Determined to change the family fortunes despite living always in the margins, he gradually sent to Mexico for one family member after another.
Morales himself was born in the US, not Mexico, but this did not prevent him from experiencing life caught between the highly traditional, poverty-stricken life of Mexican agricultural-labor immigrants and the potentialities of the American dream available through education and hard work. The elder Morales was able to buy a plot of land but family could only afford to erect a tent and live in it for many years, until his fruit stand became a profitable store and he was able to build that house. Lack of funds contributed to family disease over the years, and Morales lost several siblings to TB.
Growing up, Morales was repeatedly reminded of his difference from Anglos. He had a growing consciousness of the "silent rules about being an American that had nothing to do with being born in this country" (Morales 56). He was ignored by some teachers, despised by others, though despite such petty local demonstrations of bigotry by 1937 he was also the class valedictorian. By the time he went to college in Santa Barbara he was used to feeling alien in an Anglo world but was not prepared to be shunned from an unexpected source: his impoverished European Spanish Santa Barbara landlords, who had been displaced by the Mexic