Yaritzel M. Reyes Romero

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INTERVIEW WITH A POLICEWOMAN – MY GRANDMOTHER

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In August 15, 1937, Lolin, as most people call her, was born in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Her parents, Nicolas Peréz Camacho, who died at the age of one-hundred, and Narcisa Pollock, who died at the age of ninety-eight, raised her in Barrios Lomas del Sol in Guaynabo with her other twelve siblings. Including Lolin, there were seven girls, and six boys, making her number six in the birth order. Currently, all her sisters are still alive, but only two of her brothers.

I called my grandmother, María Dolores Peréz Pollock, on the phone one day so I could learn more about her life as a policewoman. She was surprised that I was going to write about her. She had never imagined it.

“Grandma, how was your childhood?” I asked her.

“Well, I never had the fun you had in yours because of my father. He was a very strict and proud man. He didn’t let us look at the neighbors or even go out, but I could still play with my dolls. I loved them, and also I liked to jump the jump rope all the time,” she said with a tone that made me think that she was smiling on the other end of the phone.

“Oh, and apart from the jump rope and the dolls, what else did you do to feel satisfied?”

“I felt very satisfied when I went to the Catechism; when I spent time with my school friends and family; and also when I tried to act as a teacher to the littler kids in school. In addition to that, I became one of the Daughters of Maria, a missionary group dedicated to help the poor and needy,” she added proudly.

“And, what about the music, television or other hobbies? Do you have any favorites?” I asked her very interested..

“Well, I love the old music because the stuff you kids listen to these days is weird. But apart from that, I always wished to play an instrument and I didn’t care which one. I liked them all, the piano, the guitar, the cuatro or any other but I never had a chance to learn. As far as television, you already know that I like the soap operas, Cantinflas and La India. Also, I like to read newspapers, books, magazines, Christian reading and obviously the Bible,” she replied with laughter that soon faded.

“Cool!” I expressed, “Any favorite animal?”

“Ha-ha, all of them! But only if they don’t come close to me. But I prefer birds,” she finally said laughing very hard.

“Ha-ha, so true. I knew that!” I join her with a laugh, “But where did you study?”

“Ok, first I went to Mariano Abril School in Guaynabo until middle school. Then I went to José Celso Barbosa Community School in San Juan and later I went to República de Colombia School in Río Piedras where I took commerce classes until I graduated and went directly to the Police Academy to work,” she said.

“I thought that I was the only one who went to a lot of schools. Ha-ha. Anyway, tell me more about the Police Academy,” I added.

“Well, what can I say? The Police Academy was founded on August 7, 1903, because of the General Order #116, which recruited nine men to be trained as police instructors so they could teach in other academies in Puerto Rico. Then in 1936, the Academy started to offer courses in Continuing Education. In December 1997, the supervisor of the Police Academy converted it to the CUJC, Colegio Universitario de Justicia Criminal of Puerto Rico. Finally, in 1999 the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools approved the license of the CUJC making it an independent institution,” she said.

“Wow, thanks a lot Grandma! I will call you later, take care,” I finally added.

“No problem Yari, God bless you and thanks for asking,” she finally said and hung up.

With that, I knew enough about my grandmother’s life to fill in the blanks.

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She lived in Condado Moderno in Caguas when she started to work at the Police Academy of Gurabo as a secretary on the Operations Campus. She passed all the academy processes and finished taking instructions from all the four different academies. She was sworn as a police officer in 1969. After the work the Association of Police Members did to end discrimination against female officers, she was promoted to First Lieutenant.

She worked for twenty-two years in the Division of Sexual Crimes and Young Help where she earned a reputation as an excellent officer. She worked too at the CIC as an agent and gave orientations about laws, sex, and drugs in different schools. She worked on various special investigations in sex crimes, teenage violence, school dropouts and family issues.

Outside of her career as a police officer, she was a great community leader. She participated in every charitable activity in the community especially for Muscular Dystrophy and the Athletic Police League.

While she was building her career, she married and divorced, Bernardo Reyes Guadalupe. They had three children, Bernardo (my father,) Oscar and Orlando. She raised the boys on her own. She was strict with them, but not like her father had been with her and her siblings. She was attentive to their needs. She frequently visited their schools and kept in touch with their teachers to insure they behaved well and received a good education. The boys remained close to their mother, and were always obedient and successful in school.

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There are times she asks herself how different it could have been if she had studied to become a Social worker, a vocation that her father disapproved of. Also she would love to travel more, but is afraid of airplanes. But that’s not so important as she still prefers to travel around her country, the island of Puerto Rico.

Now, she spends most of her time helping poor people and comforting those who need it. She also told me that when she was little, she never had big dreams but she wished to live her life peacefully, have a good marriage and a stable family. She never remarried, but there is no lack of love in her life from the people who God send to her.

I wanted to know more about my grandmother, because she lived her life facing up to a lot of obstacles, from a little girl to adulthood. I am very proud of her, policewoman, community leader and volunteer, good neighbor, mother, my grandmother.

 

7 Comments

  1. I really like the interview that you make to your grandmother. My grandfather was born in arecibo. He was the oldest of 10 brothers and sister. Different from his brothers, he always knew that he was going to study and make himself a profesor. He everyday walked 2 miles just to get to his school, and then in the university, he took public transportation. He tells me that he never had the chance to do any sports, listen to music, and to tell you the truht, I dont thinks he had much fun. He always was worried about his studys. Now in day, he is the “rector in the university of cupey, la UMET’. He has been very succesfull during his life.

    • Wow, that’s very nice. The payment of a good effort is always a great feeling. Good to know how your grandfather is. 🙂

  2. Muy bonito. Hasta escritora, un beso y un abrazo.

    • 🙂

  3. Like my brother said, a fighting woman, thats my mom.She was a mother and a father, all in one, persons like her born every 100 years, and my God gave me the opportunity to be her little son, no matter how age I have, I will be her little son. She teach me to be an honest man, who is God,why I need to work day by day and her lemma: If you don’t share with the needy persons, you are lost your time in the world. Thanks mom for everything, I can’t let out nothing because you are all.Thanks God for made a great person, a piece of art, she is no perfect but she try to please to you.

  4. This is a resume of a fighting woman life..…to publish this history provoked a important impact on our family and who’s have the privilege to know her…this is the best way to recognize her life….only I can say “Thank you”… to be part of her life to permit to others know about her….

    God bless you,

    Bernardo Reyes
    Her son

  5. En verdad es un compendio de la vida de una mujer luchadora de toda la vida…el publicar esta historia ha marcado una hueya importante en la familia y los que han tenido el privilegio de conocerla…..ha sido la forma mas correcta de hacerle honor a quien honor merece….solo le puedo decir GRACIAS por ser parte de su historia al permitir que otros la conoscan….

    Dios le bendiga……

    Bernardo Reyes
    hijo mayor

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