This is Sammy. He's a stuffed monkey, he was given to me the day I was born, and I've taken him with me everywhere I've ever lived. As the story goes, my maternal grandmother wanted to buy me a gift as soon as I was born, but unlike other grandparents who could afford to buy a bracelet or earrings for a newborn child, my grandmother wasn't as fortunate. She came to the United States from Mexico in the late 1970s with 5 children (the youngest of which was my mother, only a toddler at this point), no husband, and without speaking a word of English. Some of my earliest memories of her include her selling cans of soda from her apartment to people throughout her complex for 50¢ a can. She bought me this monkey in a grocery store near the hospital where I was born in Garden Grove, California. She wasn't proud that it was all she could afford, but it made no difference to a newborn, a toddler, or the adult I am today. The love in that monkey means as much to me as anything else she could or could not afford. Sammy reminds me of where my family came from, and I'll always be happy to show Sammy wherever I go next.
– Melissa Lopez