names? Anita: My son is also Rudy Astran and he‟s the III, and he‟s twenty-one years old. My daughter is Irene Astran and she‟s thirteen years old. Abner: Now, tell me something about your children, their education. Is Rudy [III] working now? What is he doing? Anita: My son finished high school and he took two years at the community college, and, then, he told us that he wanted to take a break. He wanted to explore. He was feeling very overwhelmed, what should I do with the rest of my life? Abner: Did he go here to MSCTC [Moorhead State Community and Technical College]? Anita: Yes. He went to MSCTC here in Moorhead. I think that he also learned that it was really hard to even be in the area and try to go to college, because he had so many social influences. He was his worst enemy, because he was the one that attracted so many social experiences and having fun and hanging out. He said, “I want to see what it‟s like to be on my own, see if I can make it getting up on my own, showing up to a job, just seeing what is it to be away from you guys.” So he wanted to go to Texas first, and we said, “No.” He wanted our blessing very, very much and we kept saying, “No.” Then, we have a brother-in-law in Wisconsin, eight hours away, so we thought we can manage eight hours to be apart from him. Abner: [chuckles]


Anita: So we kind of helped him along to be over there. While he‟s been there, I think he‟s had three different jobs, and he‟s enjoyed them all. He‟s enjoyed that he‟s had that variety. Some were very easy but hard at the same time, like not heavy on his body physically, he said, but he needed to have so much dexterity and to be focused on something that was just in front of you. He said that was hard in itself. Then, he went to another job which was really. Abner: So what was he doing then? Anita: He was packaging. I think it was like a bakery company and he was in packaging in the warehouse. He needed to like up and down focus, up and down. He said the boxes weren‟t heavy, but to just focus your vision in one way. Then, the next one was a packaging company for vegetables. That was the hardest one that he has ever done, I think. It was using a sledge hammer to break apart whatever vegetables got too frozen together. So he said, “I was using a sledge hammer and they would give us breaks every two hours, because it was very hard on the body.” Abner: Oh. Anita: He said, “You work three days, and they pay you for forty hours,” I think twelvehour days. He said that he saw a lot of discrimination. I don‟t know that he truly understands racism completely, but he knew something‟s not right, something‟s not fair. He started to speak up and, then, he said, “Why should I just stay? This is a community where there‟s a lot of different opportunities.” So he always kept looking for a job. No matter if he had a job, he always kept looking for other stuff just to see what it would be like to experience. Right now, he‟s at like a bigger size, not a Stop & Go. It‟s twice as big. He says, “I‟m in the warehouse, and I‟m stocking, and I‟m moving around the whole store. There‟s something about it that I like. When I put the product in and several hours later it‟s gone, I can see change. I can see something different. That keeps me entertained for now.” Abner: [chuckles] Anita: Now, he wants to go to Texas, but I don‟t know what he wants to do for work there. He has asked us to help him research the area of police officer and firefighter. Abner: Oh. Anita: That‟s kind of scary, because I pushed the firefighter stuff. [chuckles] Now, a lot of people think of it differently because they don‟t know careers, like I‟ve learned careers through my job. It will be somewhat a controlled environment and you‟ll have people that want to help firefighters put down a fire, but when you‟re in the line of fire, you‟re in


the line of fire. People aren‟t trying to hurt you; whereas, it‟s a little bit different. I have to always explain it why I give him more information about the firefighter. [chuckles] Abner: Texas, that‟s hot spot for law enforcement. Anita: It is. What I‟ve been getting nervous about is that I hear that there‟s a lot of recruiting for border patrol, because of how bad it is, and there‟s a lot of funding, and there‟s a lot of bad stuff going on like the shootings. I don‟t know whether they call them mafias or the drug lords, so that scares me, because if he wants to go into some kind of protective area and he sees that that might be fast and quick, but then he puts his life in danger, and I don‟t think I like that. He becomes a soldier in our own country, I guess. Abner: As a parent, that‟s tough. Anita: Yes, very, very tough. So that‟s what he‟s doing. Abner: How about your daughter? Anita: My daughter, she‟s very sweet. I don‟t want to take anything from my son, but she‟s our little angel, in every aspect. Abner: [chuckles] Anita: I told my son, “You were the perfect teacher for her, not us,” because everything that he tried to push the limit on, he knew how upset we would get, so she knew not to do what he did. Then, he doesn‟t get it. She is very polite, very quiet, very sweet, very studious, very organized. Abner: What grade is she in? Anita: She is just starting eighth grade. When parents talk about their children, I say, “You know, she doesn‟t throw temper tantrums. She doesn‟t cry. She doesn‟t yell. She doesn‟t curse.” There is one sport that I notice that she loves the sport, and it‟s a very physical sport. [chuckles] Basketball, because you dive for the ball, and you fight for the ball. I can see a lot of aggression when she‟s on the basketball court. [laughter] I‟m thinking, well, she‟s got to give it up somewhere. Abner: Sot that‟s how she gets it out. Anita: Maybe it‟s there. The worst that we‟ve ever seen is she‟ll give you a look, and you‟ll just [gasp]. She gave us a look. She‟s not happy. Abner: [laughter] Anita: Or she‟ll be very quiet. I think that‟s, of course, a plus for us not to have a child that is out of control with her emotions and not knowing how to help her or knowing you


can‟t help her. You just have to let her be who she is with other children. When she becomes a young lady, I want her to exercise the right to say, “No.” or “Stop,” or “I won‟t have that,” out loud. At the house, she‟ll just walk away and tell you she‟ll be in her room, which means I am upset, something upset me. Abner: I guess that‟s the way she deals with it. Anita: Yes. I don‟t know, is there a downside to that? I don‟t know, but she‟s very well in control of her emotions, and she‟ll tell us when she‟s very upset. She‟ll say, “I better go to my room.” She‟s very different, very different, and she doesn‟t really need us, which is kind of bad. She organizes herself very well. She puts herself to bed on time. Abner: So who does she take after? Anita: Ummm. Her own self. We‟re not as well put together as she is. [laughter] Anita: She‟s really, really, really sweet, very sweet. My husband is, yes, shy, quiet and reserved, and she is more like that. You would think that maybe she‟d be a little bit loud and outspoken, but not around us and people, maybe at school on her own. She‟s very athletic. She plays year round. She plays volleyball, basketball, and softball, so she‟s always busy. Abner: This is in West Fargo, right? Anita: West Fargo, yes. Abner: What year did your family settle in the area? Anita: I think it was June 1986. Abner: That‟s you and Rudy already? Anita: Yes. Abner: So you were married by then? Anita: Yes. We were married probably one week before, the week before we got here. Abner: Before coming from where? Anita: From Crystal City, Texas. Abner: Okay. So there were a lot of new things in your life at that time.


