I really hate talking about myself but for posterity’s sake I wanted to have something that would reflect the person that I am, where I’ve come from and where I’m going as a result. As I’ve alluded to before, we’re all a product of our experiences good or bad but ultimately everything comes down to choice.
I was born in New York and specifically, the Bronx. I still remember the address my parent’s brought me home to. It was 700 Oakland Place. Just for kicks I searched for it on Google Maps.
The only thing I remember from living there was how my mom got me off the bottle (isn’t that strange that I would remember that?). She put hot spice on it. Maybe that’s why I remember it.
Anyway, we moved from there to 3232 Seymour Avenue still in the Bronx.
My best friend at the time was Lee Clark. Funny kid. Always happy. Hope he still is. The next door neighbor’s dog was named Blackie. I remember that because every time I’d leave the house that stupid dog would chase me down. He never could catch me. I thought those people were evil for leaving that dog out all the time. Aside from that, this is pretty much where my life started changing but before I go into all that let me just say right off the bat that I do love my parents very much. I’ve spent too much of my life trying to figure out why things happened the way they did but that’s not done anyone any good.
I was six at the time and my father came home and my parents got into an argument. Somehow Mom ended up underneath the dining room table with a ton of broken glass surrounding her. I remember asking my dad, “Is she dead?” “No,” he answered. “She’s sleeping.”
He walked me into the living room but being curious about what had actually happened I didn’t stay there very long. My mom had already gotten up and closed the door behind her in my room. When I tried to go in there, she slammed the door on my toe and smashed it. To this day, I’m not sure of exactly what started that altercation on that day but I have moved passed it and the times my mom threatened to put my hand on a hot burner if I misbehaved.
I don’t want to paint my parents as being evil because there were some good moments. My father used to take me to the city to see the sites. I remember standing at the foot of the Twin Towers and looking straight up the wall and getting dizzy. He also took me to the Statue of Liberty and I remember getting obscenely tired from the spiral staircase on the way to the top.
My dad was the first person to introduce me to karate. I wish he had kept it up because he never made it passed white belt. I just got my 2nd degree black last September.
My mom was also very affectionate which was passed on to me. It drives my daughter nuts. She’ll come to appreciate it later.My father now suffers from Alzheimer’s which is a dreadful and torturous disease. I pray for him all the time and love him very much. It was a different time and they didn’t see things the same way as we do now. It’s not that I condone their behavior, I just forgive them for it and have moved on. There’s a lesson there as well since there is no way that I would ever put my daughter through anything of the sort.
When I was seven years old, my parents divorced. My mom decided to move us to Puerto Rico and by us I mean my two sisters and I.
I didn’t speak a lick of Spanish at the time so I had to learn it the hard way. One day I was out in the schoolyard and a kid told me to yell a certain word in Spanish. The teacher who caught me showed mercy. It was the other kid who got into trouble. My dad soon followed us there but not before he remarried. We found out after the wedding.
Things didn’t get any better between my parents. My Uncle Frank and Aunt Patti always took us over to their house. It was there that I was able to experience a functional family. They loved me very much and still do.
We lived there for three years before my mom decided to move us again. This time it was Florida. Ah, the life of a nomad.
I’ll share more about where I’ve been at a later date. I don’t want this to end on a depressing note because there’s a very happy ending and that’s all that matters.
Leonardo Ramirez is an author of prose fiction (YA), graphic novels, and children’s books.