For this series, the WSP counselors were asked to interview an older family member with a childhood experience different than their own. These pieces focus on the family member’s past, particularly his or her goals or aspirations. The purpose of this assignment was to get the counselors to engage with an important family member and to learn more about themselves and their family history in the process.
I don’t really have good communication with my dad, so I decided to interview him. I was in the kitchen and he looked tired, since we had been working in the morning. However, he fixed his shirt and was ready to go. I had almost forgotten that my father loves to be in the spotlight. He sat down in the couch and I could see that he was in deep thought when he started to reflect on his life. I will use the initials E.C. for my father’s name to protect his identity.
My father grew up in San Miguel, Las Minas which is a ranch in the state of Puebla, Mexico. He only completed high school because he had to work, take care of his family and the animals in the ranch. The following two questions stood out to me the most because I learned a lot more about my father’s dreams, hopes, and struggles.
- Did you have any dreams growing up?
When my father said, “My dreams, oh I dreamt of building a house for my mother because we did not have one,” I could see his face showed a sense of accomplishment since my grandmother now has a house of her own. I could relate to my father’s dream because now the family as a whole wants to buy a home of our own.
- Would you like to share an experience you had with me?
“I would like to share with you my hopes of helping my mother and sisters. I worked in Tepoztlan, Morelos, I was there for a month and a half. I couldn’t even carry a box of tomatoes, but I got along with my boss. He gave me the job, didn’t care if I was younger and paid me the same as everyone else. I had hopes because there was going to be a big party called the party of 29th and I wished to have clothes, shoes and hoped that my mother had money for my sisters. I also worked in sewing here in the states when I was sixteen and returned at eighteen to get married with your mom. I had saved up 5,000 dollars to marry your mom and we had enough to come back to the states.”
While my father spoke, I saw his facial expressions change a lot. I could tell by his smile that his boss meant a lot to him when he was younger. The laugh he broke out in when he thought about the party made me realize how my father is still the same man that loves to have new clothes for parties. I did not know that he had worked so hard in the states because he was saving up money to marry my mother.
Through this experience, I learned a lot more about my father’s childhood and life as a teenager. I also learned how much my father and I always think about family. He opened up a lot which surprised me because of our lack of communication. However, I do believe this interview made my father and I a lot closer.