Facing Arizona: 90 and has witnessed Glendale’s growth in real time
Editor’s note: Facing Arizona is a series that will appear on KTAR.com and social media — follow KTAR News on Instagram and Facebook for updates — highlighting unique and everyday people across our state and give you a glimpse into their lives.
My name is Joe Castro Zuniga, I am 90 years old, and I was born in Glendale in 1928.
I remember working at a dry cleaner when I was old enough to get a job. Back in those days, you could start working at 12 or 13 years old. When I was old enough, I joined the military — the Army, to be exact. Yes, sir, I wanted to serve my country and see the world. I did see the world, and I saw things that no one should ever have to see.
However, had I not joined the Army, I would never have met the love of my life. I met her in Trieste, Italy, and the first time I saw her, I knew that she would be my wife.
After I retired, we moved back to Glendale. Oh, how it had changed while I was gone — new buildings everywhere, new roads to get to those new buildings.
I went to work for the City of Glendale, built a house for my wife and children and kept working until I retired at the age of 74 as a superintendent. Again, things changed during that period. Glendale grew, Phoenix grew, the whole state was growing faster than it knew what to do.
My wife died a little over four years ago, and now I live with my grandson. He takes me around all the time, and I can still see the city grow and grow and grow. The fields I used to play in as a child are no longer there. The buildings in the old neighborhoods torn down with new ones taking their place. Huge buildings and apartments in Phoenix and Tempe where there wasn’t any before.
Yes sir, the state has grown in my 90 years. I don’t regret anything about my life, and I lived it the way I wanted to and was blessed along the way. I had seen history happen before my eyes and was fortunate enough to marry the woman I loved.
Yes, sir, I have no complaints, and no regrets, and when the time comes, I will be ready. — Joe