Posts Tagged ‘childhood stories’

This is the rest of the story referred to in Catching Fire. Part 1 can be found here if you have not yet read it.


        I remember one time when we were all home except my Dad. My Mom was making dinner. Her hands were all full of dough from the tortillas she was making. There was a knock at the front door. My brother, Carlos went to open it. We all went with him but we let him open it because he was older than the rest of us.

        There was a man there. He said, “Is your mother here?” He had a suitcase. He was probably selling something. My brother told him my mother was busy. “Well could you go get her anyway? Tell her it’s Jessie.”

        Carlos closed the door and went to the kitchen. “It’s some man with a suitcase. I told him you were busy but he won’t go away. He said to go get you anyway. He said his name is Jessie.” My mother was kinda mad because she had to shut the stove off and go wash her hands.  She walked to the front door, drying here hands and we all followed her again–all seven of us. She dried her hands as she walked. She opened the door and screamed. She started laughing and hugging and kissing the man. We all looked at each other.

        “Carlos, help him in. Get the suitcase,” my mother told him. She was crying but she didn’t look sad. We all just looked at them. Carlos picked up the suitcase and brought it in.

        “Just a minute. Let me go tell the Taxi to go. I wasn’t sure if it was okay so I asked him to wait.” The man turned around and went down the stairs. We noticed the Taxi. That was neat. No one had ever come to our house on a Taxi before. We still didn’t know who he was or what he was selling. “Mammi, who is that man? Are you going to buy us something?” my little sister Irene asked.

        “It’s your Uncle Jessie. My baby brother. He came to stay with us for a while. He came all the way from Texas.” My mom laughed as she wiped tears from her eyes. She looked at us and started to clean our faces and fix our hair.

        The man came back and he had another suitcase with him. This suitcase was bigger than the other one. I guessed he was going to stay for a long time. My Mom told him all of our names. He smiled at all of us. He shook hands with my brothers and hugged and tried to kiss us girls. Then we all went inside. We sat in the kitchen while Uncle Jessie talked to my Mom and she cooked dinner while he talked.

        Uncle Jessie stayed with us. After a couple of weeks, the people in the apartment moved out. My mom and dad let my Uncle Jessie live in the little room behind the kitchen of the apartment. When the next people moved in, they rented all of it except the cuartito where my Uncle Jessie lived. He didn’t need a kitchen or a bathroom because he used ours.

        We liked Uncle Jessie. He used to come over to iron his clothes. He would stand there ironing and listening to the radio and singing. I liked the music that the radio played when he listened. It was in English and it sounded different from the Spanish music my parents used to listen to. He used to stop ironing and take us girls by the hand and dance with us. We had fun. On the weekends when my mom and dad listened to their Mexican music, Uncle Jessie would try to teach us how to dance. We used to stand on his feet and hang onto his hands. It was fun but sometimes we would fall off of his feet.

        One day, when it was almost Christmas, my Mom made a cake. She said it was Uncle Jessie’s birthday and we were going to have a party for him. That night we all sang Happy Birthday to Uncle Jessie. When we got to the part about ‘how old are you…how old are you…” Uncle Jessie said, “Uhh…21.” We all laughed. He blew out the candles and we ate the cake.

        Then one day Uncle Jessie got his suitcases and we took him to the bus station. He said he would be back. My mom cried. We were all sad when he left. Texas was real far away. It would take him three days to get there on the bus.

        After a long time, Uncle Jessie came back but he wasn’t alone. He had a lady with him. Her name was Letty. Uncle Jessie said she was his wife. She looked nice. She was pretty and had short black hair. They moved into the cuartito where Uncle Jessie had lived before.

        It was nice to have Uncle Jessie back but it was different. He didn’t come over unless Letty came with him. They only came over when it was time to eat or at night when we were in bed and only my parents were up. Uncle Jessie didn’t belong to us anymore. Most of the time, they stayed in their room laughing and resting. They rested a lot. It seems like they were always telling us to go away because they were going to rest.

        Sometimes Uncle Jessie and Letty would fight. Uncle Jessie would get mad and yell at her and she would throw things at him. He would slam the door and come visit us. We liked it when they fought but my mom didn’t. She used to cry when they would fight.

        One day Letty left with her suitcases. Uncle Jessie took here to the Bus station. My mom said she wouldn’t be coming back. They were going to get a divorce. We never saw Letty after that but it was okay because after awhile, Uncle Jessie wasn’t sad anymore and it was fun to have him coming over more often and singing and dancing with us again.

        One time a lady named Elva moved in. Her husband was never home. Sometimes he would come to see her because she was going to have a baby. One day when he came to visit, we heard them fighting. Elva told him to go away and not to come back because she didn’t want any borrachos around her baby. We heard him hit her and she was crying. He kept on hitting her more and more. It made us sad because we thought of all the times our Dad hit our Mom and made her cry. Elva’s husband beat her up real bad and the firemen came and then the ambulance. By the time the police got there, no one knew where her husband had gone. There were a lot of people in our front yard. They were all whispering and one lady kept calling my father names and yelling at him because she thought my mother was the one in the ambulance.

        When Elva came back home from the hospital, she was skinny again. She got her things and when she was leaving we asked her if she would bring the baby to see us. She touched my cheek and she cried then she went away and my mother told us Elva didn’t have a baby.

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