Family Stories

POSTS ABOUT FAMILY

My Family May 1966

My Mother’s Sewing Machine: There are shelves in my garage that contain boxes. Boxes of my children’s artwork from their elementary school years. Boxes of old letters. Boxes of books. And, on the bottom shelf is a box that has been taped shut for years…

Part I: A Queens Childhood 101 –  Hands down, the best part about living in Queens was being a kid there. And, yes. I know what you’re thinking. Queens? Why Queens?

I realize it’s not as shi shi as, say, Manhattan’s Upper East Side. But, when you’re a kid who doesn’t know any better, who tends to look on the bright side of just about everything, and who comes from a family that is trying to find its place in a new country, Queens was badass…

The Uptown Express: When I was a kid growing up in Queens, we spent many weekends trekking into the city, and for us, there was only one way to get there:  the New York City subway system…

In Good Company: My mother’s in good company, and by this I mean, she died in good company.  This month marks the anniversary of her passing, as well as  the passing of such notables as Frank Sinatra, Phil Hartman, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, to name but a few…

Mother’s Day, A Double-Edged Sword: For me, Mother’s Day is a double-edged sword, as the joy of celebrating mothers is a bit lost on me.   I see others making plans with their moms, writing, Skyping or ringing them up the old-fashioned way–by phone. I see them taking their mothers out for brunch or dinner, and allowing them the much-needed time to put up their feet for a day and relax…

Spanish Spoken Here:  I entered the New York public school system in 1960, and from the get go, I began my education facing an obstacle, one that I was completely unaware I had. That is, until second grade, when I heard my teacher, Mrs. Green…

A Rose for Miss Callahan: In kindergarten, all we ever did was play, and sing and dance to the tune, “Skip to My Lou.”  We’d also gather around in a circle for story time. For this, I had two teachers: the lovely and serene Miss Callahan, who always wore pretty dresses, pink lipstick and shiny, black pumps; and Miss Diamond, a gray-haired, pointy-nosed spinster with a laugh that crackled, snapped and popped…

Remembering My Father:  Today was my father’s birthday. He would have been 99 years old. In honor of the anniversary of his birth I’m thinking of pineapple upside down cake…

My father, Enrique

Mr. New Year’s Eve:  Before there was “Dick Clark’s Rockin’Eve,” and before there was “New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly,” there was only one man who owned the annual celebration in Times Square:  Mr. Guy Lombardo…

One Christmas, One Gift:  Each of us has moments in our lives that we’d like to recapture. For me, one of those moments was the Christmas I received Shirley…

Me and Mrs. Levine:  When I was 15, I had nowhere to live.  My mother and sister were in Caracas, my father and oldest brother, Cesar, in New York City, and my brother, Rafael, attending college in the Boston area…

Me at 15, in my “Mod” look.

My Mother’s Memory:  The night before my mother, Mary, died, she was packing for an impromptu trip to Caracas to visit her mother. My brother, Cesar, tried to talk her out of it…

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:  Growing up, whenever we traveled to Venezuela, the relatives we visited most were on my mother’s side. She had five sisters and a brother, and collectively she and her siblings had six spouses and 23 kids, which made for robust family get-together’s, lots of dancing, and plenty of tasty, Venezuelan dishes…

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Father Knew Best, Sometimes:  My world in Queens, circa 1960, revolved around my mother. To me, she was the end all. The bee’s knees. The most beautiful mother who was always there for me. My father, on the other hand, was of a different ilk. He wasn’t around much and didn’t go with us on family outings to the city. But that’s probably because he was spending his time downtown, getting an education…

The “Fake” Family Tree:  It was the kind of homework assignment a self-conscious Latina dreaded most. Picture if you will, 1964. LBJ is in the White House. Muhammad Ali beats Sonny Liston and is crowned heavyweight champion of the world. The Beatles make their U.S. debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. And me? I’m in Queens, attending school at P.S. 154, sitting in the second row of Mrs. Warmbran’s third grade class. Oh, and I’m sweating bullets…

My Boardwalk Empire:  “Boardwalk Empire” is a new HBO series, which premieres this Sunday. I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know too much about it except that it’s based on a true story set in Atlantic City, once known as “The World’s Playground.” The buzz around “Boardwalk Empire” is, well, the best kind of buzz a new show could ever want…

2 thoughts on “Family Stories

  1. I cannot wait to dig into these stories. The introductions are rich, and leave me wanting more! Can’t wait to “meet” your mother, and learn more about the “education” that your father received. I’ll comment more when I get into the stories.

    • SomerEmpress, I am deeply touched that you’ve taken the time to go through my older works, read my stories and even comment. It means so much to me, and I’m so glad you’re enjoying learning about my family life.

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