The following was an assignment in English 404, Creative Nonfiction, to write an essay of only 100 words.
100 English words. That’s how many I probably knew in the first grade. My Puerto Rican father, Dominican mother sent me to Catholic School at five years old to become an American. The nun with the stern scowl, black and white hooded costume, a long chain of rosary beads hanging from her hip told my parents, “This is America. In America, we speak English.” The nun didn’t have to say only at the end. My parents knew what she meant.
My mother’s English was terrible, so television became my teacher. By the eighth grade, I couldn’t remember 100 Spanish words.
Antonio Ruiz is an ex-junkie-alcoholic, former seminarian, one-time radio host-producer, past community organizer, continuing to be a media advocate, retired television reporter, ex-commission executive director, once a street vendor of jewelry and gloves, waitron (waiter to you), a former bartender who drank too much on the job, an ex-motorcycle courier who learned to ride a bike just for the job, ex-airport shuttle driver, former Entertainment news director-producer, the best time of my life, one-time live TV events red carpet producer-executive producer, ex-small business consultant, ex-youth media and journalism mentor, and now a college student who also has been married three times (thirds the charm), and just couldn't help living with two other women because well, that's part of my story.
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