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A Place to Call Home This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     My family had just moved from Chicago because my mother did not like the winters. They moved into my grandparent’s house that was no bigger than two small classrooms. They already had three sons and were expecting my older sister, Claudia. I would not be born for another two years, but there was still a lot of pressure for my dad to find a job and a house for my family.

My father was a hard worker from Mexico who had crossed over to be with my mom. He came without a high school education because he started working at a young age, but he had a lot of determination. It was difficult to find a job, but with a family of three and one on the way, he had to take what he could get. So, he started working in the bakery of a grocery store, cleaning up after the bakers, washing pans, watering down the floor and wiping tables. He would wake up early and come home late, exhausted, with his hands red from working and reeking of bleach. But he did not complain; he knew he was doing it for his family.

After a few years one of the bakers showed him how to make bread. Pretty soon instead of smelling like bleach, he smelled of freshly baked bread, chocolate, icing, and sugar. He no longer heard the sound of the mop slopping on the ground but the sound of bread slapping on the table before he kneaded it. He was thrilled but even though he had a job, he still needed to find a house. My mom would say, “I am tired of living with my parents” and he would reply, “I know, but I just need a little longer.” Oh, money was such a problem back then! It put a lot of pressure on my dad to work even harder and although they had money problems, he would tell my brothers not to worry, it was his concern and his alone.

My dad became a very skilled baker, making everything from donuts to cakes that would melt in your mouth. He worked hard all the time and he needed to do it right. The managers saw his skill and began training him as a manager. As soon as he got that job he told my mom, “Remember when I said that I needed longer? Well, we don’t have to wait no more.”

And with that my parents began to look for a house, the house that I was raised in. It was a small humble home, a home that was his, a home that was ours. It had three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a gigantic back yard in which my brothers and I would fight and play. It was a place to call home. Our house was bought from hard work and dedication that my father showed throughout his whole life, and when he saw his family walk into that house, it was like Christmas morning filled with smiles and laughter.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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