My Parents Told Me So

My Parent’s Told Me So, My Parent’s Told Me SoI remember growing up in a poor neighborhood when the toilets were outhouses and when our hero’s on television were still in black and white. Superman was my hero and I actually believed that a character of that magnitude did exist. My parent’s only education was up to the first grade, but they instilled in me how education was the way out of poverty. An education in school meant that the things learned would carry me throughout a life time.Getting up early in the morning to avoid rushing to school was lesson number one. A shower meant being alert and energized in order to stay sharp throughout the learning day. It was not easy heating up a pot of hot water and pouring it into a tub made of aluminum to warm up the rest of the cold water. The room was right next to the outhouse and there was plenty of ventilation through the cracks of the rotten wooden boards. Both the toilet and the shower were right next to the alley where half of the neighbors shared the rented houses that were located in one half of the city lots where I was raised.My parents had a lot to say about learning the value of a good education in school. The teacher didn’t have much time on there hands to wake a student up in a crowded school room and re-teach a sleepy head, and that was something they often preached. Of course, just like any other growing kid I assumed that learning would have to wait. Full filling the handiwork of my hero Superman was priority number one for me. I was in love with that fictional character and that secondhand used up raggedy television set that my father had somehow sacrificed to buy was on everyday when the show, “Superman, Man of Steel” was viewing. Too bad the show was only on once a week, or else I would have been stuck to the television set like bubblegum on the sole of a shoe.I honestly believed that getting an education was over hyped. However, there was one minor incident that changed my way of thinking about school. Learning to read and write and doing arithmetic was okay. After all, it supposedly helped me visualized how Superman’s cape helped him fly way up above the clouds. I also read it in the comic books. Yes, my education in school was helping me read all of the things I needed to know to be just like my hero. Even the math was a tribute to calculating how far to leap over tall buildings.It was a Saturday afternoon that I learned my lesson. Right next to the shower and bathroom was a huge tree. I had tied a rope way up high on a branch, and I would use it to swing myself from one part of the tree and land on top of the roof of the building. I had my cape tied on around my neck and it consisted of a the towel which I had used to shower the day before. It would sway in the wind as I let go of the rope and gently land on the rooftop.A day before that Saturday someone had gotten rid of their used mattress and had left it behind the outhouse by the alley to be picked up by the city dump truck. I didn’t know when the trash would be collected since I was too young to look into those unimportant things. I was preoccupied on practicing my landing and then jumping on top of the mattress with my body fully extended and belly- flopping on it. It was fun and I spent hours getting it right so that my cape would wave in the wind.I was a little sore the next day, but it was a weekend and I could not afford to waist the day. Suddenly, out of nowhere from the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of two beautiful girls from school that lived on my block. They were on their way to the restroom and I was busy using the facilities to further my education in becoming the next American hero. I was practicing and they were about to invade my area.They were cute and all, however I had priorities to full fill. How dare they come into my space and stop my learning. I had to teach them a lesson or two, or so I thought. I was about to showboat even though at that tender age I had no idea what it meant. I climbed the highest branch of that special tree as I held on to the rope that was securely tied. I waited for the two girls to get closer so that they could have the best view possible. I wanted them to preview the next Superman in living color. My pajamas had red and blue on them and that was close enough to the real thing if you asked me.When the time was right I pushed my feet forward and swung from the rope in brilliant fashion. My plan was working as I heard them “Wow,” me a couple of times. My next move was hitting the landing in strife and I did it handsomely. The only step left was jumping from the rooftop, extending my body frame as to project the flying technique, and belly flopping onto the hidden mattress behind the bathroom. What could go wrong? After all, I had practiced it the day before. I was a professional in maneuvers uncommon to simple people.The grace, the elegance, and the charm were there as I felt invincible during my flight. It was not until I was beyond their sights and behind the outhouse that I knew I was in keep trouble. The city dump truck had come by our alley early Saturday morning and had removed the mattress onto which my body should have been landing on. Meanwhile the girls were stunned at my incredible feats and more “Wows,” were in the works.The bare ground had many small rocks and broken pieces of glass as I braced for the harsh landing that awaited me. My body was riddled with cuts and bruises as I rolled from the agony of the pain. The wind had been sucked out of me, but worst of all, my pride had been shattered as I stumbled to get up. I forgot who I was portraying as tears exited my eyes. Superman was the person most removed from my mind at that moment.I managed to walk passed the girls and there was no way to simply ignore them. I was crying and ashamed that I had spent some of my learning time doing stupid things. I was not Superman, Man of Steal. I was a little boy with a broken heart and luckily nothing else broken. There I was crying like a little old baby in front of those two girls. I knew they would tell the classmates in school of my acts of stupidity.The next day I walked slowly to school and was the last one to enter the classroom. I had bandages on my face, neck, arms, legs and under some covered parts of my body. Nobody made a sound as I walked passed the two girls I had showed off to and sat down on my desk. My head bowed as low as my dog’s head when it wanted to sniff something on the ground.That day I listened extensively to my teacher’s lesson. I caught parts of things I had failed to learn earlier during her teachings. My parent’s had a lot of input about why I should be learning and preparing myself for later on in life when it was time to think about what I was going to do as an adult. It made sense to study and learn as much as I could. School was important and the value of a good education never failed to waver from my mind during the next years of my life.I graduated from high school and later on went to college and got a degree. I became a teacher and enjoyed everyday of learning. I was able to communicate with my students as I shared a story about super hero’s and characters that only exist in comic books, movies and in the mind of a child. They all laughed and enjoyed the story as they passed it on to their parents and friends. The important values about it all was believing in continuing their own education and staying in school.


My Parents Told Me So


Harlingen, United States

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Artist's Description

Every young boy has a dream of becoming a super hero. I wanted to believe that Superman was real and I was set on becoming the next one.

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