Donn Feliú Lajara

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Papá Vale & Mamá Leja

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 groceries.  When we crossed the street, she used to grab your arms hard. You complained to me about it,” said my mother with a smile on her face and watery eyes as she remembered her grandmother.

She described her as a charming, caring and optimistic lady. We used to visit her frequently, her house only five minutes away. I still remember the smell of bleach in every room of her spotless house.

My great-grandparents were always active and moving which kept them healthy, but now they are gone, resting in peace in a Guánica graveyard. They are buried together, in different coffins but in the same crypt.  Not even death could keep them apart.

In the first picture, my great-grandparents sit in their son’s new car, a 1995 Nissan Sentra. They were very happy for their son as they see how much he has grown professionally and economically. Cesareo Lajara, my grandfather, still keeps the car in really good condition. He doesn’t talk much about his parents though as it brings sad memories.

My grandfather, Cesareo Lajara López, married Maria Suárez with whom he had a son whose name is also Cesar Lajara Suárez and a daughter, Maritza Lajara Suárez, who is also my mother. As I said before, my great-grandparents raised my mother and her brother. They all lived as neighbors with houses so close they could shake hands from their windows.

“My dad didn’t play much of a father role in our life,” said my mom as she stared at the picture of her older brother.

My grandfather, Cesaro divorced María to marry Ivette Feliciano. She accepted us as her own, while María left to make a life of her own in the northern region of Puerto Rico. Ivette is passionate about television. She watches mystery movies and old cartoons like the Flintstones. She is also very lovely, respectful and happy. She creates an environment of joy when she throws parties with her tasty and satisfying food that leaves a tongue tingling sensation.

On a Christmas day this picture of us was taken for my grandfather. They always liked to see us all together especially

Together at Christmas

my brother who’s on the left side. He was the prankster of the family as you can see in the picture. I’m the one in the middle. I was very happy that day. I enjoy when people take pictures of me with my brothers.

One of the most special people in my life, the one who has told me the stories of her childhood and raised me to be a person of good morals and values is my mother, Maritza Lajara Suárez. When she was a child, she loved to fish with her grandfather, aunts and uncles at the coasts of Guanica at Ballena beach. She also remembers enjoying helping her grandmother hang the clothes in the midday sun to dry even though it was a lot of work. She liked to go to school parties with her brother, friends and cousins. She was a young-spirited woman, always dressed fashionably.

“But the best time of my life was the day I became a mother of three loving children. My three beautiful sons who have grown to be men and make me proud,” she says looking into my eyes with a smile.

 

Here I am, in this picture with my mother when I had my first birthday! I guess the

Me and my mom

Ninja Turtles were the rage that year. What I like so much about this picture is the great hairdo my mom and I have, late 80’s and early 90’s. This was taken in an apartment in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1991 to send to my grandparents in Puerto Rico.

 At last there were three, starting from my big brother Cesar Feliu Lajara. He is very friendly, caring and at a very young age he had to take the role of man of the house. My dad left the family when we were young, so without a father figure; he helped Mom take care of us. His looks are very deceiving. Some might think he’s somewhat scary but he has a heart of gold and is always putting others first.

My second brother is Francis Lajara. I am not sure why he does not carry my father’s name, and I don’t ask. He’s very mischievous, making pranks and jokes almost in the worst situations, for example in court or church. When it comes to food he can be very selfish, almost never shares, specially cookies and candies. He’s very funny and out of control most of the time and mainly the life of the party.

Self Portrait

Last but not least it’s me, Donn Feliu Lajara. I am the youngest of my family and the only one who has gone to college. I’m a very creative person, I like to draw, sing and paint but most of the time I like to spend it with my family. They are the most important part of me. They have always been supportive, understanding and humbly caring.

Three brothers at Easter - 1996

 Left is an intriguing picture.  You can see the different personalities clearly and how we express it through our body. This picture was taken on an Easter day in 1996 at La Parguera, Lajas.

 

2 Comments

  1. Omg how lovely…. i miss our middle school days…. Goof job Donn.. 🙂

  2. Really enjoyed it! Keep writing sky is the limit!

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