Anita: Yes. Abner: What factors influenced your family‟s decision to settle in this area? What brought you here, in other words? Anita: Umm… We had no plans for the future as we were extremely young. Abner: How old were you then? Anita: I was seventeen and my husband was nineteen. So we had nothing planned other than the stupid (I think) young love saying, “We‟ll be together. We‟re happy. We‟ll be together.” Abner: [chuckles] Anita: That was all we had. We were happy. We‟re together and nothing to think of the future. Growing up, I think that the only expectation your family had was if you graduated high school, you made it. You‟ve made; you graduated high school. You‟re good. Abner: That‟s enough. Anita: Yes. That was enough for them, and that‟s all we knew for ourselves. So, no plans. He had a job to do with his family in the sugar beets, and he said, “Let‟s go. That will be an easy $1500 for the summer, and, then, we‟ll see.” Then, we took off over here. Then, there were recruiters from migrant farm worker organizations that said, “We‟ll pay for your school and a living stipend.” We didn‟t know what else we would do. Let‟s just try it. Abner: So both of you stayed? Anita: Yes. Abner: In school? Anita: Yes. Abner: So sugar beets are what brought you here? Anita: Yes. Well, to me, it was the marriage, because I didn‟t come from a farm worker family, so I didn‟t know what sugar beets really were. For him, he grew into a family that was a farm worker family. Even his grandparents had been involved in it. Abner: In what area? Anita: In Kindred, North Dakota.


Abner: Okay, and just the sugar beets or did they do other things, too? Anita: No, just the sugar beets. That was it. Abner: So they just came and left? Anita: Yes. Abner: Between the time that the sugar beet season ended and school started, there were a few weeks. Did you stay here or did you leave and, then, come back in September? Anita: We left, because then we knew that we were going to have to stay here. So we left to go get our belongings, get more clothes, or get more stuff, because we were going to stay longer. So, we went down to Texas, I think for maybe two or three more weeks, and, then, we were back. Abner: What kinds of adjustments did you have to make? Obviously, there were the adjustments of having gotten married, and, now, you‟re married, rather than single. As far as your life style with friends, the culture. Anita: Uhhhhh. I think everything. It was new even being together with him twentyfour/seven. So it was like, I don‟t know…being picked up and put somewhere that you don‟t know anything about. I didn‟t know a lot about cooking. I didn‟t know a lot about cleaning, because it was only me and my mother the last couple of years, so coming home from high school. She would take care of all the cooking and the cleaning. There was just the two of us, so what would she do most of her day? I would just come home and do a little bit of homework, go to practice. It was learning everything, everything, everything. I think everything was an adjustment. Abner: How do you do it? Anita: I don‟t know. Well, I‟m very Christian, so I think it was a higher power. Abner: [chuckles] Anita: That had to have helped us, because we did not know anything. We only knew two streets when we moved to Moorhead, up and down Eighth Street and up and down Twentieth Street. Then, hopefully, if we got off of Eighth Street and Twentieth Street, any other street would connect us back to those streets. [chuckles] That was it pretty much. Abner: By the time you came back to start school, his family was gone already, also? Anita: Yes.


Abner: So you were alone. Anita: Yes. It was very sad, because we had to go back to the farm. The farm was very alive with the sounds of people around inside, outside, doing laundry or cooking or getting ready, hearing vehicles come and go from running errands to get ready for the next day‟s work. Then, there was silence and all you would hear would be the wind against the leaves of the trees. That was it. No doors slamming coming in and out of the houses. Nothing. So that was kind of eerie. Then, there were no light poles, so it was truly just pitch black. [chuckles] I think we got to stay there, maybe, a week before we found a place to live. Abner: Here in Moorhead? Anita: Yes. Abner: How was it different between living in Crystal City and living here? Anita: Mmmm. Abner: Aside from being newlyweds? Anita: I think that living down there, the only thing that I can thing of is that people were taking care of us because we were like out of high school and, well, for me, I was still in high school before I left. Here, no one was taking care of you. You didn‟t have to worry about when you were going to go get the food or the light. There were so many things that came with rules, and we didn‟t know that. You‟ve got to go and turn on the lights in your name or you‟ve got to go and sign up for this in your name or remember to save that paper or that paper has rules. Follow the rules there. There was nothing like that. We just expected to just live. Here, it‟s like, no. There were rules everywhere you look for being, or just to be here. It‟s like, wow. [chuckles] Abner: Were there things that you missed from Crystal City? Anita: The laughter with my friends. I missed that a lot. What else? The sound of people talking Spanish, that also. Here, everybody automatically spoke English. Then, I think that I missed also, because it‟s different now. Back then not realizing that it was so natural to see so many dark-skinned people, and up here, it seemed like we were the only dark-skinned people. There‟s a lot of white and a lot of people blonde. [chuckles] I missed the look. The look was different. Some things, I expected them to be different, so I didn‟t get too much, you know, aback from that. Abner: How long have you lived in the Fargo/Moorhead area and how long have you lived at your present address?


