Sunday, January 13, 2013

On Missing Uncle Chino

This morning, I found out that my great-uncle, Uncle Chino, died this past week. He was my grandfather's (Sir Rafa) younger brother and they had so many great adventures together growing up. They both had a great (and similar) sense of humor. They were both Army veterans. Uncle Chino was a man who played Santa Claus for many Christmases. One Christmas, when I was a baby, he pretended to put me in his Santa bag! Oh, how I wish I had a photo of that!

 Here's a photo I found, which I'd taken at my grandparents' home in El Paso. It must've been around Easter in 2003.
Rafa on the left, Chino on the right (Andrew in the middle).

So in honor of my Uncle Chino, I'm going to repeat a post I'd written a while ago for a "Memory Lane Friday" post. It's from my grandfather's memoirs, from a section where he wrote about the adventures he and his brother had when they were young boys.

Here is a copy of my post from "Memory Lane Friday" on Friday May 27, 2011:

My grandfather, Rafael, was known as "Rafa" to his family. (I called him "Sir Rafa," but that's another story.)

Anyway, Sir Rafa's younger brother is Fidel. His nickname is "Chino" (which is also another story).

Here's a bit of background: Sir Rafa and Uncle Chino were newspaper boys when they were young, selling papers in downtown El Paso, TX. When they finished selling papers for the day, they'd occasionally treat themselves to supper before heading home: usually a couple hot dogs and one soda (in a glass bottle) with two straws. They'd use a few spare nickles and/or a couple dimes they'd earned from selling papers.

But once in a while, they'd buy a different treat. . . .


(This is an excerpt from a section of his memoirs he wrote in 3rd person. It's from a chapter called, "Chino and Rafa - Newspaper Boys".)

On the ground floor of the Gateway Hotel was a small, but very fancy bakery shop. The boys thought that everything sold there was very expensive, so the only thing they could do was to look at the goodies in the window display. Sometimes they wished they could buy something there, but they didn't dare go in there.

Chino and Rafa used to pass by there every night on their way home.

One day, Chino told Rafa, "Let's go into the bakery and buy a bag of 'pieces.'"

Rafa wanted to know, "What do you mean - 'pieces'?"

Besides, a place like that was very expensive. The people going to that shop [were very well-dressed,] and most of them drove up in big cars, so they must be very rich.

Chino then explained to his older brother that [broken cookies] weren't sold to the "rich" customers[. Instead,] they put the broken pieces in paper bags. These bags of pieces were for sale to anybody for ten cents.

So Rafa said, "Let's do it," and they walked into the bakery.

Since Chino knew about [the "pieces,"] he said, "a bag of 'pieces.'" The young lady behind the counter handed the boys a small bag full of pieces, and Chino gave her a dime.

On the way home, the boys ate most of the broken cookies, but left some for their mother, and a few pieces for Poppi, [their dog].


This is an old photo my grandfather (Rafa) gave me a number of years ago. Rafa is on the left and Chino is in the middle. Obviously, this was long before they were newspaper boys.


Jill said...

So sorry for your loss.

I really enjoyed the story about the pieces!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

So sorry to hear about your Uncle Chino. Thanks for sharing your memories.

Sandy said...

I love this story thanks for sharing, I'm sorry for your loss. I just love that black and white photograph! That must mean so much to you. =)

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