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Danny Alvarez


A lot of times I sit back and reflect upon my loving family, and the ones that I've lost - especially when the holidays come. I had brother who was two years older than me. He kind of led me, because we were closer in age than the other ones. He was a good athlete - a good football player, a good baseball player - and I tried to emulate him, but I didn't have quite the skills he did. But I was a pretty good athlete. In fact, after we got out of school we played together on the same softball teams and stuff. He had a nickname I always liked, they used to call him Bandit. I often asked him, "Why do they call you Bandit?" He said, "Well, they think I look like a bandit!" (laughs) I don't know what a bandit looks like. So when I went to high school, "Hey! There there comes a little Bandit!" (laughs) I already had a moniker, a Little Bandit!

You know, being young, I don't remember actually the poverty, because we ate, whatever it was it was, we ate. I had about three or four of my brothers were going to school and they were taken out of school because they had to go to work to provide for the family. And I guess they provided, because I don't remember really - it didn't have the effect - my older brother probably did, but I didn't. My mom, I was the youngest and she spoiled me, whatever that was left I guess I got, extra pennies or whatever.

I know that we always went to the movies. For some reason or other we had money to go to the movies. At that time there was no television, so it was radio, magazine, books, and the movies. And I guess that was our little social part of life, which I enjoyed. I remember I was reading, my mom used to read, all my brothers used to read, so I was in that environment. I started reading early. When I went to school I picked up reading very fast.

The thing regret is when my wife was gonna retire, she got cancer. She worked for the Unified School District, and we were going to travel. She was going to retire in june. She got sick in January, and she passed away in October, she lasted ten months. She had ovarian cancer, the silent killer amongst women. When they discover it, it's already in its fourth stage. There is no test right now. We were hoping for a miracle in that she took the chemo treatments for, she had six chemo treatments, once a month, and every time we went there was no cancer cells, so we were hoping for a miracle. The last chemo, the cancer came back - and bigger. And it didn't respond to the chemo. so they go an hide, they break up, then they come back. When they found out she had initially they gave her a complete hysterectomy, and then they aggressively gave her chemo. She almost didn't live the first two months, she was not in good health. Somehow she lived, after that we had a good six, eight months together, really, in remission. We were married forty-three years, this year would've been our fiftieth anniversary.