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Matt Weinstock

September 13, 2007 |  8:24 pm

Sept. 13, 1957

Matt_weinstockd Every Friday after work, Roy Huerta, 38, drives to Tijuana and spends the weekend with his beloved family--his wife, Manuela, 32, and their three girls and two boys.

It is an unsatisfactory arrangement but it can't be helped.

Roy and Manuela met here in 1947 and were married. Their enforced separation dates to a black day in 1949 when they took a trip to Tijuana.

At the border on the way back, they were asked the usual questions. Roy had no trouble. He was born in Johnstown, Pa., served three years in the Army, including 18 months in New Guinea, the Philippines and Japan, and came to Los Angeles after his discharge.

Manuela, who was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, and speaks little English, panicked. She said she had never been in the United States, then said she had. She was detained and accused of having entered this country illegally.

A hearing was set and Manuela was notified, but she never mentioned it and didn't appear, compounding her guilt. She was convicted of perjury and forbidden under the McCarran Act to reenter this country.

And so for the last eight years Roy has made a weekly pilgrimage to Tijuana. He takes along groceries, clothes and gifts for the children.

1957_0913_letters_3 During the week he lives in an apartment here with a brother. He works as a cook at the Bull and Bear Restaurant, 655 S. Spring St. In the three years he has been there, says the owner, Ridley Billick, who admires him greatly, Roy has missed only one day.

For a time, his eldest daughter, Gloria Jean, who will be 9 next month, attended school in L.A. but she became lonesome and rejoined the family in Tijuana.

Conscientious, disciplined Roy Huerta does not complain. But he has never stopped hoping that somewhere, somehow, the immigration laws may be modified or his case receive attention so that he may be reunited on a full-time basis with his family.

YOU MAY BE vaguely conscious that MGM is bringing out a picture titled "Raintree County" but I am dynamically aware of same. I happen to be sitting in the shade (fluorescent lighting shade, that is) of an 8-foot tree in a heavy 5-gallon tinfoil-covered can incongruously placed alongside my third-floor desk by persons unknown.

The job of hauling it there easily constitutes the most muscular press agentry of the year.

What kind of tree is it? A rain tree, of course.

TODAY MARKS the 10th anniversary of the Great Books Foundation, and representatives of the 52 study groups in the area will gather at 8:30 p.m. at Beverly Hills High to observe it.

The path to literary culture has not always been easy.

Not long ago a Pasadena group which had been meeting in a hall on Green Street arrived to discover the building locked. It had changed ownership and they had not been notified.

After a curbstone conference they went to the only available place nearby, a bar, and, Bibles in hand, went on with their assigned discussion, the Book of Job.

TODAY IS ALSO Downtown Felt Hat Day and a little lore goes with that too.

It is traced to Daniel Desmond, who opened the city's first men's hat shop at New Commercial and Los Angeles Streets prior to 1870. It was the forerunner of Desmonds, Inc.

Prior to that, hats, mostly toppers and bowlers, were sold in general stores.

Old Dan was quite a fellow. He organized the city's first band, was a member of the volunteer fire department and when business was slack strolled over to the city jail and chatted with the inmates.