Salinas

About three years ago, my parents moved to Salinas, California, a struggling farming town near Monterey, California.  They are economic migrants of a sort, poor in old age after having been middle class in middle age, driven from the Bay Area by the high cost of living there, and the cold facts of a small fixed income.  Salinas––a place to make a home that they do not call home––has probably the best weather in California, and a murder rate more than twice as high per capita as that in Los Angeles, not to mention severe problems with child poverty, homelessness, bad schools, and gang violence.  I come from wherever else I am to see them every couple of months.  I sit with them in their tidy rented house and listen to their complaints, sympathetically and sometimes not sympathetically.  I do errands with them.  I walk their town.  I photograph.  I am part watcher and part dreamer, as they themselves likewise watch what comes to pass, and dream of what does not come to be.

Jason Francisco
March 2017, Salinas