I often wonder what the Abuelito would think. As I sit at my desk and try to be a writer, an artist. To him it would have been a joke. The Abuelito or Jefito as we all called him rushed to work with his lunch pail and his steelworker’s badge thinking only of work and his duty. His job to produce the mortgage payment every month. There were ball scores and newspaper articles on the union. That was enough. But for him there was no book or text more important than that idea of work. Of doing for your family. There was no ocean of creativity waiting for him within a school’s walls. He left school for work and then for the great war before any of that could affect. The Abuelita or Jefita—which is what he called her—focused on the house and the kitchen. That was her life. Her husband’s life brought from Huerfano to the city and to their home. The home of work and toil where no one sat at desks and typed or where no one worked on text as art. No text but stories always stories. Sometimes I forget. Breakfast nook at dawn with splashing coffee and cigarettes. Ashtrays filled with gray. The stories passed between us and communicated their lives to me.
John Paul Jaramillo’s debut story collection The House of Order was named a 2013 Int’l Latino Book Award Finalist, and his most recent work Little Mocos is now available from Twelve Winters Press. In 2013 Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature listed Jaramillo as one of its Top 10 New Latino Authors to Watch and Read. He is currently a professor of composition and literature at Lincoln Land College-Springfield, Illinois.