Nail Of The Past

Relationship: Im/migrant

It all started in 1980, when there was a gas leak in my mother's house in Puerto Rico. Soon after her house caught on fire, it quickly spread throughout the house. This was her family's house and it had so many valuables that were built up throughout the many years they had been living there. My mother, her siblings, and my grandmother ran out of the house but they felt they needed a memento to remember the house they grew up in. My mother did something stupid or brave (depending on the way you want to see it) and she ran back inside the burning house and looked for something small she could keep. She found a nail lying on the floor, snatched it quickly, and ran out the house, not stopping for a few blocks. They had nothing to come back to so my grandmother thought it was time to move the family to the United States to live with her aunt. In order to get the nail through customs at the airport, she hid it in her luggage under a lot of clothing. My mother still has this nail today because it was her last token from Puerto Rico.

Place(s): Puerto Rico
Year: 1980

– Margaret Martinez

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant