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Jose Antonio TorresBio

Jose Antonio TorresBio

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Published by: jtorres7@ tam.stu. argosy.edu on Aug 31, 2008
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Jose Antonio Torres, Jr.Autobiography
I am a Puerto Rican middle aged male born and raised in New York City.My parents are first generation Boricuas that were born on the Island andmigrated to New York City in search of a better life. I am the eldest of sevenchildren. I have three sisters and three brothers. I was raised in the Bronx andattended an elementary catholic school. My immediate family included my sistersand brothers, grandparents, uncles and aunts. My household was always full of music and laughter.My very first painful experience was when as a child I had my finger amputated by an escalator. I was two years old at the time. This incident tookplace at a department store in the Bronx. I was with my mom, I strayed awayfrom her. I saw this moving stair and being a curious fellow, I stuck my hand in it.I can remember the burning sensation and the smell of grease and blood. Peoplewere screaming and I screamed louder than anyone there. My mother passedout from all the screaming, I was told later on. Hey I was crying hysterically. All of sudden this beautiful black woman reached out and picked me up. I canremember the smell of her perfume to this day. I managed to some how rip thepatch from a skin graph off my thigh. It still gives me the chills when I think aboutit today. She held me close to her bosom. I felt this sense of calm come over me.That lady was my grandmother. She was wearing a black sparkled dress. I stillhave dreams of this day, the touch of my grandmother, and I will never forget thepain and the bittersweet embrace of my grandmother. My grandmother wasalways the woman of my dreams. She was my friend and the person I trusted. I
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knew she would never let anything happen to me. She loved me more thananyone else in the world, even more than my parents. I was her special child.She always said I would grow up to be successful one day. She pushed me tofinish school and to be better than my dad. As I grew older she taught meindependence. She would always say be your own person no matter what. Shewas my mom. She taught me to cook and to able to take care of myself. Myhappiness was important to her. I remember she would stay up late and I wouldget the hair brush and comb her hair and she would tell me stories about mygranddad, father and mother. I would stay there all night and just comb her hair till she fell asleep.When I was fourteen years old my parents decided to divorce for good. Mydad got worse with his drinking. Mom just couldn’t keep the family together anymore. During early parts of my adolescence I was left to raise my sisters andbrothers. And, as I was the one child that looked the most like my father, my momtook out her anger against him on me. I was the first to get put into the system.Mom decided to send me to a youth camp in upstate New York. Then I went to agroup home in Syracuse, and then back to the Bronx. I worked my way into acounselor’s position at the age of sixteen, working on weekends. I would gohome to grandmas and visit, eat and get my nurturing. By then my parents werein a nasty divorce battle and it hurt like hell. I was missing them in spite of whatwas going on between them. It was then that I realized I was on my own for therest of my life.
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By the time I was eighteen, I had experienced more than most people doin a lifetime. Homelessness, prostitution, and drugs were my forte, my personalhell was just starting I don’t know how I managed to graduate from high school in(1973). I thought then my life was getting better. Shortly after that my daughter was born, my son a year after that and my second son a year after. My daughter impacted my life the most. God she was so beautiful. Looked just like grandmatoo. My sons were a spitting image of me. I didn’t know crap about being a dad,as much as I told myself I would never be like my dad, man I was in for a rudeawakening.A couple of years after the kids were born I moved to Los Angeles,California to be a model. I had to return to the Bronx because by then mygrandma was suffering from Alzheimer’s and she was placed at Bronx statehospital. I remember visiting her and it was scary. She had a blank expression,no feelings or emotions. I was scared because I knew this was the last time Iwould see her. I remember when I was leaving that she looked into my eyessmiled and kissed me on the cheek. There were tears running down her cheeksand she said to me don’t worry God is going to take care of you. That was thelast time I saw her alive. I returned to Los Angeles and a month later I was backhome at her funeral. I was angry, hurt, confused and bitter at the world. I foughtwith my uncles, siblings and parents. No one heard my pain. I never got over it.To this day I miss my grandma. It is through our special relationship and love thatI share this part of my life. It is her spirit that guides me in any of my successes
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