“Cuca’s Conundrums Episode Five: Boyle Heights,1926-1928,” written by Norma Landa Flores, M.A. Speech Communication, is available on digital download @teacherspayteachers.com, It is a 24 page Short Story and Oral Communication Lesson, the fifth episode out of 17, about an undocumented immigrant girl who makes her way from Mexico to Texas and Arizona to settle in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles, California.
Ernesto Santos, President of the Los Angeles Filipino Club and Representative of the Filipino Cement Finisher’s Union, buys a fancy car in order to drive his new friend, “Miriam, the White Mexican Lady”( his words ) around Los Angeles to find a big house to lease. He refers to Miriam and her daughter, Dora, as his “ladies” and behaves in a debonair manner toward them.
Ernesto drives his ladies to the Bunker Hill area where his Filipino Cement Finishers Union Hall is located and shows them his own fourplex that he rents with another Filipino bachelor. Miriam says the hills around there remind her of where chivas, goats roam and wants to move to a decent area without goats around or tricky hills to climb.
Ernesto drives east past La Placita Catholic Church and Los Angeles’ City Hall. Then, over the bridge spanning the Los Angeles River. Miriam says she’s hungry and asks Ernesto to stop at a bakery on Anderson Street where they see a a sign that advertises, “Multiple Family Home For Sale, Inquire Inside.” The Anderson Street fourplex owner is a baker and a Gringo-Judeo cowboy named Cooper, Barriles in Spanish.
Juan Dos Pasos, a Mexican immigrant movie writer and tenant, self-discloses that he lets the cowboy-baker call him Pasitos, Little Steps because he’s very weak from his consumption and that, “ at least the Jewish landlord is willing to rent to me and the other single Mexican men. Ernesto agrees that it is difficult to find a place to rent for a single man, especially when you are Mejicano or a Filipino like him.
The immigrant men agree that the reason the Jewish immigrant rents to them is because he’s a bit crazy, being an extra in Hollywood films, a cowboy and a baker! Miriam decides that she’ll do business with the cowboy/baker because he switches cultural affiliations as needed-to survive and stay alive while still retaining his family’s values. . . . and so did she, Miriam La Judea/Conversa-Gitana-De Jalisco! Viva Jalisco!
Cuca’s Conundrums Episode Five: Boyle Heights Contents
[ æ ] Front Tense Vowel Functional Pronunciation
Ernesto Helps Miriam Find the Right Place to Lease, .....4
A Passionate Search for Income Property ..... 5
Vámonos to Boyle Heights .....7
The Fourplex Owner is a Baker and a Cowboy .....9
One Investor’s Loss is Another Investor’s Gain .....10
Epilogue: Everyone Laughed and Laughed
All the Way to the Bank .....14
[ æ ] Pronunciation Grades ..... 15
Multiple Choice Questions for Discussion .....16
Multiple Choice Questions for Discussion & Scores .....17
[ æ ] Low Front-Tense Vowel Functional Pronunciation
Contexts & Standards-Based Criteria for Assessing [ æ ] .....19
Appendix: Suggestions for the Teacher/Facilitator ..... 20
First Suggestion: Oral Communication About the Short Story .....21
Second Suggestion: [ æ ] Pronunciation Assessments .....22
Third Suggestion: Oral Interpretation, Reader’s Theatre, .....23
Stage, Play, Broadcast, etc.
Peroration and Copyright Information..... 24