Monday, July 09, 2012

Tales From The Motherland, Part 2

In Los Mina missing Grandma
When I was little, I remember combing through Papi's record collection in awe. He had so much vinyl; artists and bands I'd never heard of but were clearly his favorites. Soon, a lot of them became my favorite, too, because every Friday, after a long, hard week of working at an envelope factory in Union City, New Jersey, Papi would play his records on full blast while polishing off at least a dozen tiny cans of Budweiser. No one said shit to him about it, either. This was his well-deserved down time.

When I visited him in April I was saddened to learn the fate of all those records. I spotted them, stacked (GASP!) in a corner of a shed in the back of the house, moldy, dusty and falling apart. If Papi hadn't been nearby replacing the gas tank on the house I would have sat there and cried. These records were such a part of my childhood and now they were gone.

The albums were pretty much indicative of the house, too. First time I'd ever seen it was when Grandma died, and it was your typical little Dominican "city" house, complete with full bars all around the property to keep thugs out, but it looked like home because it had all of my grandmother's furniture from NY in it. Even though we'd just come from her funeral it was as if she were going to walk into the room any minute to say dinner was ready; we were sitting on her sofa, where we usually waited for dinner, after all. The entertainment center was the same; our bunkbeds were in the third bedroom; Grandma's pots were on the stove.

This time around, I barely recognized the place. It was falling apart from water damage and it just had that "I don't want to touch or sit on anything" feel to it. I took into account that Papi lives there with his brother; two single men, who are used to women doing all the housework, could really give two shits about moping the floors. However it upset me to see the house this way and that this is where my Papi lives. And then the records...that was the last straw. All of it screamed: GRANDMA IS NO LONGER HERE.

And if I didn't know it before, surely I could no longer deny it when face-to-face with Papi's old records, stacked (GASP!) in a corner of a shed in the back of the house, moldy, dusty and falling apart.

*smooches...mourning all over again*
also, I need my successful writing career to arrive sooner rather than later because I'll be damned if I can't help my Papi live better, after all he's done for me!