I knew he wasn’t coming to tell me ‘Happy Easter’.: Becoming Minnesotan

José Trejo in school uniform, Mexico, 1948. Minnesota Historical Society.

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Essential Question

Becoming Americans: What does it mean to be an American?

Problems in America: What could have helped this person’s adjustment in the U.S.?

Words to look for

dumbfounded

Background Information

Immigrants face many challenges as they adjust to life in a new place that has different foods, housing, music, schooling, transportation, and so many other new things. Language barriers and cultural differences may be especially confusing for young children!

To learn more about Latino history and culture, visit our Latino Community page.

  • Chapter 1

Download José Trejo 4
2:42 Minutes | 2.59Mb

Transcription

Narrator: José Trejo (JT)

Interviewer: Lorena Duarte (LD)

JT: And the other thing that happened that was very interesting was that we arrived in April, and right after we arrived it was Easter. Okay? The day before Easter my mother said to me, “Why don’t you go and see if you can find a Catholic Church we can go to for Easter morning.” So I proceeded to look for a church. Lo and behold, I run into some children that were running around in the front yard of their house. I’d only been in Minnesota two weeks. They were running around in front of the house looking for something. Then I saw them pick up colored eggs. I’d never seen that, so I was fascinated. Like, “What are they doing? Why are they running around picking up colored eggs from all over the front yard?” So I stood there watching and one of the boys came to talk to me. And he asked me in English, “What do you want?” I couldn’t understand what he was saying, but I remember the words, what he said. I pointed to the eggs. And he said, “The Easter Bunny brought them.” Well, by that time I knew what a bunny was. I thought to myself, “Bunny? Eggs? That’s strange.” So I said to him, I said, “No. Bunny no eggs,” you know. “They don’t lay eggs.” He says, “Yes, Easter Bunny! Easter Bunny!” I kept saying, “Why do rabbits lay eggs?”

I was very dumbfounded. I couldn’t understand what the heck was going on and why they were showing me these colored eggs. I’d never seen colored eggs like that. So I said, “No, no. Bunny, no eggs.” He says, “Oh, you’re stupid!” I understood stupid. He pushed me and I pushed him back. He pushed me again and I pushed him back. Then he got up and the other kids came running to see what was going on. He was about my age. The third time he pushed me, I pushed him real hard and I knocked him down, so he started crying. Lo and behold, around the corner of the house comes this lone adult, a man. He starts running after me. I knew he wasn’t trying to tell me “Happy Easter,” from the tone of his voice.

LD: Right, you knew.

JT: He was wearing these big rabbit ears.

LD: Oh my gosh.

JT: Here I’m running down the street being chased by this guy with long rabbit ears. I’m wondering, “What is the world coming to?” You know, “What am I doing here?”

LD: I can’t even imagine how strange that was.

JT: So I took off running and went home. Ever since then, I’ve been afraid of rabbits.


Related Glossary Terms

dumbfounded

Adjective: Shocked and speechless.

proceed

Verb:  To move forward; to continue.  (proceeds, proceeding, proceeded)

Citation

Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access]. http://www.mnhs.org/immigration
nid: 2188