Friday, March 04, 2005

Felicidades Manga

No I am not congratulating my sleeve on anything. When I was a little bilingual baby I could never say the word grandma. So I would call out , " Manga!". My maternal grandmother took care of my sister and I often when my parents were going through their separation and divorce. When my mother tried to kill herself my abuelita took care of us. I remember riding in her shopping cart through Jamaica, Queens and her treating me to a whole box of Andes chocolates. She would let me stay up late and watch wrestling with my grandfather then we would watch Walter Mercado, Iris Chacon interrupted only by commercials by Mirta de Perales and her fabulous shampoos ( I remember the yellow shampoo with the green lettering on the bottle). For breakfast all cereals were called corn flakes. Lunch was always hot dogs or pizza.

It was only when I became a teenager that I realized what a fresca my abuelita was. She curses all the time. Says that of she could do it again she would have never gotten married, she would have had lots of lovers instead. She uses the word chocha like no one's business and when my grandfather became very sick she loved him and took care of him but would also scream at him " Carajo!!". When someone speaks to her in English she just smiles demurely and acts like she has no idea what they saying then she will proceed to tell you word for word what they said.

Her tiny apartment has always been a safe haven for her grandchildren in times of need. As I write this she has a cousin of mine who lost her apartment staying with her. I may not always agree with the extent of her generosity but I respect it.

Today my abuelita turns 93 years old. Recently after not cooking for weeks because of her bad arthritis that keeps in her bed most of the time (the only thing wrong with her), she's begin cooking again.

Abuelita eres un inspiracion.


Blogger RHD said...

What a gift a grandmother like that is. I had a grandma who looked out for us when times were hard, but she was never a fresca around us. It's only as I've grown up I've heard the stories from when she was around La Mapucherican's age, and then, whoo girl, she was something else!

May you and your abuela have many, many, many more happy birthdays together.

3/04/2005 11:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grandmas are the best!! Mine wasn't una fresca either but she always had a way about her, like all grandmas do! I hope you have many many more special times w/her!!

3/04/2005 01:07:00 PM  
Anonymous mirta said...

What a wonderful thing it was (when I read your writing) to remember my "abuela" she too took care of me, my brother and my three cousins. Our mothers where divorced and worked all the time. My mother travel much of the time trying to establish her business which you so kindly referred to, Mirta de Perales. I am honored that our products play a part in your wonderful memories. Please, wish your grandmother a very happy birthday from my mother and I.

3/14/2005 06:38:00 PM  

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