Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad
Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
When I give guests tours of The Inn at Hastings Park in Lexington, MA they always ask “Who was your inspiration?” To them that inspiration may be seemingly boring— my mom and dad, but as a Puerto Rican Jewish woman I can assure you that inspiration was anything but boring. It was filled with what Puerto Ricans affectionately call sazon—the perfect seasoning and the Jews call chutzpah—extreme confidence and audacity. After all, I am a product of a real West Side Story. A nice Jewish girl named Myrna is sitting on a turtle in a concrete playground the day before she starts high school. Along comes a Puerto Rican boy named Luis, riding his bike through the playground with another girl seated behind him. He turns to look at Myrna and asks if he can walk her to school the next day and the rest, as they say, is history. I guess the other girl walked herself to school. The couple that everyone thought was unusual then is still together after fifty-one years of marriage and as you might imagine, there have been many memories and meals with mucho sazon and lots of chutzpah.
Dad was born in Puerto Rico but raised in New York City. He spent the early stages of his career at Price Waterhouse in Manhattan. In the early 70’s, my parents purchased a home in Parsippany, New Jersey thinking we would be there for the long haul. The house seemed massive to me at the time. We lived on the first floor because we did not have enough furniture for the second floor. We never finished decorating that house because my father was offered the opportunity to move to Puerto Rico. I did not realize until I was twenty-six, unmarried, finishing my MBA and deciding what my next step should be the type of chutzpah my mom and dad, who were 26 and 27 respectively, with a 6-year-old daughter and soon to be 2-year old in tow, had. Myrna, my fair-skinned mother with a Puerto Rican sounding name, could not speak a word of Spanish. She had been on a plane three times in her life. There was no internet or face time, so communication with my maternal grandparents on the mainland was restricted to very expensive phone calls, letter writing and the height of technology available to us then—recorded tapes. In a move that gamblers might refer to as doubling down and a true affirmation of his chutzpah my father left the security of Price Waterhouse to start his own firm just eight months after arriving in Puerto Rico.
While I am sure that period of time was stressful for my parents, it was anything but for me. I loved growing up in Puerto Rico. It is where I learned to love food and entertaining people. It is also were I watched my parents take risks on pursuing their professional dreams and aspirations. Good things do come to those who work hard and I am forever grateful to Mom and Dad for showing me how to use sazon and chutzpah to make my dreams come true. Happy 51st wedding anniversary Mom and Dad!