Anita: Oh, here, I would say next June will be twenty-five years. It‟s twenty-four and a half. Where my house is now, it‟s been seventeen and a half years, I think. Maybe next March or May will be eighteen years that we‟ve been there in West Fargo. Abner: Before then, you had lived? Anita: A few years in Fargo in an apartment, and, then, the other years we were in Moorhead and Dilworth. Abner: Before coming here, you came here directly from Crystal City? Anita: Yes. Abner: How about Rudy? Anita: The same. We were the same. Abner: But he traveled with his parents? Anita: Yes, for two months every summer. He remembers doing that from when he was like in Kindergarten. Abner: And he was always here in the Fargo/Moorhead area? Anita: But it was always Kindred, though. He lived in Kindred. For two months, all their grocery shopping and if they had to go to the clinic, it was all here. They would come into town, they said. Abner: Do you perceive your stay here in this area as permanent, like I‟m going to die here, or temporary, like I‟m going to be here a few years and, then, I‟m going home? Anita: I don‟t think I‟ve ever had that question asked. [chuckles] But, now that it is, I think it‟s easy for me to say, “I don‟t think I want to die here.” No. I think I want to retire in my old age to Crystal City. Financially, I think I‟ll be able to definitely afford to do that much better there than it would be up here. The cost of living here, no matter where you are, is keeps going up. Over there, it‟s still such a struggling community. There was the little house that we lived in. My mother kept it, then put it under my name. So I decided. You can‟t get rid of property in Crystal City. You can just do your best to upkeep it. I‟m going to do my best to upkeep it, and, then, just have restful days over there. Abner: Mmmm. But in your mind had you been thinking this is my permanent home? Anita: Nooo, because nobody has really asked it. I think I‟ve always known that I would want to keep that house and, maybe, have better winters down there instead of being up here, enjoying more warmer weather.


Abner: I don‟t blame you. [laughter] Anita: Yes. Abner: Have you maintained contact with what you consider your home area, Crystal City if that‟s the area of focus? If so, how do you do that? Anita: For the first twenty years that we were here, we were going every year to Texas. Sometimes, we would go a couple of times a year. It‟s only been in the last, maybe, five years that we haven‟t gone every year, every year. That‟s how we had kept in contact. Then, I have kept in contact over the phone. I have a very small family, just my mom and my sister, and, then, there‟s extended family. So I encouraged them to move up here, because I knew there would be better opportunities for them up here. Down there, I would say with my family, its phone calls. We call. With friends, interestingly, they got me involved in Facebook, so it‟s like they talk to me everyday. [laughter] If it‟s just something funny, a one entry, it makes me feel like we were there. We had been doing that, not this Friday but last Friday and one friend said, “Okay. I‟m taking the blender out. The margaritas will be ready and the dancers will be here,” and so forth. Abner: [laughter] Anita: So everybody who was not in the community, they were all pretending they were going to get done with whatever they were doing, and they would be right over. So we were all pretending we were still in Crystal City and we would be right over. Abner: You were just going to… Anita: Yes. Then, someone said, “Okay, I‟ve got my six pack.” So, we kept the little pretend. I said, “We broke the blender at Tina‟s. She‟s face down on the grass.” Abner: [laughter] Anita: “Let me spray her down with bug spray, and I‟ll be right over.” [laughter] Anita: So we kept playing along, and it made us feel like we were right there. There is a lot to be said when people say: It was like you never left or you‟d never been apart. We did that on Facebook, just playing around. [laughter] Abner: That‟s interesting. Anita: Yes.


Abner: One of the things that technology can do is make relationships more cold and distant, it‟s so electronic. But if you use your imagination, you have a party together. Anita: Yes. We were all partying together last Friday night. [laughter] Anita: And drinking. Then, some other people let you know how they‟re feeling, my daughter needed surgery. Please, pray for me. I hadn‟t heard from her in such a long time. I believe in prayer, so I said, “Most definitely.” Another one is doing this or doing that or that she‟s traveling, otherwise, I wouldn‟t have heard from them. They don‟t solicit me to say something all the time, but it‟s good to hear how they‟re doing. For the most part on Facebook right now, I don‟t know that it will ever turn to a bad experience for me, but they‟re able to share something that makes them feel positive or something that makes them feel happy or something that they need help with, versus the downside from that. When you usually hear second-hand information, it‟s more of the gossip type, and it might be negative or, most of the part, it is going to be negative instead of, oh, she‟s doing good, or her daughter is doing this. I have a friend in McAllen that says, “I‟m so thankful to you for your influence, my friends, to God,” and going on how thankful he had been and thanking the people who have surrounded him in high school and set him on his path and, now, the children are doing much better. “Now, we‟re going to go visit the school. Please, pray for us that everything looks good. I don‟t want to see anything that looks kind of risky, because then it‟s going to tear me apart that I‟m going to leave her there.” So he‟s asking for support. All those things are like positive. It‟s not chisme (gossip) and it‟s not bad. Maybe it is happening with the junior high kids or the high school kids, but for us, it‟s all positive influences. It makes me feel good—nothing negative. Abner: How about family, extended family and relatives, do you stay in touch with them? Anita: On the phone, I do. I don‟t visit them often, but if there are significant events, then we‟re going to go and support each other, and, of course, sadly, the significant events are going to be a death in the family. There was one time my daughter and my niece were going to do their first communion and we have an aunt in Houston that had been telling us, “I want to see you. I want to see you.” Then, we kind of pressured her to see us. “Come and see us for this great event. Both the girls are going to make communion.” She‟s very close to her Catholic church. She found a way to fly to Minneapolis, so we went to go get her there and bring her for that event.


Abner: Oh. Anita: Then, when she‟s had her children get married, we can‟t always go, but the first cousin that got married, we all went. Then, when the second cousin got married, I flew down, a couple years ago. Abner: Your family has stayed close. Anita: Yes. They‟re in Houston. We feel really, really good and close when we talk on the phone. So that‟s good. Abner: What language do you use at home? Anita: I push myself to use more Spanish at my house, because I want my daughter to still remember it. She can‟t pronounce the words, but she can read it. When we go to church and when they‟re saying prayers, I can see her hands move down on the page. Abner: Oh. Anita: So she knows. Then, if I turn away and then I ask her, “Where are we?” she‟ll point and she‟ll tell us. But she‟s never made herself pronounce the Spanish sounds, so we try at home. I try very much, and she‟s okay that I do that even in front of her friends when we‟re at games or in between tournaments and I ask her, “Do you need some water?” “How‟s your knee doing? “Do you need me to go get you some Tylenol?” if she fell down. They‟re comfortable not to really ask her so much what I said. It doesn‟t bother me, but it bothered my son a lot. But, I said, “You know, it‟s me.” Abner: So her friends aren‟t Spanish-speaking? Anita: No. She does have friends when we come to church or other families that I know. She‟s got acquainted with them, but they all speak English. Abner: You said your son minded it. Anita: Ohhh, he minded it a lot. The boys were very, very, very curious. “What did she say?” “Rudy, are we in trouble?” “Should we leave?” Abner: [chuckles] Anita: He would always say, “Mom! Don‟t do that.” It‟s like, “It‟s my house. I‟ll do whatever I want.” There was only one boy that wanted to learn and took extra classes. I had to watch myself, because if I was upset and I would say some stuff… One time, he said, “Mom! It‟s Justin. He knows Spanish!” [laughter]


