Suitcases

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Suitcases can hold a deep significance for an immigrant family like mine. My parents emigrated from Ecuador to New York City in the Seventies. I have visited Ecuador with my mother and my sister Natalia all throughout my life. We would go see our relatives almost every summer during my childhood and every other summer throughout my adolescence. Whenever my mother put her suitcase on her bed, our dogs Ranger and Islander would get inside as if to stop her from going. At times my mother would go to Ecuador by herself: to see loved ones, to go on vacation, to go to the dentist, to conduct business, and for family emergencies and funerals. Packing our suitcases for Ecuador would be an exciting experience as we would be seeing our relatives shortly. But packing our suitcases for New York would be a somber ritual as we would once again be saying goodbye. Each time I look at these suitcases all of these memories flood back. At times, too many to write down. Such objects that are used in transit are not always given much thought -- as they are stored away after unpacking and not used again until the next flight -- but they can signify great voyages, tremendous distance, and heartbreaking memories.

Year: 1975

– Roberto Chavez

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