Dear Dr. Rios,
My name is Jesus Sanchez. I’m a student at Fremont High School in Oakland. I’m in the 11th grade and I consider myself Mexican just like you. I have just finished chapter 8 of your autobiography Street Life. When I started reading Street Life, I immediately was hooked to read more because I was relating to it so much, due our similar backgrounds.
In class, we’ve been working on imagery annotations, Auditory, Visual, Kinesthetic, Olfactory, and Gustatory. We made an audio recording, reading a piece of your book. Where we had to mark the text to pause in certain moments, emphasize on specific words, and use certain tones. We also made TTTA annotations, Talk To The Arthur, where we imagined you were telling the story to us and we had to respond.
I feel sympathetic about different parts of your story that you shared in the chapters titled “The Snake Belt” and “A True Gangster”.
In chapter 7, when you said “ He called his brothers, sisters, and parents in Mexico, and when the $500 phone bill arrived, he told my mother that maybe they should stop seeing each other. He left, and we ended up with no phone.” (35). I want you to know that It must have been frustrating, Victor, to find out he wasn’t a good guy. Especially after all of the stuff your family has gone through. Also, you said ”Afraid of being beaten, I told my mother the truth; I had been working to help pay bills.” (36). I thought, Victor, I hope you felt a sense of relief when you told the truth.
Then I read chapter 8 where I read ”A few facial hairs started growing on my chin. I would stare at the mirror and pull on those few hairs to see if they would grow… Also, my body started doing all kinds of weird, uncontrollable things. It was an awkward and embarrassing time for me.” (39). I realized that, Victor, we, all men, have been through what you were going through too. Lastly, you shared ”I shaved my head, and when my hair started growing out, I greased it up with Tres Flores hair pomade and wore a hair net.” (39). I want you to know that I was surprised, Victor, to find out you used that pomade too.
Even though I haven’t finished the book, I feel like it’s going to be one of my favorite books I’ve read. For that, I thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you for reading, and I hope to hear from you,