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Torrey Maldonado: On the heels of Mother's Day...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

On the heels of Mother's Day...




Living in a housing projects can be bleak.


My mom often contrasted my days in Red Hook projects by heavily exposing me to life beyond its grayness, grumpiness, and grittiness.


Having taught in a middle school for nearly ten years, I see why she did that; there's truth in the prhase which hangs near my classroom desk. A saying that I coined is on it and reads, "Mostly, kids will be what they see. The right role models are crucial."


At times, distinguished places were too far for my mother to bring a young me. That's when she did the next best thing: she pointed those sites out to me in magazines or newspapers and advised me to someday visit them.


My mom reveres (and still reveres) El Museo del Barrio.


Nestled on 5th Avenue between 104th and 105th streets in Harlem, NYC, El Museo's face has changed yet my mom's message about El Museo never did.


When I was a middle school student, she held up a New York newspaper and said, "Look at this. If we didn't live in Brooklyn, I'd get you involved here. Respectable people associate with it."


Shortly after my Vassar College graduation--where I became the first person in my immediate family to move beyond a high school degree--my mother told me, "Get involved with El Museo. They do good things."


I wanted to make that happen yet didn't know how.


It's funny how life plays out.


Last night, my mom's constant dream for me to collaborate with El Museo came true.


On Tuesday, May 11th, 2010, this place of "respectable people" who "do good things" featured me as its guest author.


Last night's reading from Secret Saturdays was a huge success. Lots of people, many laughs, great discussion, and a moment where I said, "My mom and I sometimes couldn't afford subway money yet tonight I drove a car that I own and brought my mom to a place she has always warmly admired in her heart. My mother is sitting here with us now. Mami, please stand because you are as much tonight's honored guest as I am in this room filled with love and 'respectable people' who 'do good things'. Ma, we finally made it to El Museo del Barrio."

5 Comments:

Blogger Ebony Joy Wilkins said...

Beautiful tribute to your mother! Much success in your writing.

May 12, 2010 at 9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mom, my mother of another brother!!! te quiero mucho mucho belleza!! muah!

torrey, the book is a huge accomplishment and will keep getting bigger and bigger! love you!

melie

May 13, 2010 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger Ivy said...

It was a pleasure meeting your mother that day. She was truly inspiring to me as a parent.

May 13, 2010 at 11:03 AM  
Anonymous Stephanie Betancourt said...

No one is more deserving of your success than your mother. She is the reason why, you are. Congratulations on your momentous 1st publication, which I hope, is to be the first of many.

May 13, 2010 at 11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great first blog! can't wait to see the next one. :)

May 14, 2010 at 8:20 AM  

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