The Prodigal Son Returns…

Daniel, my brother…

came home today!

If only for a few days…. He came back with his wife and their child. He had asked mom if she could care for Beth and the baby for a few months.(MP3)

See he was still working a job on the road and it would be a month or two before they are done. He and the boys travelled a lot and Daniel did not want her to be on the road with a baby. Daniel kissed Beth goodbye and promised to come back so they can start their life together as a family.

Beth moved into my room. My mother helps her setup a crib with a blue mobile of sheep and clouds. The crib, lined with blue sheets and white fluffy pillows, was perfect and seemed almost dream-like. Beth spoke only English and my mom only Spanish.

Beth seemed to feel like an outsider, and spends her days waiting for Daniel to return. She didn’t talk much and pretty much, kept to herself spending most of the day in her room with the baby. Mom tries to communicate with her, but the barrier seems to be more then language.

For a few weeks, mom has stood up late at night, knitting a pair of booties and a hat for the baby. With the hopes that Beth and her can have something in common. Beth was very appreciative of mom’s kindness and started warming up.

Over the weeks they started to understand each other’s circumstances and started to accept one another. They even started communicating through some kind of sign language & Spanglish. Beth even came out and started to spent the evenings in the living room watching TV with us.

All I know is that I have a new sister-in-law, a new nephew, little Daniel, and…

my brother is back!

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Beaver & Wally Live Upstairs

One morning I wake up to the news that we are moving again. We’ve lived in this house for a few years and I was just getting used to the suburban lifestyle of Carteret. How am I going to tell Leo, Karen and Anthony that we can’t be friends anymore? I was just starting to feel rooted and here we go again.

We moved in a hurry to a rented house over in Perth Amboy.

“Just a layover till you finish High School next year,” mom says.

MY parents sold their house on Warren Street and moved on. For some reason though, we left a few things behind. Lots of boxes, my bike, my baseball card collection and my records. Mom called them unnecessary items. Oddly enough, with those unwanted boxes we also left my father behind.

June and boys This new house is nice with lots of windows. The living room has a bay window that looks out, over the lawn, to the tree-lined street.

The window of my room faces out to the side driveway and every morning I see the landlord and her husband leave for work. The backyard is large with lots of trees and an above-ground swimming pool. Every weekend I hear the neighbors laughing and splashing in it. Unfortunately it is off-limits for us.

The neighborhood is urban, but quiet. Too quiet compared to the house on Warren Street. No kids outside playing just lots of cars going by. The road is very wide but doesn’t have too much traffic. Wide enough for two lanes of traffic each way and an isle of parking on each side of the street. It seems like they were expecting this to be a major roadway.

On the second floor, above us, lives the landlord and her family. They are a traditional family and nice neighbors also. The landlord, her husband and two daughters are extremely quiet. The only sound we ever hear from them is the shuffling of the dining room chairs. The deep bass-y sound is backed up by the 6pm chime of their grandfather clock. Almost like a beautiful Aria, I hear the sounds of them sit down together for dinner as a family.

I can only imagine the dad saying “pass me the butter, honey”

and the mother happily doing so with a soft reply “here you go, dear.”

At that moment, almost as if waking me up from a daydream, my mom yells out “turn off the TV and take out the trash!”

I can’t believe it – I’m missing my favorite episode of Leave it to Beaver. This is a rerun and they will never play this episode again!

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My Birthday Surprise

1972 ChevelleToday is my 17th birthday! My brother-in-law, Carlos, surprised me with a new car! Well not really a new car but definitely new to me.

I wasn’t sure how I could afford one & then he just shows up with this car! The excitement fills me! I don’t know what to do except jump into the car & take my first ride.

It is a 1972 Kermit-the-frog green Chevy Chevelle. It has a blue driver side door and the bench seat in the front is tomato red. I don’t care about the colors, it is mine & I love it.

“open up the hood!” Carlos shouts out to me as I park the car. I slide out & open up the hood. It is a clean straight six with a black standard air filter housing. That’s the first thing I am going to change. A nice chrome cover with the exposed air filter.

“You know that if you change those basic rims with some nice chrome ones, the car will look sharp.”

“Oh that is a good idea! I will do that after I get my next paycheck”

– I love this car!

It is all mine and I love it! The car my new wheels and my symbol of freedom. In the morning mom wakes me up “Come on Pablo, wake up so that we can go to the cleaners…”

“Mom, today I am going to sleep in late.” I tell my mom with a great sense of confidence.
“I will be there in the afternoon.”.

As soon as she left, I jumped out of bed & went out to clean the car. I spent the whole morning washing it and polishing it – like if it was brand new!

I drove to work calmly & leisurely. All I want to do is spend time with my car.

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