Since the young boy ultimately died without achieving Rafael’s goal of having his little “chico” tour the entire island, he asked the funeral home to rapidly prepare the body.
On the day before the internment, Rafael had them place the little coffin in the back seat of his car, so that he could personally chauffer his son on the much promised trip around his beloved Puerto Rico.
My grandmother Carmen Rodriguez Nicot was literally from the other side of the world.
Born to a very humble Hawaiian lady of Puerto Rican descent and a ½ African Frenchman, Carmen was a very poorly educated mulatta who in some ways, was a heavy backpack for my Dad to carry ~ especially since my grandfather Francisco never married her.
Hawaiian/Puerto Rican relatives beckoned Carmen and my father to join them in San Francisco.
Seizing the opportunity to escape the pressure of living as outliers in Puerto Rico, my father and grandmother arrived in San Francisco in 1949. Carmen immediately took a job as a kitchen employee in a school cafeteria.
Way behind in his academics because of having to work in assisting his mother to put food on the table and sharpening his exceptional musician skills, my father entered Galileo High School as a Senior at the ripe old age of 22.
Always a very hard worker and wanting to better himself, my Dad worked 2 jobs ~ during the day as a door-to-door salesman and at night playing with his 26 piece Latin Band.
It was during 1 of these gigs at The Fairmont Hotel’s famous Papagayo Room, that he met my Mom.
Some call it love at 1st sight, but for my Mom it was an “Escape from Alcatraz” from living with her parents.
As famous Old Sam Caruso would say to me when I wanted Friday night off for a date when working at Safeway Supermarkets in San Francisco @ 16 ~ "we'll see................................."