Chronicles of a Bizarre Family
“The purpose of life is a life of purpose”- Roberto Byrne
Chapter 1: Robbie
It is strange for me to be the one sharing this story because I am one of the youngest members of my family. The stories that are about to be shared are true experiences of various members of my
family. I decided to start out with the person who I know best…myself.
My name is Roberto Manuel Matos Caro, better known as Robbie by my family, Rob by my classmates, the Robinator by my friends and Annoying by my sister. I was born a few months before the 80’s ended
in a predominantly Hispanic town known as Dover, NJ. My family immediately identified me as being a clone of the Caro side of the family. By clone they mean the fact that my nose is big and pointy
just like theirs. I was a small, slim boy with very fair skin and big bulging eyes, which I have grown into. I resided there for 5 years which I barely remember. The only memory I can clearly
recall were the days when the snow covered the ground. To any kid snow represents an exciting pastime, where you can escape from the world and just have plain fun. To me snow represented that time
that my father decided it would be fun to buy my brother Danny and I toboggans. Mine was a big red one that smelled like the fresh smell of new plastic. I decided to slide down a small slope in the
backyard. While sliding down, I dodged a huge tree that my brother had crashed, when doing so I headed towards a gap between our fence and the neighbors. My mother tells me that all she remembers
was seeing me fly over the gap and falling in the neighbor’s yard. She quickly ran outside in her pajamas, boots and 8 months of pregnancy to hurry towards me, only to find me screaming for my
mommy. I was 4 years old at the time.
When I turned five my mother told my brother and I that we were going to move from NJ to Puerto Rico. I don’t think that I comprehended the term “move away”, but it soon struck me the moment we
arrived at the airport. My mom told me to say bye to my younger cousin Angelica, who was like a little sister to me. We soon grabbed each other in an unbreakable embrace crying and yelling: “Don‘t
makes me go!” Destiny had its way and put me on that plane. I felt a little sick on the plane. It was a weird mix of nostalgia, fear, nerves and that pizza they served. My told me to go to the
bathroom, which I did…and never did again. As I flushed the toilet, I heard a disturbing noise which sounded like a monster in the room trying to pull me down that small hole. I quickly slammed
open the door and hit a flight attendant in the back. The moment was perfect; I now had embarrassment to add to my cocktail of emotions. We arrived in PR at 8:37 pm on June 1995. The weather was
warm, I didn’t feel at home.
My family and I lived with my grandmother for about a month before moving to house up in the mountains. Our house was located on a steep mounting, right next to my father’s parent’s house, his
great aunt, his brother and his aunt. The first thing I noticed was the amazing view from the house. You can see four different towns, the ocean and a small island located on the west coast. I
thought to myself that this was going to be good. I really think that I handled the move better than anyone. My mother fell in a deep depression because she was away from her family, her best
friend and she wasn’t used to not having a job. My brother was the other one who didn’t handle this change very well. He wasn’t too thrilled with the customs and language spoken. Not me though, I
quickly blended in with my puertorrican culture even though I was called a “gringo” by some of my classmates. In school I was kind of the teacher’s pet, since I was the top student of my class in
every material, except gym. Phys. ed. was the class were people actually fought about who had to have me on the team. I don’t blame them though. In volleyball, I would actually land the ball in the
baskets, and on the track I was put against the girls so my grade wouldn’t lower too much. I graduated top of my class in my sixth grade graduation and received 7 medals.
That year wasn’t the greatest year of my life. When I turned twelve years old I experimented something that would change me forever. It all started when I fell down during gym class. I felt pretty
well, except for the fact that my ankle was hurting pretty bad. My mother soon took me to the doctor, which by the way is like taking a trip to hell and back. My doctor explained that I just wanted
attention and forced me to take excruciating amounts of therapy. A few months after that I continued to become worse, I felt weaker than usual. For about a year I remained using crutches and all
other kinds of equipment. I was hospitalized twice, but the doctors couldn’t comprehend what was wrong. I was put on a wheelchair for about 2 years. I went fro a hyperactive young man to a quite,
shy and depressed boy who was in constant pain. I could not stand up, or even help myself to a glass of water. For years I remained in this state without a diagnosis, until a bout 3 years ago, they
called it juvenile osteoporosis. Since that day I was never the same man. Though I never felt sorry for myself, or begged for pity from no one.
I had always been a person of faith, though I always had trouble accepting some of the rules established by the church. I remember receiving a call from a friend of mine begging me to come to a
ceremony because the day before, the preacher exclaimed that someone was going to stand up and move forward. My father, mother and I went to it…miracles can happen. The preacher came towards me and
began to pray, as I closed my eyes I felt different, stronger, lighter. I was soon lifted by him and my father and began to walk as I heard people praying, others crying. My mother soon realized
what was happening and ran towards me; we all embraced and cried tears of joy. After this magical night, I began using a walker, but remained in the wheelchair because we feared another fall might
mean another downfall.
I entered high school with a good GPA and a nice electric wheelchair to match. I noticed that people would shy away from me because they were afraid to hurt me. It was a difficult transition. But I
copped with it very well. My condition never stopped me from participating in various activities like the science fair, National Honor Society, etc. I graduated from high school with a 4.00 GPA,
was voted most gentlemen and won a special award for most persevering. I am now a first year college student studying biology. I am still the shy and serious person I was, but I have a good life
with a great family and friends.
Many might think that I regret the things that have happened to me, but life is too short for regrets. These experiences made me who I am today, which I am proud of. I do not know what lies ahead
for me, but I don’t like to look into the future because it can be changed…oh yes it can!
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