In the late 1940's, my grandparents known as the Carmona's, were the first wave of migrants who came from Mayaguez Puerto Rico. Their first home was located on Pacific Street in Brooklyn inside a brownstone building. Three years later, they moved into a tenement building located on Monroe Street in 1953. By 1956, they moved into one of New York City's first housing projects called the Vladeck Houses built by Baruch Charney Vladeck. This became their humble abode for 56 years, a home filled with love with a strong dedication towards preserving our Hispanic heritage. My mother often reminisces about the home being permeated with aromas of food like arroz con gandules, pollo guisado or pernil, Spanish music loudly filling the air waves, and the table being overcrowded with supplies for their yucca or banana pastele business. Besides my grandfather working for the Post Office and my grandmother working in the garment industry as well as maintaining the home and caring for their two young little girls, she remarkably found the time to crochet. She purchased her yarn at the five-and-dime F.W Woolworth store in Manhattan, and crocheted beautiful table cloths. Her crochet skills were handed down to her by her grandmother and gave her a sense of pride and joy to create such unique table cloth designs. In honoring their memory, as a native born citizen in the U.S, I will always have a connection to our cultures food, music, crocheting, and sense of family they shared with us.
– Christine L.