The River Rock

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

This “river rock” connects varying generations, including myself, and brings up memories and excites taste buds. It has been in my family’s kitchen for more than 20 years but has a long history that I’ve never questioned. I’ve witnessed my mom use this rock, which has a flat and a round side, almost daily. Grabbing it from the round side, my mom uses the rock to tenderize meat, especially steak. When asked about the rock she was surprised by my interest and explained that it was passed down to her from her mom when she immigrated to the U.S. almost 30 years ago. My mom elaborated that she had witnessed her mother also use this rock to tenderize meat. The medium sized rock was found in Rio Chamelecon in El Progreso, Honduras when my grandma and her siblings were sent to find something to make the meat softer. The story goes, as my grandmother told me, that because of the river's current, she fought to keep balance as she shuffled through the “aqua dulce” to find this rock. So, she decided to continue using the rock after her mother had given to it her and to pass it down to my mother, the first of her children to leave the country. Every time my mom uses this rock, she says that it reminds her of her childhood as she explained to me that “coming home to pan de coco, bistec, and frijoles fritos” was a warm welcome she always looked forward to. She continued to tell me that even though it is just a rock, every time she uses it the river rock reminds her of where she came from.

Place(s): Honduras

– Joanne Rodriguez

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant