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Retrato de Mi Familia - A Portrait of My Hispanic Family

by Rebeca Maria Barrera
March/April 1993
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"Vente mihijita, say hello to your grandmother first. Now give your t¡a a big hug."

I remember the Sunday rituals so clearly. Sunday was family day, and we visited relatives. It was always this way, with the younger members going to the older person's home, never the other way around. Of course, we were visited occasionally, but never for the Sunday gatherings. I looked forward to playing with my ten cousins.

We'd walk in the front door and smell caldo cooking on the stove or carne asada being grilled on a fire outside, and our cousins would call us into the kitchen to taste the first hot corn tortilla, sprinkled with salt and rolled into a flute. We never made it past the living room before the t¡as caught us for the dreaded ritual - one hug, one kiss per aunt, neighbor, or friend of an aunt. These weren't ordinary aunts. They were the five great aunts of the family, the sisters of my grandmother. Greeting them first was obligatory, and it took forever. In Spanish, we had to detail how we were doing in school, whether we were giving our parents the ...

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