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“Meeko, Meeko, Meeko, Meeko” This is the taunt that my mother was spared just by switching her first and middle name. Her name is Monica Michelle Panzer Jones. “Well, when I was born they [my parents] contemplated naming me Michelle Monica. I was born in Colombia and in Spanish Michelle translates to Mikaela, and Meeka or Meeko means monkey. They decided that they didn’t want everybody to call me a monkey ‘cuz they thought I would get teased and ‘cuz everybody would call me a monkey. So they named me Monica Michelle and years later they still call me Monkey as a nickname.”
However, Monkey might have been a good name because on some occasions she was a troublemaker. You see, my mom had a good childhood and her recollection is one filled with family. “My Opa was there, and my aunts lived with us for a while. Across the hall lived my grandmother and my uncle. I have fond memories and I did good things because my parents loved me.” However things weren’t always great in the apartment. “My sister and I didn’t get along really well and she resented my… existence” Things were rocky with her sister but an occasional argument also broke out between her and her parents.
While speaking at some points like a child back in the memory she recalls the situation with sharp hand gestures and appropriate facial expressions. “When I was a little girl, probably…about four years old, my grandmother, my mom’s mom, was watching us, my sister and I, while my mom worked, and the ice cream man, Frankie came in his truck. I wanted to go down and see Frankie and get ice cream. My grandmother said NO! She said my sister could get the ice cream for both of us, but I didn’t want my sister to get my ice cream, I wanted to get my ice cream! She kept yelling at me and saying I couldn’t go so I got really mad, and then she gave my sister money, and my sister got to go!
Well, I got really mad and decided to hide under my dad’s reclining chair, and that recliner sat right in front of the window in the living room. For whatever reason, she [my grandmother] called to see where I had gone. I guess she was looking because I was angry. Anyways, I wouldn’t come out from under the recliner, and it was kinda funny because the recliner was in front of the window so she was standing RIGHT THERE! My face was kind of at her feet and she was shouting out the window, “Susi, is Moni with you?” In my sister’s normal muffled and bored voice she was like, “No you said she couldn’t come down.” But I didn’t go down, I was under the recliner!
Then they all got nervous because they didn’t know what happened, so they were looking all over the house… all over the apartment… trying to find me all over the building, and all the time I was underneath the recliner.
Umm… Eventually they found me and I didn’t get my ice cream… But I did get a realllly good whooping from my grandmother,” my mother stated as she chuckled lightly. As a side note she mentions, “The funny thing is that is one of the last real memories I have of her before she died. I got in a lotta trouble that day, and it is still the conversation and everybody talks about it still, even 40 years later.”
Before I was born my mom bought a dining table. That table was something she had worked for by scribing notes for other people. She cherished that table and to this day we still eat at it almost every night. However, that table has been changed, and it isn’t the same brand new piece of wood anymore. It has more memories that aren’t necessarily good.
When I was about four years old I did something that I would never live down. On that day my parents and I were at home doing our like normal things when I, like many children, talked back to my mother. “I was being like fresh.” I was sent to my room but I didn’t feel like going to my room. My room was pink and huge but I didn’t want to be punished. I was kinda mad at my mom ‘cuz she had punished me, and of course I didn’t think I’d done anything wrong.
Well, I decided to get back at my mom by hiding. My mom was in the kitchen and that was where I was told I was to go to my room. I walked out of the kitchen, and right there was the dining room table. I went and hid behind a plant and waited ‘til my mom went to a different room. Then I went and sat right under the table with a black sharpie.
Now, the bottom of the table had all of these like numbers and codes from the factory. I took the sharpie and started to trace the numbers with the marker. After a while I got bored and I started to try to write my own numbers. Of course looking back at the table now I can see that my numbers were all backwards and they looked kinda funny. My initials are on there too, but you can see the bajillions of “Js and Ks” that I made trying to draw it the right way. There are tons of doodles and letters and numbers all over the bottom of the table that’ll never come off. At the time though I didn’t realize… how important this table was to my mom.
Throughout this whole artistic period my mom and dad were running all over the house looking for me. My mom didn’t realize that I hadn’t gone to my room when she had sent me there so when she called my name lookin’ to see where I was she got scared when I didn’t answer. She ran upstairs and looked and called for me but I didn’t answer and I didn’t appear to be any where in the house. This was also the time when we used to live in the city so my mom freaked out and thought I had been kidnapped or somethin’. After a while I came out from under the table and I got in sooooo much trouble. My mom said that was the first and only time she spanked me out of anger. Then I was really sent to my room and my mom didn’t talk to me for like a week, but things are all good now. However my mom never fails to remind me what I did every time she gets a chance.