Anita: Then, I said, “Justin … “ [break in the interview] Abner: When you and Rudy moved here and settled in, what type of relationship did you have with your neighbors, your employer, any experiences with the government or police or the school, the community, the church? Anita: Ohhh. That‟s a very big open question. Abner: I know. Anita: Ooof! Abner: I‟ve got a lot of space on the machine. Anita: [laughter] With our neighbors, none. We were completely isolated from therm. We had good recruiters that were kind of like school counselors, and they showed us how to live in an apartment. They showed us how to do certain things, like the secretary knew that we were absolutely, completely green, totally. We didn‟t know one thing. When we were waiting for our counselor, she would ask us, “Did you sign up and transfer the light bill to your name?” “What does that mean?” “You go and you ask these questions.” So she would write little notes for us to teach us things, and, then, the counselors dealt with the more serious things about school and what happens when you get snowed in next. What‟s going to be your plan and this and that? So they were very good influences. They would answer all our questions. Sometimes, we felt really bad because, once, we knew that they were very kind to us, then there was like the outpour of questions that we didn‟t know the answers to. We didn‟t think too much to ask our parents over here what was going on. Maybe we thought it was different down there, because no one told us anything down there. [chuckles] Then, we felt kind of bad because we were always asking them questions and, then, they would always say, “Is there anything else?” “Is there anything else? Our first bad experience was with our second landlord that we had. She was doing things that were against the law, and we didn‟t know that it was against the law. She was saying things that were in appropriate, and we just thought why is she so mean? What did we do to her? Abner: Mean to you? Anita: To us. One time, we didn‟t know what‟s next. Where are we going to live? Where are we going to find a new place? We were thinking, well, that‟s it. I think we‟re going to have to leave because of her. This is not right, but we didn‟t know what discrimination is or racism. We knew something terribly bad was happening, and we were feeling very upset about it. We just wanted to leave.


Again, there was always a little bit of wait, and that secretary said, “Hey, what‟s going on with you?” “No, nothing.” “Oh, no, no. You look different. Tell me what‟s happening.” “We don‟t like it where we live. She‟s being really mean and we don‟t now why. We try and be really nice to her.” It was an old, old, old lady that owned the building, and she kept herself busy by just checking up on the building, so she was there, like, every day, several times a day or would stay for extended periods of time. Once, we told her… She‟s knocking on our door, and she‟s like “Something stinks in there. What did you do?” She would barge in. Or she would say, “What the hell is the matter with you? You‟re not living in a shack out in the boonies or a jungle.” I can‟t remember what she would say. “You‟ve got running water and electricity here. You‟re not going to run up my bill with your thermostat.” She was trying to tell us that our thermostat regulated other units, too, so, in her mind, we had it too far up or too far low or she smelled something, and she went in there, and there was banana peels in the trash. How dare us not take the banana peels…? So then later, the more we disclosed to the secretary, we found out that she was coming into our building illegally. When we were there or when we weren‟t there, she would say demeaning and degrading things to us, about our color and things about cockroaches or you have a toilet and running water here. So a lot of those things were very, very hurtful. When we told her that, she was like, “Oh, no. That‟s wrong. She‟s not supposed to do that.” Right away, she spoke to the counselor. She‟s said, “Somebody wants to talk to you about that. Will you tell them the story?” Well, then, we were afraid like we had done something wrong. Within two days, they had someone from the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. They had an attorney. Within two days, an attorney was here in town interviewing us. They filed a lawsuit against her. That was a very tough time because, at the same time, we didn‟t understand how she had broken the law and that we were right in the middle. It was only towards the end that we felt empowered that this had happened. But, all the while, you feel like you‟ve have been victimized and, yet, you‟re going through something… We felt completely violated and, yet, people are trying to help you, and you want to run away from the people that are trying to help you. We didn‟t understand, only until the end when they said, “Okay, now, you can start looking for an apartment.” The only thing she had in her bank account was nine hundred dollars. They had garnished her nine hundred dollars in the bank. Abner: Oh. Anita: They said, “We‟re going to give you that money, and she‟s going to give you good references.” We told her, “We‟re going to leave.” She‟s like, “Good riddance.” Then, she was giving us bad references. Then, I said, “You see, we should have just left. Now, she‟s telling other people that we‟re bad people.”


Then, she got cited with something else, something even worse. They compounded her charges for something else. Then, she had to give us a written reference of recommendation, so that they wouldn‟t call her. We turned that in so that they wouldn‟t have to see her or hear her talk. That was quite an experience. Then, she wouldn‟t settle, and I didn‟t know what they meant. I thought, well, maybe she just needs to apologize. She just doesn‟t want to apologize. It went up to the state attorneys or the highest level of court … the Department of Human Rights. That‟s how it was explained to me. Then, copies of letters from…I don‟t know what office would come to us, the same letters that they would send her. Abner: So, on the one hand, you had a good experience with the secretary and the counselor, but a bad experience with the landlord. Anita: Yes. Abner: You say you didn‟t have a relationship with your neighbors. Was that by choice, just your personality or…? Anita: Uhhh… I don‟t think that we knew what it was to really be neighborly and be friendly. Abner: Okay. Anita: We were so afraid of, you know, everything, being so new that we didn‟t have time to try and meet the people. Yes, we did have one person that was friendly to us, but… I remember that person to be like mentally disabled, because there were always people walking with that young man. He would always want to talk about the weather and about what he ate. It was always by an entrance, and he was always waiting for someone to come and pick him up and take him somewhere. So he was trying to be neighborly. I would always answer him back, but we never knew to befriend them. We‟d just go to school and come back. Abner: As you warmed up to the community, as you started to come out of your shell and go out, was there more acceptance, less acceptance? In church? Anita: Back then, I wasn‟t very close to the church, so I only knew to go on Sundays, and, then, that was it. But, maybe, clinging to some other relationship to other students, because those recruiting people also got other people enrolled in school, so time to befriend the other Mexicanos that were also from Crystal City, maybe. Those were the only people that we hung around with—or maybe not hung around with, because you‟ve got to have money to hang around with people and do stuff with people. [chuckles]


