250 .c 4f E-4 A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South March 30, 1973 The making of a legend By Elroy Bode I. Amado El Paso One summer day in 1968 I was walking around downtown El Paso and happened to stop in at Zamora’s News Stand on Paisano Street. As I glanced at the magazine rack I noticed a tabloid I had not seen before a little newspaper-journal called The Mexican-American. What caught my eye was the anti-Vietnam war editorial something unusual for El Paso in 1968 and a group of unsigned short sketches about hobos. The sketches were authentic-sounding little chunks of realistic reporting. I liked them. I came back to Zamora’s several times that summer, picking up other dime copies of The Mexican-American. One issue had a front-page article about a boy named Manuel whom the writer, a Cleveland newsman, had known in childhood. \(Although the piece a reprint was a well-written human interest story about a Mexican-American, it seemed to lack a specific connection with the El Paso scene. A connection existed but it was one I would not understand until four years again unsigned. Out of curiosity I sent a letter of inquiry to the P.O. box listed for The Mexican-American, asking in a general way about the journal and, specifically, who was doing the hobo pieces. I thought the writer might be a good contributor to line Elroy Bode, a former Observer contributing editor, is the author of Texas SketChbook and Sketchbook II. He teaches English and writing at an El Paso high school and has won the Stanley Walker Award for distinguished writing. Despite the fact that his wife is running for the city council and there is a goat on his roof, Mr. Bode calmly continues to write about the moods, scenes and people of his beloved El Paso-Juarez. up for The Texas Observer. I waited, but never received a reply. Months passed. Then one day while reading an Arizona Quarterly in the UTEP library I came across “Night Train to Fort Worth,” a hobo story similar in tone to the, sketches in The Mexican-American. The author was given as Amado Muro. More months passed: the war was dragging on, the chicano movement of the Southwest was gaining impetus, and I was coming across, in both new and back issues of the Arizona Quarterly and New Mexico Quarterly, more bum-and-drifter sketches
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