My mom’s an excellent story teller. She may embellish a bit (sound familiar?), but she has a way of drawing you in, making you laugh and making you beg for more tales of her “little life.”
I thought of one of those stories last week while having $1 beers with Sean. We shared stories of immigrant parents and their peculiar way of dealing with childhood injuries. It just didn’t match up with what the sitcoms depicted.
Luz (my mom, far left in the photo) was 11 or 12 at the time*. The family was living in Lincoln Heights at the time. For the most part, Luz was a good kid, but she was mischievous. She also liked apricots. One afternoon, Luz was walking around the neighborhood with a friend when she noticed ripe apricots hanging from a neighbor’s tree. She asked her friend to keep an eye out for cops while she climbed up the chain link fence to be able to reach the tree. As she was about to grab an apricot, Luz’s friend called out, “hurry up, someone’s coming!” Luz lost her footing and slipped. As she slipped the point part of the fence scratched against her thigh leaving a large, bloody gash. Obviously, she was hurt.
Luz went home and found her older sister, Socorro (quite the fitting name, since it means “help”; standing, second to the left in the photo). She desperately needed Socorro’s help to clean and bandage the cut, and hide it from Mamá Toni. If Mamá Toni found out, she’d be angry that Luz had (a) gone out with a friend when she was supposed to be at home doing chores and (b) tried to steal fruit from a neighbor’s tree. The painful gash on her leg was the least of her worries.
Luckily, Socorro was studying to be a nurse and came through. She cleaned up Luz’s cut and bandaged her up.
Mamá Toni never found out.
Sean and I agreed that in a sitcom, the white middle class kids would never be scared to go to a parent after an injury. Sure, Bobby Brady would learn a lesson, but he didn’t have to fear nalgadas (a spanking). Sean and I wondered if our experiences were similar because we were the children of immigrants.
That got us to this week’s question.
La Pregunta: Are immigrant parent’s less sympathetic (or harsher) than US born parents?
*I’ve heard the story a dozen times, but I’m sure I have some of the core details wrong. Sorry, mom! I know for sure apricots and a fence were involved.