The Southwest
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The Southwest

The U.S. - Mexican Border: My Neighborhood

May 7, 2015 — It was especially sad when I visited my old neighborhood, to see the condition of my old high school. Jesus & Mary Academy was an all-girl boarding school. In my memories, it was filled with laughter, learning and dreams. It was welcoming, bright and cheery and colorful posters were often taped on the windows during holidays or spirit week. This picture shows that it was taken over by a local Pentecostal. The sign in Spanish reads "Center of Life West."

I don't know why, but this iron fence makes me feel unwelcome.

When it was my high school, there was a residency program for girls from Juárez and local girls from the neighborhood attended as day students. It was two blocks from my home. It was at this school when I met four young men from Providence College who inspired me to take a leap of faith to explore the world.


Here is the Southern view we had from all the classrooms at Jesus & Mary. Trains went through there every day and I loved the sound of the wheels on the tracks and occasionally a toot of the horn.

One of my favorite memories is when the Portland Cement Company down below on Paisano Street imploded one of its buildings. We heard about this only that morning and so when the time came, all the girls gathered around the biggest window in the hallway of the second floor to watch. BOOM! It stood frozen for two seconds, then fell all at once. On the other side of the border I noticed people watching waving and cheering. We all cheered back, and for a moment, had a personal exchange with our neighbors across the border.

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