“I’m A Rican” my brother Luis Mario Robles, Jr. use to say with his strong Brooklyn accent and a bit of swagger and attitude for effect.
We came from a household of hang-man and Scrabble gaming and recognized early on that there is a Rican in every American. We discovered the word Rican is engrained into the very core of the name of this nation’s citizen, the American. My brother, a Vietnam veteran who never received the respect he deserved for serving his country, loved coining the phrase “I’m a Rican. I’m an Ame-rican.”
Until the very end, my brother, Luis Robles, was proud of his military service. A Nany man, his ashes are in the Veterans War Memorial in California. His spirit and sense of humor guides my hand as I write my collection of “I’m A Rican” stories.
Based on my life, journals and imagination American is about a first-generation girl’s assimilation into the fabric of main stream America. It’s about my childhood. My American and Puerto Rican families. My award-winning contributions to the nation. My successful battle against breast cancer. My finding love while facing disillusioned circumstances only to realize the love was just my imagination.
My character began life in two worlds. The world outside my door was one. The four walls within my home, held another world. A world oftentimes violent, void of family love. I recant my journey of balancing my bilingual, bicultural world through humor and a fierce sense of Rican pride.
My parents hailed from the mountain regions in the middle of an island in the middle of the ocean. And even though the island was thousands of miles away from my life in the concrete island of my 1950’s New York home, Puerto Rico oozed out of every corner of my life.
Worlds colliding. Languages and cultures to maneuver through. Secrets to unveil. I knew early on I would someday unveil the true story of my birth mother’s life.
Redeeming my mother’s honor. Exposing all who were party to the family sabotage that plagued my life become my mission early on. To uncover the secret that impacted my sibling’s lives, fragmented generations and derailed endless possibilities, became my obsession.
A lifelong journey that took me to the edge of crazy in my quest to uncover the truth, bringing me full circle face to face with my ancestral roots. It took weaving through an entanglement of lies, half-truths, untold misunderstood hardships and a walk in my mother’s shoes to understand my intertwined, fractured foundation.
Join me as I recant childhood memories of abduction, religious cults, resistance to assimilation, abandonment, exile and my fight against breast cancer through humor, optimism, reflection and imagination. There’s also love, sex and rice and beans.
My collection of short stories holds moments captured in real time through journaling. Combined with creativity, ingenuity and sprinkled with a healthy dose of wishful thinking.
Dancing between two worlds, two cultures, two languages. I intermingle them to create yet another societal pose, a third world culture where I embrace salsa, the Beatles and Motown; fusing them together and always marching to the beat of my own timbales (drums).
These stories pay homage to my ancestors and are dedicated to my beloved brother Luis Mario Robles, Jr. the original “I’m A Rican.”