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My family has been in the business of repairing truck radiators ever since I can remember. It all started with my grandfather before I was born and after all these years the business still stands in the same location today.


My grandfather was a tough man. I never met him, but my mom often tells me that it was a “good thing that he died before you were born” as he was a very abusive person.


After my grandfather died, his eldest son took over the business. My uncle - let’s just say he didn’t fall far from the tree - was perfect clone of his violent father who would often get into drunken fist fights with his teenage son.


The place smelled like sulfur, sweat and dirt all at the same time.


What used to be the master bedroom of my grandmother's house - where years prior I had witnesses a gun fight between the PGR and my family members - was now the radiator shop. 


The radiator repair shop sat on the side of a busy highway that lead to and from the mountain ranges (La Sierra) to the west of the city. Truck drivers would drop off radiators the size of a small mattress to be repaired by my uncle. 


The customer base seem to be the same - just the “regulars” as my uncle would call them -  and often each customer would drop off one or more radiators, while picking up others that had already been repaired.


The shop was a large filthy room that held a two large baths - one was a pool of dirty brown water and the other was some greenish sulfuric acid mix - that are used to completely submerge large radiators to dissolve all the dirt and grease before servicing each.


My uncle would then unweld the radiator caps - do some work - then he would weld the caps back on. He would do this with each radiator. It was a cycle, someone drops of brand-new radiators, my uncle repairs them and someone later picks them up.


One thing that I never understood as a child was: Why did customers drop off brand-new radiators to be repaired? It just made no sense.


La Sierra Madre Occidental