The year was probably 1962 and I was in the ninth grade at Vernon Junior High School. The school atmosphere was a different time and a different place. One thing that was different at that time was no free lunch at either Vernon or any other school in Harlingen.
I came from a rather large family – four girls and seven boys and we all graduated from Harlingen High. That accomplishment we owe our parents.
I was the second male born to Pilar Sr. and Elena Espinosa. At any given time, there were six or seven of us attending the Harlingen public schools. While attending Jefferson Elementary, I could walk two blocks and be home for lunch.
At Vernon Junior High, 825 W. Curtis, was a mile or more away.
My mother, who was always in charge of finances, could not afford the 25 cents or more for a daily school lunch, so she would prepare tortilla de harina tacos very early in the morning. She would pack them into brown paper bags.
At noon, during the lunch hour, we would very quietly head to the east side of the school board building. That location would also be at the back of the service station, now the Exxon building currently being torn down.
The option of eating homemade tacos at the cafeteria was not available. Actually, it was embarrassing to eat homemade bean and egg or potato and egg tacos among your more affluent friends. Now, in this day and age, even the high school principal eats tacos in his or her office.
Every once in awhile, one or two or our school friends would show up at our hideaway taco location. They would exchange our tacos for their white bread sandwiches.
I was glad to make the exchange. This went on throughout the whole school year at Vernon Junior High. Within the next few weeks or months, our old taco sanctuary will become a part of Harlingen history. Oh, for the good times.
Pilar Espinosa Jr. Harlingen