We’re ONE; Perception is everything.

Miranda Childe,
Miami, FL

I’m a 68-year-old native New Yorker transplanted to Florida after my divorce made it emotionally and financially difficult to stay in my beloved home town. My parents were retiring to Hallandale, and as an only child with no children I was now free to come and be there for them. We were always very close, I shred everything with them, kept nothing back. We were a very small family, but we made it through good times and bad together.
My mother was born in Puerto Rico, my father in Cuba. They met at Jones Beach; their mother worked for the State Department and her father was in the Army headed for Korea very soon. They connected in so many ways – opposites attract. She moved in with his two sisters and a Japanese-American second-generation American in a small apartment in Manhattan’s “Germantown”, the East 80s in Manhattan. He wrote to her every day, in pencil, on scraps of paper while he was resting in cold swamps in Korea. My mother would receive envelopes stuffed with many of these love notes every month or so. They were married in a community church called The Little Church Around the Corner. No bridal gowns or tuxedos, no wedding party, only my father’s sister Olga as a Maid of Honor. There was no best man. Neither side of their family attended. The Puerto Rican side thought Cubans were loud and coarse; the Cuban side thought Puerto Ricans were low class! Two years later I was born, a Spanish-Caribbean American cocktail.

I was 15 when my father died after a long and sad illness and after that, my mother and I were closer than ever. Ten years later mother was swept off her feet by a charismatic and funny blue-eyed Argentinian from Buenos Aires. He was a busboy at the Spanish seafood restaurant around the corner from me in the Chelsea area of Manhattan. He always made me laugh and thought he’d be a fun friend to help my mother to open up a bit. I felt it was high time my mother stopped her workaholic ways and lived a little, so devised a crafty plan. I was 24; I knew it all then. I invited her to El Quixote for their great $9.95 lobster dinner, where of course my favorite busboy charmed her immediately. It took her two weeks to actually call the number he had given her. They were married less than a year later. A marriage that lasted for 38 years.

Fast forward to 1992, a new life for the family in Florida. I got a job teaching English at the Wolfson Campus of Miami Dade College. My parents had fun decorating their $52,000, 2-bedroom, 1,700 sq ft condo – can you believe what condos went for in 1992? They entertained every weekend; Carlos making his fabulous Parilla Argentina on the grill in the pool area downstairs, and Sylvia, my Mommy, creating a beautiful spread with real steak knives, and linen, of course. She was a true Lady until the day she died! The last of the great ladies I have ever known. Perhaps my pride and admiration are showing…
Since 2015 I’ve been an orphan and it’s been an adjustment, for a while the light went out of my life. Nevertheless, I kept smiling and spreading my l smiles to everyone I see because everyone I see is part of me and I them. My full and varied life blessed me with the opportunity to meet people from all different places, all cultures, all colors, all beliefs, philosophies and values. I have traveled through Southeast Asia, South and Central America, Europe and 26 states in every geographical region of the United States. I grew up in New York City in an Irish/Italian working class neighborhood. A few blocks away were Eastern European, Greek and Polish neighborhoods. Everywhere I lived then the neighborhood was family. Even if we didn’t know each other, we watched out for each other. In my 20s, I lived alone in a beautiful but sometimes unsafe neighborhood, but if anyone wanted to mess with me, there was always a “stranger” who told them to back off, I was one of them. I started working at 15 as a cashier in supermarkets through high school and college. I attended Catholic School for 10 years, went to high school in a town that was 75% Jewish, and attended New York University. I have been a waitress, a temp worker doing filing and bookkeeping, taug I’m a 68 year old native New Yorker transplanted to Florida after my divorce made it emotionally and financially difficult to stay in my beloved home town. My parents were retiring to Hallandale, and as an only child with no children I was now free to come and be there for them. We were always very close, I shred everything with them, kept nothing back. We were a very small family, but we made it through good times and bad together.
My mother was born in Puerto Rico, my father in Cuba. They met at Jones Beach; mother worked for the State Department and father was in the Army headed for Korea very soon. They connected in so many ways – opposites attract. She moved in with his two sisters and a Japanese-American second generation American in a small apartment in Manhattan’s “Germantown”, the East 80s in Manhattan. He wrote to her every day, in pencil, on scraps of paper while he was resting in cold swamps in Korea. My mother would receive envelopes stuffed with many of these love
notes every month or so. They were married in a community church called The Little Church Around the Corner. No bridal gowns or tuxedos, no wedding party, only my father’s sister Olga as a Maid of Honor. There was no best man. Neither side of their family attended. The Puerto Rican side thought Cubans were loud and coarse; the Cuban side thought Puerto Ricans were low class! Two years later I was born, a Spanish-Caribbean American cocktail.
I was 15 when my father died after a long and sad illness and after that, my
mother and I were closer
than ever.
Ten years later mother was swept off her feet by a charismatic and funny blue-eyed Argentinian from Buenos Aires. He was a busboy at the Spanish seafood restaurant around the corner from me in the Chelsea area of Manhattan. He always made me laugh and thought he’d be a fun friend to help my mother to open up a bit. I felt it was high time my mother stopped her workaholic ways and lived a little, so devised a crafty plan. I was 24; I knew it all then. I invited her to El Quixote for their great $9.95 lobster dinner, where of course my favorite busboy charmed her immediately. It took her two weeks to actually call the number he had given her. They were married less than a year later. A marriage that lasted for 38 years.

Fast forward to 1992, a new life for the family in Florida. I got a job teaching English at the Wolfson Campus of Miami Dade College. My parents had fun decorating their $52,000, 2-bedroom, 1,700 sq ft condo – can you believe what condos went for in 1992? They entertained every weekend; Carlos making his fabulous Parilla Argentina on the grill in the pool area downstairs, and Sylvia, my Mommy, creating a beautiful spread with real steak knives, and linen, of course. She was a true Lady until the day she died! The last of the great ladies I have ever known. Perhaps my pride and admiration are showing…
Since 2015 I’ve been an orphan and it’s been an adjustment, for a while the light went out of my life. Nevertheless, I kept smiling and spreading my l smiles to everyone I see because everyone I see is part of me and I them. My full and varied life blessed me with the opportunity to meet people from all different places, all cultures, all colors, all beliefs, philosophies and values. I have traveled through Southeast Asia, South and Central America, Europe and 26 states in every geographical region of the United States. I started working at 15 as a cashier in supermarkets through high school and college. I attended Catholic School for 10 years, went to high school in a town that was 75% Jewish, attended New York University. I was an actress and singer in musical theatre on and off-Broadway for 17 years; I taught at several colleges and universities for ht singing and public speaking to teens and doctors and everyone in between. I was an actress and singer in musical theatre on and off-Broadway for 17 years; I taught at several colleges and universities for 30 years. Now I live in Hollywood, Florida in a diverse community. As you can see, I have had the good fortune to come to know first hand that we are all one, we live in a safe universe. The only thing that can bring violence, evil and separation to our lives is ourselves. If we believe that the world is unsafe, that people are all out to get us, everyone cheats, there is no respect anymore, we have to shout to get heard – then those things will be part of our lives. When actually, we are part of all that is and ultimately love is all that truly is.

 

Tweets by Michele Norris