In the late 1950s, my parents and I lived in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, where I was born. My mother told my father that she would only marry him and come to America if she could visit her family in Mexico every year. My father agreed even though he would never return to Mexico for another fifty years.
About 1957, my mother learned that her father was dying in Mexico. She bought plane tickets to go visit her father on his deathbed. My mother took me with her even though I was still a baby. My father drove us to the airport. He always had trouble driving anywhere without getting lost. When he asked for directions, he would only confuse himself even more. Well, my mother and I were supposed to fly to Mexico from Newark. My mother told me this story several times. However, I remember the story become more exciting and compelling everytime she told it.
Well, my father asked for directions to the airport in Newark. At that time, neither my father or mother understood English very well and they spoke English even more poorly. So when my father asked for directions to the airport in Newark, the man misunderstood my father and gave directions to the airport in New York, . Well, my parents and I ended up going to the wrong airport. By the time we arrived at the right airport, they told my mother that our plane had already departed. She began crying because she would not be able to see her father before he died. Someone with a private plane heard her crying and when she told them why, he arranged for us to fly on a charter flight to Texas. From there, we flew to Mexico.
When we arrived at her father’s house in Mexico, my mother saw vigil candles lighted all over the house. When her family answered the door, they started crying even more when they saw us. My mother started crying thinking that she had arrived too late to talk to her father. “Did he die already,” my mother asked. “No,” my aunt answered. “He’s still alive?” my mother asked. “Yes,” my aunt said. “Then why is everyone crying?” my mother asked. “We thought you were dead. Your plane crashed!”