Terri Valenzuela


As Interviewed by Sophia Roberts, March 24, 2018

Terri Valenzuela: In Her Own Words

My name is Theresa Ann Valenzuela. I was born in El Paso, Texas where I currently reside.

What do you know about what El Paso was like when Andy was in High School?

Well, remembering some of his stories, he would walk to school, which wasnít the short distance, it was quite a way from his house. He would participate in sports after school, so he wouldnít have a ride back home after his practice. His football practice in football season, or baseball practice in baseball season. Sometimes he would walk through neighborhoods that were kind of scary at night, and I think thatís why he said that says he would become very good at sports and running fast, was because he would run home. He grew up on a street called Hammond Street, and they didnít really have like, grassy areas it was more like dirt roads. He lived where there was a city dump that wasnít very far from his home, and a lot of times they didnít have fruit, or fresh vegetables, so they would wait for the trucks that would haul produce to the dump, so that they could take off the truck what was salvageable to eat, to take home.

(Andy) He faced a lot of discrimination. He didnít know any better than his immediate environment which was mainly Mexican American kids. Sometimes the teachers in school would be white Anglos, not always so kind and good to them. When he was playing baseball and they went out of town to play a major game, they were very discriminated against. There were signs on the restaurants that would say ďNo Mexicans or Dogs AllowedĒ and so they would sit outside and wait for their coach, who was allowed to go into the restaurant to order food and bring it out and feed them. When they went to Austin to play in the State Championship, they were not put up in a hotel like the other teams. They slept on cots under the stadium at the University of Texas. When they played in the State Championship game, they were called names from the audience. Their bus was rocked, they threw rocks at them. They had to get out of town pretty fast. It wasnít kind. I donít think they even had a chance to think twice about it. They didnít know any better. They were just sixteen, seventeen year old little boys that were having a good time because they were on a road trip and they were together, and they would make fun out of everything they had. They would make races in the cot and they were just little guys who would play ball. When they were playing in the playoffs and winning games, to them it was just ordinary. Thatís what they did, thatís what they knew. And as they got to go to the State Championship, it was just a wonderful experience for them. Some of them had never been out of El Paso, so anything outside was an experience for them. (Andy) Daddy said that they didnít even own suitcases. They would fill up brown grocery bags to carry their clothes in. he said it was all in fun. It all came so natural. They were just having a good time. Whatever they did, it was a fun experience.