Memoirs of a Puerto Rican child in Philadelphia: Father

Aside Posted on Updated on

I was raised by a single parent for most of my life.  My  biological father left us when I was four. I have a very brief memory of that day, of him telling me to behave for my mother. Although the memory of him was brief, what happened to us after will forever be imprinted  into my brain. This occurred in mid 1972. My mother worked as a waitress and my father as a cook in the same restaurant. As in most traditional families of that time my father handled the finances. He was the one that paid the loans, utilities, and creditors. Within a few week of my father leaving, creditors began knocking on our door. Creditors my mother was unaware of. In a matter of weeks we had nothing. No furniture, refrigerator, or food. I vividly remember sitting on the floor and starring at my mother crying as she held my brother. For several weeks all my mother could afford to feed us was sugar water. No telling what would have happened to us if it wasn’t for a caring neighbor. I did not see my father again until the age of 13 for a week. Not exactly a bonding moment as I never was able to forgive him for the pain he caused us. My father never paid a dime in child support or ever bought us anything that we may have wanted or needed. At this point in my life I have not necessarily forgiven my father but no longer consider him a factor in my life. I have been asked by my children if I love my father. My answer is “how can you love someone you do not know.” In 30 years we have had less than 60 minutes of conversation.