Anita: If we befriended them and spent extra time, it was in school, just with them. Yes, I remember the first several years kind of being lonely. In a way, I think we got used to it, but it was a lonely time, because we didn‟t associate with a lot of people and we didn‟t go out with a lot of people. We didn‟t know to do the college thing, go have friends and go have fun with them or anything like that. Abner: Did being accepted or not accepted by the people here have anything to do with whether you decided to stay or not? Did it influence…? Anita: Mmmm… I don‟t think it was that. I think what had influenced us to stay up here were really our families. When we would ask them, “How are you doing,” or “How is this going?” they said, “Oh, they‟re going to help us another year,” or “We met this person and they said we might be able to get a job there. I think I‟m going to get a job there.” In our voices, there were… I could tell, now that you ask the question, that there was a lot of opportunity for us to stay up here, so we were just telling what we knew, not knowing that we were telling them about all these opportunities that were here for us. Then, at the end, “Yes, but I think we‟re coming back.” “Nooo! Take that job.” “Nooo! What do you mean you‟re going to quit early? No, you‟ve got to stay.” Even though we were talking to them all the stuff that our counselors were telling us… What do recruiters tell you and counselors? “Once you finish school, then you‟re going to have this. You‟re going to have a job. We‟re going to make sure that you have a job.” So we only knew what they would tell us, so we would just repeat back what they were telling us. [chuckles] And, then, telling them, “We want to come back,” and they would say, “No, no, no. You stay. You stay.” So it was more of them, but not really the community. I remember them telling us more. “Stay over there,” this or that. I think one time my mom and my aunt…I think I might have said it during one vacation, “Why don‟t you just let us tell you that we want to come back?” I‟m pretty sure they had, like, a conversation with me to say, “We put on our best for you, but things are miserable down here. There‟s not enough to go around. There‟s this. There‟s that. How can you start a family?” Then, they would say, “Look at your best friends. Aren‟t they struggling?” “Well, yes.” Abner: In Crystal City? Anita: “Are things going great for them?” “Well, no.” “Everything is better over there. So stay.” They had us kind of realize that. Ohhh, okay. Abner: So it was more the encouragement of your family to stay here than the community drawing you here? Anita: Yes. We weren‟t even talking… “Oh, we‟ll go live outside of…” the other growing community. That was Uvalde or Pearsall or San Antonio or Austin. We never spoke of that, because we never knew all those communities right out of high school. We were thinking only there. That‟s all we know, so we come there, and they‟re saying, “Not here.” “Not here.” Abner: Do you feel a part of the larger community here in Fargo/Moorhead now?


Anita: Yes. Yes, I do. Abner: How? Anita: Anything that I want to do, I know I‟m able to do. Anything that I want to be a part of, I know that I will be welcome to do it. I‟ll even be sought out to come and be a part of this or come and be a part of that. So, all the opportunities are available to me that I want. So, now, I can choose what I want to do, where I want to put my efforts, and not only for myself, but for my children. There is no hesitation to try this or to try that. It‟s only do I have enough time if I want to do it. So, now, it‟s very, very different; whereas, before, it‟s like, no, you can‟t do that. You don‟t know anybody there. You don‟t know anybody here. Now, it‟s like I know enough people and they know me enough. If they don‟t, I feel confident enough and I have the self esteem to say, “I can do it. Let me make a call.” That makes my daughter kind of laugh at me. “Ohhh, Mom, there you go with your phone calls again.” Abner: [chuckles] Anita: “Let me find out.” “I don‟t want you to find out. I just want you to tell me…” “But I don‟t have the answer for you.” “That‟s okay, then. Just let it be.” “But let me find out certain things.” [chuckles] It‟s like if I don‟t have the answer for her, I‟m going to get her the answer. She‟s like, “Why do you always have to do that? I just want it from you. I can let it go.” “No.” For her, I want to give her an answer, always. Abner: Sure. So you sound pretty satisfied with Fargo/Moorhead. Anita: Yes, I am. I am. Abner: As we‟ve talked, I noticed that there‟s a transition from not knowing Moorhead and having to kind of find your way around to feeling very comfortable here. Has the changing of the ethnic part of the community changing also? Does it have anything to do with it? Anita: No, no, no, it is changing. Abner: How? Anita: It is changing because in the past, I would talk to families and you‟d always talk about how are your children doing? As family people, you want your children to do things, to do well, to get engaged, to participate, and to do this or do that. I would say that in my early, early, early years, I would hear the families struggling with the children in school, not wanting to stay in school, the parents very upset that the children did not want to stay in school, did not get along with the teachers, or were not listened to by the


