A Poor Man's Dream

The Texas Story Project.

Coming from a very poor family, Jose de Jesus Mariscal would never have dreamed of the life he has now. He married his high school sweetheart and now has two daughters, and his very own auto shop that has been in business for over three years now.

Jose was born into a poor family, and all his life his teachers told him that he was never going to make something out of his life. However, Jose was very determined and he knew that hard work will always get you where you want to go.

It all started when he jumped the border and moved to Oregon to follow the love of his life, Maria Mariscal. Maria and Jose dated the summer of their sophomore year of high school, in a small town in Mexico called Tala Jalisco. They stayed together up until graduation when Maria moved to Oregon with her sister to help her take care of her kids. Jose did not think twice and moved up there with her a few months after. They got married a year later and had a daughter before he was kicked out of the US for being there illegally. Jose and his family lived in Mexico for two years before he managed to get his citizenship and finally move back to Oregon.

Moving back to Oregon, Jose got a job as an auto mechanic at a huge company where he earned enough to make them happy, but not enough for him to save up and complete his dream of opening up his favorite shop. Not only was money an issue in making his dream a reality, but Jose also barely knew how to speak English. This put him at a disadvantage when it came to trying to negotiating or making connections with sponsors, because most of the people who lived in Oregon did not speak Spanish. In 2004, their second child was born, and a few years later they moved to San Antonio Texas where they had some family.

“It was tough making a living in Oregon where no one understood me. I was not able to make anything of myself for once people found out I barely spoke English, they did not give me a chance to show them what I was capable of,” said Jose de Jesus Mariscal.

Coming to Texas was a rough journey because he had to start all over, new town, new house, and especially new job. Arriving in San Antonio, Jose managed to get a job working as an auto technician at Maria’s brother’s auto shop. Working here, Jose found that because Texas was so close to the border there were a lot of bilingual people, making it so much easier for him to make connections and learn English. After finally getting stabilized in San Antonio, Jose gratefully realized that he was finally able to start his own business. Jose used part of his family savings and the connections he made ever since he moved here to build his business from scratch. Months after his decision to start his business, luck was on his side and he found the perfect location on West Avenue. He struggled the first few months after his business opened, but with the help of his wife and his San Antonio connections, Jose was able to make his auto shop succeed.

“I am very grateful for the opportunities that were given to me when I moved to Texas. If I had stayed in Oregon I know my dream of becoming a business owner would have never become a reality. Moving here to Texas was the best choice I could have ever made for myself and my family.”


Julissa Mariscal is a freshman at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas and is studying forensic chemistry. She is a part of the St. Mary’s Code Blue dance team and a member of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. Julissa was born in Portland, Oregon and lived there for 12 years before moving to San Antonio, Texas.

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