This past weekend, Neatorama posted an article called U.S. Economy Sucks, So Illegal Immigrants Are Goin’ Home!
I was immediately reminded of Mario, a worker at my parents’ old dry cleaners.
A Mexican immigrant, Mario worked the heavy press machines. He worked at the store for almost the entire 15 years of my parents’ tenure. Slowly but steadily he was able to build his salary to $700 a week.
A few years after Mario started working at the store, he married a fellow Mexican immigrant named Maria. He was able to procure a position for her at the same store. She didn’t work as many hours as him, and earned $400 a week.
Although the store was located in the wealthy suburban area of Weschester, NY, Mario and Maria rented a tiny apartment and kept their living expenses at a minimum. They did not save the surplus money; rather, they sent it to their family in Mexico.
Over the years, they were able to send enough money home for their relatives to buy two houses and send several younger cousins to college.
All on just $1,100 a week.
Reading this article made me think of Mario and wonder how he and Maria are doing. Do they still work at the same store? Did they, like many other Mexicans, choose to go back to our neighbor to the south?
As depressing as the article was, it put a smile on my face as I thought back to Mario and Maria. I hope they’re doing well.