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Happy Father’s Day, Pop!


Pop & me on my wedding day

Happy Father’s Day, Pop!  I am thinking about you during this special day honoring all fathers. There is not a single moment that passes with thoughts of you fluttering my mind. You were larger than life and you were not an easy walk but you were definitely a loving father.

You busted your butt for us, every night driving that yellow cab. I still remember you coming home with eighty stitches on your forearm. As the story goes, you were held up at knife point by some guy outside your favorite diner. You refused to give up any money and you fought back. I wonder sometimes, what passed through your mind? I cannot begin to imagine what it was like. It must have been very scary. After that horrific experience, you continued to go to that same old diner. My thoughts? You were either crazy or very brave I chose the latter.

As a disciplinarian, you were very strict and you know what? We turned out okay with a few rough edges under our belts which made us strong. It is amazing the things that you think of when you look back. I have plenty of good stories to tell about you, Pop. It will carry me through for years to come. Just know, we made it through and for that I am grateful.

I am all grown up now with my own family. I am a grandmother, surprised? You would love her, she is an exceptional young lady, very bright. I am truly blessed.


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Thinking of You on Father’s Day


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Happy Father’s Day Pop,

We have missed you…thoughts of you come flooding back each time an official holiday or your birthday comes around, and here I am again writing to you on Father’s Day. I cannot believe that you have been gone 22 years. Mami is doing, okay. She continues to cope everyday without you and at times it can be a struggle.

Our lives were left with a never-ending void. Let’s face it you always had that presence about you. I have been doing a lot of reflecting  about past times, where you said a word or did something and it would always bring a smile upon my face.

The other day, our granddaughter did not want to share her dessert with her grandfather. I told her about my story and the lesson I learned all those years ago. Do you remember that? I was ten. I was eating a banana, and you asked me for a bite and I refused. I remember it like it was yesterday. For one week, and by the way,  an eternity for a little kid.  I would ask to share your dessert and you would on purpose not share. I never forgot this lesson!

Isn’t it funny, what we remember?

Love your daughter,

Caridad


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The room was small; you could see out the window that overlooked the alley in between the two tenement buildings.You could see the silver trash cans all lined up ready for garbage day. My uncle’s room vivid in my mind. The walls were plain; the paint was an off white color. Windows had no curtains just the shades.

I was 11 years old; my Uncle Pipo was bedridden by then and unable to walk. He became ill with the meningitis virus at a young age. I always wondered how it all began. When did my uncle stop walking? My uncle never married and had no children of his own. In my heart, I felt he would have been a great Dad.

His hobby was saving empty glass coffee jars and filling them with half-dollars. He preferred only the glass jars with the Maxwell House labels. My grandmother helped by collecting the jars for him. Did I mention that my grandmother and my uncles, Pipo and Manolo lived on the second floor of our building, and we lived on the fifth?

I got a kick out of dropping the half-dollars in the jar. I liked the sound of the coins, perhaps like many kids that grew up in that era. I loved the noise!  I remember feeling the anticipation, and curiously,” How many coins did Uncle Pipo save today?” He listened patiently, as I talked and talked about my day at school.

The third jar was almost complete, and the other jars were stored away in his bureau closet. Memories are so vivid like it happened yesterday. I sometimes reminisce and travel back to that time.

My uncle died that same year from health complications. I don’t recall the details of the funeral or viewing my uncle Pipo in a casket, but I do remember the loud sounds of the coins. It was time valued.

He took the time to listen to my thoughts and childhood dreams. Uncle Pipo was a tender memory, and he will always have a place in my heart.


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Stories of My Father: The Engagement Bracelets


My father often spoke of my grandmother’s engagement bracelets. How my grandfather had proposed, and instead of an engagement ring. My grandma received a set of 24 carat gold engagement bracelets.

My grandmother always wore the bracelets, but when she passed away at age 77, they too disappeared. We never knew who in the family got possession of them. A mystery!

Although my father never went into detail of their courtship, he did mention how much my grandfather loved my grandmother and how well he provided for them until his death in 1950. After his death things changed for my grandmother and her life would never be the same again.

As a child hearing these family stories. You could not help but want to know more. Personally, I always had an ongoing curiosity about my family history. Not too long ago I joined Ancestry.com in hopes of piecing together my family’s missing pieces.

I would love to know how my grandparents met.  How long was their courtship? Did my grandfather go to my grandmother’s father for her hand in marriage? How young were they?  It all remains a mystery to this day. My father never mentioned his grandfather, only his grandmother.


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Stories of My Father


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My father

Every family has a story and for every story, there would be a member that will tell it. Growing up, that person was my dad. We’d gather together, and all eyes would be on him as he told the story. The main character in his stories was his father. During a holiday or a family gathering, it would not matter. It was among the favorite things that I’d look forward to as a kid.

My grandparents

I never met my grandfather; he died before I was born.  My curiosity has always been a huge one. My grandfather was a commercial business owner/ distributor in Ponce, Puerto Rico and my grandmother taught second-grade elementary school.

When they married, my grandmother stopped teaching to raise a family. They had two daughters and three boys. My aunts, uncles and my father. My dad was the youngest child.

My grandfather died at the of age fifty-seven.

My father told many family stories. I cherished every story, and  I hope you will too. Be on the look out for future entries.

My grandfather