Xiomara Mendez Torres

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Luisa & Funador


It was a typical day in San Sebastian.  Fundador had gotten up at 5:00 a.m. to open his little store in Pueblo Nuevo where every day he sold rice, bacalao, beans, candy and the children’s favorite, limber.  It was raining and he could see the people walking barefoot through the muddy streets holding their ten-cent shoes in their hands, so they wouldn’t get dirty.  Everybody had lots of children and Fundador and Luisa weren’t the exception. They had eight children, which was an average number of kids for families those days.

By 1962, all of Luisa’s and Fundador’s kids had grown up and had children of their own.  But two of their daughters, Cecilia and Ana Luisa (my grandmother), had left Luisa to care for their kids, four from each daughter.  One was my father, David.

All the kids grew up running around the streets of Pueblo Nuevo, a really poor neighborhood in San Sebastian.  My father remembers when his grandmother would tell him not to cry and that his mother would come back soon. She gave him coffee to calm his tears. David says she was a really good grandmother and that she always looked after them as much as she could. But there were too many and she was a too old.

My father remembers his abuelita calling them to come inside where she would be sofriendo tocino making chicharones.  My father laughed when he told me he would steal a sample, but she would catch him and hit him with el cucharon on the head.  Later with the leftover oil from the tocino she prepared rice.  My father loved her the chicharones, especially since they were all there was to eat for the entire day.

Abuelita kept the water in a tina that was made of barro. It was covered with a sheet of zinc so that the water would remain fresh.  They had an empty bean can with a clavo that was used to dip the water out of the tina and pour it in another can.  Kids were forbidden to drink directly from the first can.  My father remembers that one time his cousin, Esteban, drank water from it and Abuelita saw him and gave him a cacharazo.  David says, “Abuela era la que repartia el bacalao,” as if she were the only one who hit them whenever they did something wrong.

David’s grandfather, Funador, the family describes as a tacaño, which means a person who is selfish and doesn’t like to share, even with his own family.

My father grew up on the streets but with the help of his grandmother, he survived. That’s why he considers his grandmother to be his mother, though he doesn’t hate his own mother for her abandonment.  Instead, he visits her frequently and tries to help her however he can.

I don’t know what have I had done if I had passed through all of the things my father has.  But I am really thankful for all my father has done for me.  He has always supported me in every step I have taken and that is something I will never forget.  I am glad he didn’t end up like his mother and admire him for being a good father despite all he has had to overcome.




  1. I enjoy a lot this history because remember me the histories that my grandfather tell me. He haved a grocery store too and how all the peoplein the neighboor go to him store to buy all the stuff that they need. Afte read this history I transport to my childhood to remember the time that I pass with my grandfather talking about their childhood.

  2. Wow what a great and inspirational story. It touched my heart. Your father is a great man, because he still cares about his mother, even though she did not care about him. You should admire him and be thankful for everything that he did for you. Good job, keep it up!

  3. Another story that touches my heart. I like hearing and reading things like this about how was the young life of the ederly people today. I dont know if it is just me, but sometimes it even sound like fun. Your father is a man of great heart. Not just because he does not hate her mother afther the abandonment but because he helps her in every way he can. And from the entire writhing the first paragraph is my favorite

  4. Women like Luisa in those ages were like super moms or something because I don’t know how they can raise so many children, but is something that we should admire. Your story has a sad side because being abandoned by a mother is something that causes a lot of pain to their children. I have to mention that I think your dad is a strong man and a great one because of the things he had to go through; he didn’t hate her like you said and also he helps her.

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