teachers or were not being supported by the school. In my first years, I would say maybe in the first ten years that I was here, there was a lot of talk that there was a lot of discrimination in the schools. And now, it‟s not that. Now, when we hear about each other‟s children and what are they doing, everybody is telling, “Ohhh, they‟re performing here.” “Ohhh, they‟re going to go down to California to the state fair,” or “They got a scholarship here.” Whereas, before, their only concern is are they even going to finish school? Now, it‟s more, ohhh, they‟re overwhelmingly involved in different things that are good for them. You get more invitations from graduations, where in the past, you would just know one or two kids graduated from the Fargo/Moorhead community. I thought, oh, that‟s terrible [whispered]. Look it. We have how many hundreds of families in the community and you would only know of a handful of graduates. How could that be? How could that be? Now, you get invited to graduation parties. You get invited, and you get to hear how everyone is doing, and where they‟re going to go to college, and where they‟re traveling to. That was different. Abner: What were the issues that were affecting the community then or causing those…? Anita: Ohhh, that‟s a very big, loaded question. I‟ve learned for myself that they didn‟t have acceptance. Those students might have been in the same boat that I was when I was seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen, when that landlord did not accept me as a person and was ready to criticize and put me in my own place. I heard a lot of that at the schools with the students. They were not being accepted. They were being bullied. The school wasn‟t, maybe, ready to deal with so many students saying the same thing. Maybe, the school‟s not reacting the way that they needed to or didn‟t have enough support to react the way that they needed to. As soon as they were old enough to not be put in detention, then they would quit school at sixteen. They would just quit. Their parents wouldn‟t get in trouble and things like that. I think that, yes, there was discrimination and racism in the schools. What was the answer to all those dropouts back twenty years ago or fifteen years ago, the rate of dropouts? Yes, there‟s a lot of dropouts now, but, at that time, we had many more hundreds of families here living and trying to settle. Now, there are far less. Back there, there might have been twice as many or three times as many families. None of them were making it into their sophomore year. Once they turned sixteen, then they were done with school. Abner: So what issues changed? Anita: I‟m not sure what issues changed. I know what I had to do in my mind, and it seemed to work out, so I believe that I did the right choice. When I was working with the migrant farm workers, we were just supposed to be there to help with emergency motel or gas or food, and, then, help them go to school, exactly the same organization that helped us resettle here. A lot of families would come back and say, “I‟m having problems with my kids at school. They‟re being bullied. I tell them not to fight, and I do this and I do that, and they‟re not listening to me.” Those were constant complaints. All I could do was give them the phone number to the legal aid office, who is


here representing them, who is going to be their voice at the school. I didn‟t know anybody at the school. Then, at that point, I had a child by then that was, like two years old. I didn‟t want to pay rent anymore and we‟ve got to do something in the next couple of years. We started to look around. Financially, it was better to live in North Dakota than it was in Minnesota when you were not a homeowner. Insurance for your car was cheaper. Getting the tabs was cheaper. Even renting was cheaper. Then, the personal tax in North Dakota was, maybe, half or less than half than Minnesota. So, overall, it was going to be a benefit for us, since we had just had a child. So we stayed there a couple more years. But by the time he was going to be five, we decided, okay, we‟re not leaving. By then, we had been here eight years. I said to my husband, “Either take me somewhere in Texas or let me find out how to become homeowners.” He was always afraid of becoming a homeowner, because, then, we‟re stuck here for life. Abner: [chuckles] Anita: Anyway, he said, “Fine.” Once I tapped into and started talking to a realtor, there were just as many homeownership programs in Minnesota that there were in North Dakota. Right away, I knew… Nope, nothing in Minnesota. Oh, they have a beautiful floor, but, nope, nothing in Minnesota. Nope. Nope. Nope. The realtor didn‟t know why, no, no, no. He was trying to explain to me that, now that I became a homeowner, the taxes in North Dakota for a homeowner were like twice as much as in Minnesota. So it would be like an even… I said, “Nope, nope. I want to stay over here.” I don‟t know that I told him that, because there was no point. He didn‟t know. He was a retired man that didn‟t want to be retired, so he came back and was selling houses on a part time basis. But I already knew I‟m not going to raise my son in the school district over here, because there‟s a lot of problems. There‟s not a support. I can stand up for him. I can teach him how to stand up for himself, but we are just one against a school of how many? He won‟t have a chance. So we decided to settle in West Fargo. From there, I don‟t know what gave me the idea to prove to the community I‟m just as good as you. Somehow I don‟t know how it came about. At that point, I made sure that whatever I signed him up for, if I‟m going to sign him up for something and other parents are staying, then surely I have to stay. If I‟m going to go and pick him up and other parents were there before me, then surely I have to be. So I needed to show them I‟m just like you. I‟m just like you. In everything that he did, their school or performances or games or parties or whatever it was. If the little friends were having birthday parties like at Chuck E Cheese or whatever it was at that point, then his party was going to be just there just to show them, don‟t treat him any differently because he‟s just like you. Sure enough, that kind of took. Parents would let their children come and play at my house, and I had just as much faith in those families to let him go over there so that he would have a chance. Right when school started, everything was just the same. Everything was just the same. I was very, very, very happy about it.


I feel kind of bad because Minnesota has always been my employer and I have had good employers and good benefits. There it is…the one that gives me a job to feed and clothe my children. From that aspect, Minnesota has been very, very good to me. I feel really bad that when I saw families that were like me, that wanted to resettle, and they didn‟t know, should they look at houses over there or over here, and I knew that there were still problems with the school and the children and dropping out, I would tell the families, “Not over there. Check over here.” Abner: Not over where? Anita: Not over in Minnesota. Abner: Okay. Anita: I felt that there were still problems there. The children were still struggling. Okay. How can all the children be struggling at that point? There were still a lot of them struggling. It was only my personal view and my ideas and my hope for them to do good and have good things for their families the way that I had. I wasn‟t seeing that change in Minnesota. I would say, maybe, ten years ago, I started to see a change in Minnesota. Now, when they tell me, “Which is better? Minnesota or North Dakota?” I say, “There‟s really no difference now. There is no difference. Financially, there‟s no difference.” My part time job—I‟m self employed as an income tax preparer—financially is the same. One of my best friends, we were at the same income level, and she would say, “Do my taxes. I don‟t want to worry about anything.” At the end, we were just like this, even though she lived over there and I lived over here. Yes, her state taxes were way much higher than mine, but her property taxes were way much lower than mine. Abner: It balances out. Anita: It balances all out. I know that there is a lot of successful families in Dilworth and in Moorhead, and I see people and you get invited to their graduations. That‟s how I saw the change. When you start getting invited to their graduation ceremonies, then you know there was a change. I don‟t know how it happened, but I notice more people are graduating. They started graduating more. Abner: How would you describe the relationship of the Latino community to the rest of the community here? Anita: Ummm. I see them a little bit more aggressive; whereas, before they were a little bit more passive. They would ask each other what they needed and they would coach each other where it was and where to go. Now, they‟re a little bit more aggressive. If they‟re totally new to the community, yes, they‟re going to go with who they know to find out. But, nowadays, they‟re a little bit more confident that I think I know three places and from those three places, I can kind of start researching what I need and find


