© 2019 Tapestry, Annual TAMUK Women & Gender Studies Journal

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Benjamin J. Rangel

Elias Phillip Rangel

            My dad has been my inspiration since I was little, and even today he inspires me to try my best and be whatever I want to be. My dad has always been there for me when I felt down, and he always tries to give me advice about life as much as he can. If my dad did not tell me to go college to get a better life and better education, I would probably not even be here today.


“I was born on December 2nd, 1972, in Kingsville, Texas. My mom was Maria Elena and my dad was Sam Rangel

My mother, Maria, was from Mission, Texas, and my father, Sam, was from Lorriane, Ohio. My dad worked as a Tile-setter and as a Pastor, and Maria was a housewife. They had a generally low-medium income, because during the summer was when my dad had good business, but winter was when business was slow. I was not an only child, I was actually the fourth to last child of 12 kids”.

            “In total, there were 12 kids, 7 boys and 5 girls”. I stopped and laughed for a bit after he said that and told him that must’ve been crazy. He continued, “The boys were Sam Rangel Jr., Daniel, Mark, Elias, Albert, Julian, and Marcos. The girls were Elizabeth, Rebecca, Ruth, Margie, and Marina. In our house, there was 1 living room, 1 kitchen, and 3 bedrooms. One bedroom was for the boys, the second was for the girls, and the third was for my dad and my mom. Life as a child was great but super crowded”. I laughed and told him I bet it was.

            He said, “As a child, I played outside with the neighbors, who were also my classmates, and my brothers outside. We would play until it got dark then my brothers and I came inside to eat then go to bed. I usually slept in the living room instead of the boy’s room and would leave the window up to fall asleep to the sound of the cars passing by. My favorite toy was a Hot Wheels car, in fact, most of the toys the boys had were Hot Wheels. In school, he got A’s and B’s till the 6th grade when things got tougher”.

            He added, “I did fine in school until the 6th grade where I struggled with math, however I liked English and writing stories”. I asked him if he graduated from high school and looked at me and said, “No, and it is probably my biggest regret. I worked so hard out in the sun because I dropped out of high school. That’s why I always tell you to pursue an education, so you didn’t have to work your butt off like I did. When I was 16, I got my first job stocking the Navy grocery store. My dad would leave instruments on the floor sometimes and I would play with them. That’s how I started loving the drums and started dreaming of being a professional musician”.

            He continues, “I did eventually end up becoming a professional musician in a band. I would travel all around America and I would take you with me as I performed”. I looked at him and said wow, baby me must have had a pretty cool life, then we both laughed. He said “I kept doing that until 2001, when your little brother, Brandon, was born. I stopped being a professional musician to get a better paying job, so I could better support you and your brother”. He then smiled at me and said, “When you were born, it was the happiest day of my life, and I just wanted me to grow up and be happy”.

            Ever since then, my dad had given me life advice and told me all about himself so that I could grow up and have a better life than he did. He tells me all the time that he’s proud of me and that faith in me is what drives me to be my best and strive to have a good life. He says all he wants me to do in life is to grow up with a good job and be happy with what I am doing, and that’s exactly what I intend to do. My dad has been my inspiration since I was little, and even today he inspires me to try my best and be whatever I want to be. His inspiration is exactly why I’m attending college in the first place. He says he’s proud of me and my goal in life is to live up to his expectations.