heir·loom / ˈerlo͞om/ noun
a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations.
My Sweet 16 Portrait is still hanging in my parents living room. It’s set in wood, and lacquered for preservation. All you need is damp cloth to wipe it down when it gets dusty. I don’t know how much this portrait set them back at the time. The wood is now tinged with a golden tone it has developed over the years, but the image of me, before doing my eyebrows was a thing, before my children were whispered into existence and right before what was left of my innocence was lost, that image of me…is still in tact.
I’m grateful to my parents and family who sacrificed so much for this blessed event in my life. If you were there, June 12, 1993 at the old Biase’s Banquet Hall in Newark, NJ, this slideshow is a little trip down memory lane. Sophia is 8 and has already planted the seed “for my quinceanera…”. Now I am thinking to myself, how would I preserve her coming of age portrait? Probably very similar to mine. This piece of art was created by Foto-Amor in Newark, NJ; circa 1993.

Christmas is a big To-Do for many of us, but this year it was scaled down to just our immediate clan of 19 plus a few relatives that stopped by to pack in the Love at Mama & Papa’s house. I’m Grateful to God, My Parents and my Family for the treasure trove of imagery, craftsmanship, artistry, instruments, musical influence, and carefully curated and guarded family history we have amassed dating back over a century. All of which is being handed down to our newer generations in some way, and my hope, more than I can imagine.Many of the images you will see in this introductory post is a tribute to my Beloved Family & Puerto Rico. When I sit, and I reflect on what our family tree would look like, I imagine something akin to Oprah’s huge oak, with a forest of other deeply rooted trees, all connected and feeding from the main roots. Those roots that call us home, that see a person of any color, and some tumbao in their step and demeaneor and you get the urge to call them brother or sister, ’cause you’re a chula like that; Y porque la Sangre llama. Como siempre dijo Papa Sico; Siempre Sera Navidad!