Josephina left Vega Baja and landed en Nueva York when she was only 14 years of age. Those of us who know her best can only imagine how she must have adorned her new surroundings like a Flamboyant that was planted in the middle of a concrete garden. Every one whom she befriended realized how beautiful she was. Her outer beauty was only enhanced by the beauty within.
She had the panache of Jaclyn Onassis; the grace and warmth of Christy Turlington; the salsa of Rita Moreno. But her most endearing quality was the love that exuded from her genuine heart. She gave, and expected love, unconditionally.
I appreciate how she unwittingly instilled in me the love for the culture that ran through her veins. She spoke English to me until I entered kindergarten. From that point on, Spanish became the official language in our home. Although I struggle in speaking Spanish well; thanks to my mother, I can fully understand the Spanish language.
She loved to dance. She loved her comidas creoles de Puerto Rico. Bustelo was a main staple in our home. Our living room looked like a miniature campo de la isla. Everything and anything she touched flourished as though she had sun and water flowing through her hands. Ironically, that’s how she affected me and my father.
Whenever I moved thousands of miles away, I yearned for the foods and laughter of her native country. When I lived in Germany, I craved for arroz con pollo. When I moved to Arizona, I was begging for sofrito and café con leche. But to my dismay, no one knew what I was talking about.
Don’t get me wrong, I love and appreciate cultures from around the world. But I often wonder what my life would like if it weren’t for my mother and father sharing their roots with me. She gave me Puerto Rico, and he gave me Mexico. And although I grew up en los estados; I feel so rich because of the gifts my parents bestowed upon me. I love other cultures, because mi padres opened me up to there’s first.
Although we miss Our Dear Josephina; yet what she gave us will never be missed.
her lust for life and God.
If she were here with us today, she would say something like:
“Oye mi’jo, no te preocupes. Ya nos vemos.”
I look forward to that day…