Music of the Mill
Procopio Salcido is an eighteen-year-old residing with his parents in Sonora, Mexico. This is Yaqui country, where yield of the desert farms was drastically cut with the completion of the Angostura Dam in 1941. It has been three lean years without the floodwaters necessary for plant life. Today’s stroll becomes a mission to find a living across the border, where he settles in southern Arizona and looks for work. This life leads to the copper mines of Bisbee, Morencia, and Douglas, where active union involvement results in a price on Procopio’s head. Persuading Eladia, a sixteen-year-old, to leave an abusive family and meet him at the train station the next morning, he travels to the steel mills of Los Angeles. Locating a justice of the peace, these two refugees marry.
Johnny, his older son, tells of Procopio’s final days and death on a rainy day with family near. Saddened, but eventually able to reflect, Procopio’s mind wanders. He can’t fathom a technology and market capable of destroying the mills. Yet all is not dead. Like his ancestors who thought in layers, he envisions the inevitable clash of man with nature. Even Johnny knows that changes will flourish.
This book is recommended as an epic tale of three generations at a time when life centered on the decaying steel industry. Readers encounter an elaborate mix of workers brought from the farms of several southern states, members of numerous Indian tribes, and Mexicans. In this social history, they will get a glimpse of the melting pot that is the United States.