1.09 – Las Hebras

Grexarie Torres Caraballo

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SPANIARD, TAíNO AND AFRICAN; THE PERFECT MIX FOR A PUERTO RICAN – “That photo was passed on to me when your grandfather Domingo died,” said my grandmother Palmira, while sitting in her wheelchair. “She was his mother, Ovidia Correa. I believe that it was taken sometime after she was married. There is not much I can tell you about her. I was nine when I first saw her and never had much interest in her past. I can only tell you the little I know from your grandfather and what I saw.” “It’s ok grandma. Anything you tell me is all right,” I responded, eager to hear a story that upon her death, would be lost if I did not listen. “Ok, well this is what I know…”  I. Ovidia Correa “Ovidia died at the age of eighty, almost forty years ago, so she was born...

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Omar A. Santiago Báez

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JUST MAYBE, SHE WAS RIGHT – I don’t even know the woman in the photo. She died eleven years before I was born.  I always joke to people that my mother is too strict and that she mistreats me. But if I say that in front of my grandmother, aunts or uncles, they’d tell that my mother doesn’t even come close to my great-grandmother Ramona Pérez Rodríguez; mother of Ramón Luis, José Antonio and Gloria María; grandmother of Myrna, Ramón Luis, Jr., Sonia, José Antonio, Jr., Nelson, Tania, Raúl, Glorimel, Ismael, Jr., Luz de Lourdes, Miriam, Gloria Ivette, Nilsa Waleska, and Bianey. And I will not mention the great-grandchildren (like me) because it’s almost an infinite list. My grandmother is Gloria María who is the mother of the last seven grandchildren...

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Mario E. Rodríguez

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GONE WITH THE WIND – I can’t imagine my life without my mother. Without her, probably I wouldn’t be here, in front of this computer writing this down now. She has been there for me since the very first day of my existence, loving me, looking after for me, taking care of me and if I continue talking about her, I won’t stop. Enough talking about my mother. Let me now tell you about the real purpose of this, my grandmother. When Olga María León was one-years-old, she and her little brother, Tío Papún, were abandoned by their mother. It was an act of cruelty to its maximum, a betrayal in full bloom. Abuela Olga’s aunt and uncle found them alone in their house, with a note from their mother directing them to take care of her children. She didn’t give any...

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Donn Feliú Lajara

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  FOUR GENERATIONS – “Your great grandparents were complete opposites, but love united them at all times,” said my mother as we were looking at some old pictures. She started with a simple story of how my great-grandfather, Papá Vale as she called him, chased her down the road with a belt or a stick if she arrived late at night to the house. “He was stubborn, strict and always claiming respect, but he loved us all the same,” she said sadly. She also described my great-grandparents’ marriage as humble. They raised a total of thirteen children. Five of them were their natural born children and the other eight were grandchildren. “Mamá Leja always took care of us and I remember when we used to go downtown to the Plaza del Mercado at Yauco to buy...

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Fiorelys Mendoza

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THE ONLY PORTRAIT – “This is the only picture I have from my teenage years,” says my sixty-two-year-old grandma, “It was taken when I was fifteen.”  Reminiscing about her past, she nervously looks at the picture, her picture, taken a long time ago. Abuela Floren was raised in El Maní, a neighborhood in Mayagüez. She was the eldest of nine other siblings. “We were very poor.  There was never enough food to eat. Our bed sheets were some hard, coarse, brown, potato sacks sewn together.  My mom had post-partum depression when my youngest sister was born and she would disappear from time to time, so I had to take care of my father and everyone else.” Grandma’s childhood was not an easy one.  Since she was a toddler, grandma had awakened at four every morning to...

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Reinaldo Manuel Delíz Lugo

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THE WHEEL – One Sunday evening my family decided to have dinner at my aunt’s house. At the time, I was young, extremely curious and restless. While we were waiting for her to serve the food, I explored the house to calm myself. There was nothing outstanding about the place, but at the end of the hall, there were a series of old pictures, every one of them of different family members posing in front of an old wagon wheel. When we sat down to eat, I asked my aunt why there were so many pictures with that one particular detail. She chuckled, telling me the story of how my great-grandfather had picked that wheel up off the street one day and painted it. He had no idea what he was going to do with it at first, but the choice was soon clearly made for him because...

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