out for themselves. So that‟s how I know that they‟re a little bit different—oh, I think more than a little bit. Abner: Are there any situations that call attention to how there is a delivery or acceptance of services to the Latino community? Social services? Medical? Employment? Schools? Anita: Ask the question again. Abner: Are there situations that would call attention that stand out on how services are delivered and accepted in the Latino community? Anita: [pause] I don‟t see that much anymore. I don‟t think so. The people who have resettled here, the people who are new to the area and want to find out how the area is, they know that they can get and receive just the same, just as good. So I don‟t know that they‟re going without anymore. Abner: Okay. Anita: I really don‟t. There‟s a different population right now that I see that they‟re struggling. I don‟t know if they have less or they don‟t have it just as fast or just as good because of who they are. They are, I would say, the new Americans. They are very strong together. They are very distrusting, very, very distrusting. I see them as being distrusting of government. How can you teach them not to when they could never trust even their own country? Now, they have to come to this new country. They trust each other more than they trust the norms in America. When they‟re applying for something or they need something and they get told, “For you to be able to access this, you‟re going to have to do this and do this and do this and do this,” that‟s foreign. “All these steps? What do you mean? This is my family. I‟m telling you that I need it. Give it to me.” They say, “Yes. Yes. Yes, we recognize your family and all these steps.” That‟s meaningless to them, like the red tape kind of thing, the government. “No, no, no, no no.” You‟ll get interpreters to explain it to them, even in their language, that they‟ve got to go through all these steps, and to them it‟s pointless. Just give it to them. So they are struggling, and by that, they culled what they get and the services. They help themselves, so they hurt themselves by doing that. With the Latinos and the Mexican community, they are in America and they know that no matter where they go. Let‟s say that they apply for food support here. It‟s a federal program. They already know that they‟re going to go by this, by this, by this, by this, and that‟s exactly what they had to do over there. The only difference is that the instructions, let‟s say in McAllen or in Crystal City, were in Spanish, but they were the same identical instructions as here. So they kind of accept that there are rules. There are steps and they‟re going to get it.


The only thing that I know that‟s hurting them now is like when it comes to go to college and to apply for a scholarship. There is one organization here that if they do their application or even with FAFSA [Free Application for Federal Student Aid]. If you do that one, FAFSA will tell you you can get a little bit of that, a little bit of that, and with one application, it will target different funding sources. Then, there‟s another small organization that with that one application, they will target, also, several funding sources. Like in my office, there‟s money for scholarships. But, again, here, there‟s going to be different rules to follow, and you‟re going to have to do different steps. No matter how many times I tell, like, the community college counselor over there, “There‟s money. Send them over. But, try and let them know that there‟s different steps that they‟re going to do before they are considered. All the people that they come and meet up with, no one is going to say, „You‟re a shoo-in.‟” No, it‟s going to be till the last step. They just want to see if they‟ll follow through. That‟s a form to see are they serious enough? Are they responsible enough? Once they give you the scholarship, it‟s going to be $2,000 per semester or $3,000. I don‟t think we have the funding to do $4,000 anymore. They expect that when they do the first thing, they should be in line to get it all, like they did with the FAFSA. They only did the FAFSA one time and they‟re good for the whole year. Let‟s say with the other migrant farm workers, there‟s only one application, and they‟re good. With this one, you make a request for funding. Then, you come to an interest testing to make sure that you are very career decided. So there‟s an interest testing. There‟s career stuff. There‟s an interview. Then, you‟re going to show them that you‟re in school. So there‟s more steps. Once they know that there are all these steps, no, thanks. I just want to grab them and shake them. Abner: [laughter] Anita: And say, “What do you mean? You‟re turning away a potential $2,000? You‟re shortchanging yourself. You want what‟s fast, what‟s quick and very last minute.” So that‟s going to hurt them. Like when it comes to a career or educational stuff, they want to do stuff very last minute. No, very last minute … no one‟s going to give you $500 for books very last minute. People started coming to our office April and May and in June. The people who came in July and August, no. You tell them early on and, still, no. Abner: When you say, “new Americans,” are you including Latinos or is it? Anita: No. Like, from the Arab countries. Abner: Okay. Anita: Yes. We have people from, Kurdish or Afghanistan, Iraqis, not so much the Somali population. The Somali population, I don‟t know what makes them different. They are also considered new Americans. I don‟t know what makes them believe in the rules. They always bring people with them to help them understand, and they will truly believe that


