I’m Lou. I’m 73 years old, born in L.A.
My grandparents were from Guerrero, Mexico. They had seven kids. My Mom was the second oldest. She was a seamstress. My Dad was born in Bakersfield, California. He was an American Indian. He was really good at math, and was a machinist. He worked making airplane parts during World War 2 and through the Korean conflict. I remember he and I used to go walking around Griffith Park next to the L.A. River, and see the B-25 Mitchell bombers coming off the assembly line at Weber Aircraft. We used to watch them take off.
My Dad found it difficult to have a steady job, because he didn’t like people telling him what to do. He would often get into fights to show off that he was tough. For about ten years, he also showed my Mom at home that he was tough. Mom divorced Dad and she and me and my older brother moved in with her parents.
My brother and I attended a Catholic church near Chinatown every Sunday. I didn’t mind going to church. I was an altar boy, but only after the priest persisted. I also attended a Catholic elementary school near Silver Lake until about the Second Grade. It was very difficult for my Mom to buy the required school uniforms for me, because it was one more thing that she could barely afford. It seemed that I was in trouble a lot of times for nothing. There were a lot of rules. I was always being told that I was a rude kid and going to hell. I didn’t like going to school there. After the Second Grade, my Mom put me in a public school, and then I was considered as a good student. I had a good attitude and learned to play many sports: kickball, dodgeball, and baseball. Sports helped me to excel, and it became very important to me.
I learned a lot about baseball fundamentals when I played in the YMCA league. One of the YMCA leaders would always pray with the team before each game. Through his prayers, I learned to always thank the Lord for what He has given me, and for making me a better person. I learned to pray, myself, before each game. And then, I would pray with the team before each game. When I prayed, I felt God was near me.
In Junior High, I played on the school baseball team. Once, on my way to school, a man at a gas station asked me if I wanted a job. I was only 13 years old. I took the job. I worked there until I was 18 years old. I worked my way from sweeping floors to managing the station. After I closed up the station at night, I would go home and do my homework.
In High School, I played on the football team. I would go to Mass in the morning, and then go to football practice. By then, at 5’5” and 135 lbs., I was agile and fast. I played different positions for the Marshall High School football team: linebacker, defensive end, guard, and tackle. Once, I grabbed the ball from the quarterback, and ran 70 yards for a touchdown. I was well-respected and was voted as “Player of the Year” and also as the ten-school “All League Player of the Year”. I always gave God my thanks for all He did for me and through me. I never forgot to pray with the team before each game. Through my example, other young men learned to pray with the team before games.
I became the President of the “Eldorado Club”, a Christian social club out of the Hollywood Beverly Christian Church. I never drank alcohol, smoked, or cussed. I dated 1 or 2 young Catholic women during High School, and always treated them with the highest respect, as a gentleman would. Two days after graduating from High School, I joined the Army and became a mechanic’s helper and a tank driver. I also became captain of an Army football team. I continued going to church, even in the Army.
But then, something terrible happened. Once, when I came home on leave, I met a woman and fell in love with her. She was attractive and she pursued me. I resisted, at first. When she persisted, we had sex. I ran away and didn’t want to see her again. When her parents came knocking on my door and told me that she was pregnant and I was the only one who had been with her, I felt it my responsibility to be a husband to her and to be a father to our child. We got married, but she never wanted to go to church. When Louie was born, she never wanted to be with me. She divorced me, and though she had custody of Louie, she gave him back to me to raise him by myself. I cried and asked for God’s intervention. When there was no answer, I was heartbroken. I stopped going to church.
Some years later, I heard that a friend’s sister had recently divorced. I just happened to be in the neighborhood passing by the laundromat, when I saw her: Martha. I recognized her from our school days together. After we talked, we started dating. We dated for five years, because I was afraid to commit to marriage and be hurt again.
Over those years dating, I stayed away from her parents, because I was afraid of them. Her Dad was unfriendly when he had a bottle in his hand and her Mom was physically impaired. When we went out, I would never meet Martha in front of the house. One day, while waiting just a few yards away from the front of Martha’s house, her mother hobbled down the stairs, walked over to me, and took me by my hand, and brought me into the house! The first thing I noticed in her home was an open Bible. She immediately invited me to her church: that evening, they were having a full gospel program with music, fellowship, and a message from an evangelist. As I heard the music and listened to the message, something began bothering me. I felt a big burden of my guilt and bitterness. Finally, the evangelist gave an invitation, as Jesus did: "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:30 NASB). I went forward, confessed my sins, thanked Jesus for dying for me, and prayed to receive salvation! At the altar, I cried and cried for hours. My girlfriend exclaimed, “Oh my God! He got saved!” I became a spiritual leader at the church and would sometimes help out by leading the congregation in worship.
I moved out of my Mom’s place and into my own, taking full responsibility for raising Louie. Two years later, I asked Martha to be my wife and asked whether I could also be a father to her young daughter, Mia. We married and started living together as a family.
As a young man, now with a wife and young family, I sought to get a better paying job. Work was hard to come by. I wanted to be an ambulance driver, but even though I passed the testing, I could not get a job. Through God’s grace, I got a job as a dockworker on the graveyard shift, and had continuous employment for 7 years. I got caught up in a layoff, but because of the union, I continued working for another 15 years for a trucking company. When my trucking company closed its doors, I worked as a truck helper for the studios. I was well liked and became well-known at NBC, ABC, CBS, and KCOP. It seems I always had a job waiting for me, when the former job ended. When there was a hiring freeze, because of my good reputation, I got a job with a flower company as an hourly worker with no benefits, working 60 days and then getting laid off. My boss said he was sorry to lay me off, but then he said “see you on Monday”. He would hire me for another 60 days. This cycle repeated itself for 27 years in the same job.
Over these years, I have seen God’s favor on my life. When my daughter, Mia, turned 18 years old, she blessed me by taking on my surname. I have now been married for 45 years! My son, Louie, is a kind and loving man. I love the Lord Jesus and am active in His church. I thank the Lord for all He has given me and done through me, and for making me a better person.
Would you like to make Jesus the Lord of your life too?
If so, you can pray this prayer - Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins and rising again. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. I ask you into my life and heart as my Lord and Savior. Please help me grow in you and live for you. Thank you for coming into my heart.
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