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Blessed Anyway

Fathers name: Dad

Mothers name: Mom

Country of Birth:

United States

Year of birth: 1964

Places of Residence:


Brothers/sisters: Loren, Mark, Di

Studies: High School

Profession: Various

Early Childhood - La Puente

I thought our family was normal. There was mom, dad, my brothers & sisters and Cary. A Cuban lady who looked after us.

Dad always worked very hard. Long hours and every day it seemed. He would come home dirty but always happy to see us and always happy to be home. I'd sit on the porch playing barbies and when he'd pull up in his black, low rider Impala I would run to greet him and jump into his arms for a great big hug. At night we'd all sit in the den and watch TV. I would sit on daddy's lap in the recliner and at some point, after dinner we'd all enjoy desert. Daddy would tease us, play with us and never yelled or scolded. He was perfect as far as I could tell.

Mom also worked alot and and when she was home she'd be tending to laundry or cleaning or talking with Cary. Mom was more serious then daddy, but she had to be. She was the rule maker and the disciplinarian. If someone needed to answer for something, we'd answer to mom. Mom is under 5 feet tall, but she was as intimidating as a six foot, muscle bound fighter would be. She didn't have Cary to lean on with my older brother and sister, so their experience growing up was different then mine. Mom and me had a different relationship, and I had no complaints.

Loren, the oldest of us kids was also our caretaker. She would cook dinner, watch us after school and she was exceptionally smart. Six years my senior meant we didn't have alot in common, and her view of our family was so different then mine sometimes I didn't understand her at all. I don't remember her ever really being into boys, or going to dances - I remember when she got her first job, and her first car, and then when she went off to college. I remember sometimes after she had gotten in trouble with mom she would want us to all go to someone to tell them mom was abusing us. I wouldn't do it, I said it wasn't true. That made her mad - she said without me going along with it it wouldnt work. And I couldnt do that to my mom. I guess I didn't realize what she was going thru because I hadn't gone thru it like her and mark did.

Mark was 2.5 years older then me and we were much closer then Laura and me. However, Laura and Mark had the common bond of the experience before me. They'd fight sometimes, but not often. When they did, Laura would just play dead on the floor for what seemed like hours. Looking back it is kind of funny - but I'm sure I was just young and she may not think it was funny. Anyway as long as I can remember my brother would ALWAYS look out for me. Stick up for me and even fight if he had to. He even fought a girl for me when I was in 3rd grade because I was afraid to and she wanted to fight. Mark was always small for his age and people would underestimate his courage and his ability to kick their ass. He wouldn't take shit from anyone besides my mom. I remember one morning I tattled on him for something, and he said I was gonna get it on the way to school. (we would walk together every morning). That morning I ran all the way to school and went straight to the teacher watching everyone on the play ground to be safe - but when he got to school, he went straight up to me, in front of the teacher and socked me. Not hard, but he had to follow through. He was put on the wall that morning til the bell ring and that was the end of that.

The last one born in to our tribe was Di. 10 years after Loren, 8 or so after mark and 6 behind me. Daddy would call her poopie. She was feisty and head strong and kind of tom boyish. She was afraid of my dad at first, but that wore off in time. As we grew up she idolized me, but that came later.

Cary - the loving Cuban lady who absolutely adored me came into our lives when I was just home from the hospital three weeks old. She moved in and lived with us immediately and stayed until I turned 13. She would take me to May Company (now Robinsons-May) every weekend with her on the RTD. (now Metro) She'd buy me clothes and spoil me rotten. She also would put my hair in ringlets, make me learn to read and write spanish as well as I spoke it. (Because she was with me from 3 weeks old as my main caretaker I learned spanish before english)

As a family, we would go to church every Sunday. All of us. Us kids would go to church camp every summer and we loved it. I think I got home sick but my brother was with me so I made it through ok. He came and got me from the nurses office because I was there wanting to go home at first.

After church on Sundays, we'd go to Grandma and Grandpas house (daddys parents) for dinner and to spend the afternoon. I remember the prayer said before dinner every sunday, and my grandmas strong belief in the Catholic Church. She also loved to write poetry, and wrote a poem about each of her granchildren. My Aunt and Uncle and their 6 kids lived next door and we made memories I shall never forget. I learned to play cards with the adults, cribbage, password...none of my cousins were in my age range so I didn't play like Mark and Loren did with the cousins. In fact, Loren used to call me a tagalong when I tried to hang out with her and Maryellen. My older cousins, Terry and Angie were teenagers and I liked them alot - but they were out with boys or busy doing other things usually. So I had fun with a little bit of everyone. I sure miss those days.

We didn't see my moms parents as often as we did my dads - but they were equally cool in their own ways. My grandfather Rory was the first Mexican on the city council, he was a smart man and had a dry sense of humor that fit him well. Grandma LuLu was not the typical grandma, but also very special. She was the life of the party. She loved to entertain and would host big parties and holidays and my moms siblings weren't that much older then us, and I looked up to them too.

We had a large family and we were all close enough to be close. Whatever issues each family may have had - were not visible to me.

So these were the days of La Puente, and in my mind - happy times.

End chapter 1