All posts filed under: class

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I met Padrino in a dream before I met him in person. I dreamt about a man with a horsetail whisk, dancing and waving it around his head. He was dressed in white. I told Costello, my boyfriend, about my dream. “That’s my padrino,” he said. His godfather. He wasn’t just Costello’s padrino; he was his surrogate father. After leaving the City (and Costello) in 1989, returning home to Southern California, crossing the Bay Bridge from Alameda County to San Francisco for a visit with Padrino was thrilling. I loved S.F. Our first stop was Padrino’s flat on 23rd and Guerrero, just west of Mission Street. He was a fixture in the neighborhood. Every day he sat in the window facing Guerrero Street waving at the passersby. We’d usually be lucky enough to park on Guerrero Street and from the window Padrino would get his first glimpse of Alex, his pedacito de oro, piece of gold. In his flat, Cuban food was always cooking: black beans, white rice, yucca, fried plantain, and meat dishes like …

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1984 “I bought a theater for the house,” Manuel beamed. He had been waiting outside the apartment complex to catch Sonia when she pulled in. “What’s that?,” Sonia asked eyeing the huge box Manuel was holding. Manuel started for the door with an impish grin. Once inside he tore open the box and began connecting the contraption to the TV, “it’s a VCR!” They had two kids named after themselves – Manuel Jr and Sonia Veronica. Sonia worked at a cafeteria downtown. Manuel drove a furniture truck. Sometimes he took four year-old Sonia Veronica with him. He never came home late and always helped with the cooking, the cleaning, and the kids. The family was close to leaving their small yet happy, $170-a-month apartment in Huntington Park. They had been saving to buy a house for four years. The neighborhood wasn’t bad, but Baby Jr.’s clothes were always being stolen off of the clothesline. As soon as Manuel finished he realized he had no idea where to find VHS tapes. The young family piled into …

introduction volume 6

Introduction to Volume Six

This Tell Your True Tale volume has its beginnings in a new place. The previous five volumes have all grown from workshops at East LA Library, and the friendly confines of the Chicano Resource Center. But we’ve been wanting to include other libraries in our search for new writers and new stories. So this time we went to the cheerfully named Sunkist Library in the La Puente area. I thank Leticia Napoles, adult services librarian at Sunkist Library, for her hospitality in hosting us over the several weeks that we met. As with previous volumes of true stories, this one is packed with amazing tales. Peggy Adams starts the volume with a tale of the day her sister and brother died decades ago, and the aftermath to that tragic day. Gladys Ruacho narrates a visit to her parent’s native Cuba and what she learned when she went there. Monique Quintero remembers her uncle, who was finding ways of overcoming years of trauma. Trace Richardson tells the story of her departed aunt, a rock of love …