Were You Born Stupid? Tales of an Hispanic-American Family
“Were you born stupid?” is a phrase I often heard my father ask me as the eldest of his seven children. This memoir is of what now seems an enchanted childhood, written through a boy’s eyes, set in the 1950’s through 70’s, growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. It relates the trials and triumphs of a large Hispanic family, a life abundantly joyful, at times brutal, ever hopeful. More
"Were you born stupid?" is a phrase I often heard my father ask me as the eldest of his seven children. This is a memoir of what now seems an enchanted childhood, written through a boy's eyes, set in the 1950's through 70's, growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. It relates the trials and triumphs of our large, extended Hispanic family, a life abundantly joyful, sometimes brutal. Mother, who never wanted children in the first place, was stuck at home with her large brood. Summertimes, she locked us out of the house for the entire day (and commanded us “go play”) for her own peace and quiet, as she drank coffee, cleaned our home, and watched her soap operas while polishing the floors.
I am partial to shows or books seen from a child's point of view, such as “Leave it To Beaver,” or "Angela's Ashes." I enjoy seeing the world through young eyes, and even though these eyes may not be so young anymore, it’s great fun virtually seeing and remembering how our family got in and out of predicaments.
I set about to document the good, bad and the ugly anecdotes my family told around the kitchen table to pass these on to my children, but these soon turned into chapters of our life. I wanted to re-create what it was like growing up in such a large family, competing for attention, struggling to make it though we were poor--but never poor in spirit; where life was never dull. It all adds up to, I hope, a real slice of life in a family of nine. The stories would all be comical, but for the brutal aspects intruding, i.e., drugs, violence, and suicide of our loved ones.
Hispanics, Latinos, Native Americans all may relate to these characters and occurrences. But also anyone who enjoys seeing life as it was in the late 20th century, and of course, baby boomers nostalgic for days gone by. I hope you are among these.
I feel qualified to tell these stories as the oldest child in my family. Still, it’s just an impression of what now seems a far-off, faint memory--of times still innocent, joyful, at times sad. It was often just the six or seven of us children together, free to roam our wide-open world, in the north valley farm country of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Though we grew up poor, we came to appreciate the small things--a close family being the most important. Our happiness didn't require alot of money. I hope to convey how rich, full, and blessed life has been for the familia Franco, something that could only happen in the United States of America.
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