this government, whatever government agency, is going to help them, and they‟re going to follow all the rules. What I see is that they‟re only distrusting of who‟s going to care for their children. Otherwise, they‟re ready to trust their counselors. They‟re ready to trust their advisors or their employers. They‟re ready to trust them as long as someone that‟s with them tells them that this is a good thing for them and their family. They‟re a little bit leery when you try and say, “Oh, you can go and get a list of child care providers over here.” Not too much with that one. With our other ones that come from Turkey or Afghanistan or Iraq, no. They‟re going to be very distrusting, very distrusting of us. They‟re only going to trust themselves and they want to get to the bottom right away. They don‟t want to go through all the steps. Abner: And you say Latinos are not distrustful? Anita: Not anymore, no. But, it‟s like time is money for them. So if it‟s not going to be really fast with one application and, boom, they‟re in, they‟re going to walk away, like for that scholarship. They‟re really too decisive on certain things. It‟s like, ohhh, if you would just slow down just a little bit, you could get more. Otherwise, no. They‟re very confident. They know who to ask. I‟ve even seen them apply the right amount of aggressiveness if they didn‟t get what they want. It‟s like, okay, I didn‟t believe what you just said. I‟m going to go and check it out. I‟m going to come back with somebody. Abner: [chuckles] Anita: Then, they know not to get out of control, but to say, “You told me this. This is not true. I‟ve got this for you.” So they‟re a little bit more confident. I don‟t want to say negatively aggressive, but very confident that, now, they can keep on asking and receiving. I have much more families relocating and finding their houses, their careers in Minnesota, and feeling very comfortable about that, and they‟re children are involved in this, are involved in that, so it‟s really good. I‟m really happy that they‟re there, but we are not as united together, because they don‟t how to balance this. Yes, I‟m very busy with my family and if somebody comes to them and says, “If you want to help our organization with this…” “No, no, no.” They‟re like right here. Sometimes, they try to explain to me. “I‟m really, really busy. I can‟t help you. My son is taking music lessons once a week. I can‟t help you.” I mean that‟s just an exaggeration. I‟m thinking, maybe I‟ll approach them, like an example, let‟s say when my son was still in high school, in the summertime, if I needed someone to help me and they told me they were really busy because their child this and this,” and they didn‟t know that my son was in baseball, and he had fifty games in sixty day, and I was never going to miss any one of them, I‟m going to figure out a way how to do it, because I believe in this organization, or I believe in this. So I‟m going to make it to every single game, but I‟m never going to miss a board meeting somehow. I‟m always going to communicate. I think maybe that‟s the last piece that we need. I‟m so happy that they are so involved with their children and that the children are getting exposed to anything that they want, anything that their heart desires. I love that. But I know they have time, but


they don‟t see themselves as having time. I wish that, maybe that‟s the next phase, that they challenge themselves. Yes, I can handle that and this. Like with my daughter, it‟s the same thing. I am truly busy eleven months out of the year. August is a dead month for me, because softball is done, and she‟s getting ready for school. Yet, we found a Fall league softball. It‟s only playing Sundays for two hours and that‟s good, playing Sundays. But there‟s no games. This whole summer, since school started, sometimes she had five doubleheaders. So I was only home twice a week and I still maintained contact and helping here and helping there. So I have to respect that they are there, but how do I teach them, you have so much more? It‟s kind of like we‟ve all arrived and we‟re so comfortable, and our children are doing well, and they‟re going to be successful, and we‟re there in that feeling. But, then, how do we unite with the community if they don‟t believe in themselves that they‟re capable of even that? Abner: So a few families have found a comfortable niche? Anita: Yes. Many have, I would say. Abner: But not necessarily in the community? Anita: Yes. Abner: Community organizations, tell me about some that have in any way touched the lives of Latinos. Anita: I would say that the “Y” has helped a lot of Latino families. Of course, Centro Cultural has been there. I would say the “Y” is very different, because they help them during crises, life and death situations. Where are they going to sleep? What are they going to eat? That kind of thing. But Centro has also been there standing to show them, we‟re not going to give you anything of monetary value, but we‟re going to show you where. The other one that I‟m glad is still here is the farm worker organization, because, yes, they‟ll be able to help the majority of the people that come in through the doors, but if they can‟t help them, they‟ll have some information for them to go and help them. Those are the ones that I can think of right now that have really helped them. I know that Migrant Legal Services has always had an open door or Migrant Health has been there for the families who don‟t want to apply for public assistance. Maybe they already know we have a little property down in south Texas, and I‟m going to have to disclose all of it here, and, then, they‟re going to tell me I‟m not qualified, and I only need my insulin. So I‟ll go to Migrant Health. They‟re also a very big resource. I‟m happy that they‟re doing a lot more to educate them about their health; versus, before, not a lot of people talked about their health, unless they were in the hospital. But at this one, they‟re getting them to talk about sugar levels, blood pressure, and all those things, and going anywhere that they‟re allowed to come. I know they come to the church a lot.


Then, Migrant Legal Services, they‟ve cut back a lot on what they can do, but they allow people to still go in and ask questions. They‟re really good about saying, “We‟re so sorry we can‟t help you. These are the only things that we can help you with. But we know somebody for you.” So they always have leads for them. Abner: How about Latinos involved in political activity? How are they involved? Anita: I think I‟ve only known two that have been involved. One was able to make it, to serve for the… I can‟t remember. I think it was the school district in Moorhead. She was able to make it and hold office. Then, the other one wanted to be…I can‟t remember if it was a commissioner. She got an opportunity to get known in the community, but she didn‟t make it to that position. Those are the only ones that I can think of, those two ladies. Do you want me to mention their names? Abner: Sure. Anita: I think it was Sonia [Mayo] Hohnadel and the other one was Alicia Rodriquez. Abner: Okay. Anita: Sonia, I believe, was a school board member. Alicia might have wanted to try for commissioner. Abner: Describe the realities of integrating the Latino community, or the community in general, with the more recent Latino arrivals from Texas or Mexico or Latin America. Anita: That‟s a difficult question. Ask me again. What is the difference between the Latinos that are already here versus the newer arrivals? Abner: Yes. Anita: Difference in just living or difference in? Abner: Everything. Values, living, work, work ethic, traditions, culture. Anita: I haven‟t seen too many relocate to the community, though. There are very, very, very, very few. If they are not part of anything that involves any of the activities that my daughter is in, then I‟m not going to see them. If they don‟t come to church, then I‟m not going to see them. Or if they come and apply for services at my office, I‟m not seeing them come to apply for public assistance because part of the program, they‟re going to be routed to my office. So I haven‟t really seen any. If I think hard, the ones that are coming to the community are not alone. Someone has established roots and they‟re going to come directly to them. They‟re not going to be totally alone, alone. No. They‟re going to be connected to somebody who‟s established their own home or a really a good job. They‟re going to maybe host them like a host family. When they come and I know of them,


they‟re connected to families that do a lot of heavy construction work in the building trades. That‟s where I see them. Abner: Is there something else that comes to your mind that you want to share about the Latino community? Anita: Mmmm. I would say we‟ve come a long way in the last ten years, a lot. I see them being more proud and being very happy for their children. I‟ve seen that a lot, that they want to tell you, that they want to share, that they want to invite you to come and share with them about what‟s going on and their accomplishments. I see that as a very, very good thing. You should be proud of your children and what they‟re doing. So that‟s a big difference. Abner: Good. Thank you.