A World Without Abuelas

Recently, I started thinking about what life would have been like without Abuelas.  Here’s what I came up with:

  • No creamy mashed potatoes that you can pat down into a flat pancake.
  • Nobody saying “Que dios to bendiga” as you bid your good byes.
  • No family secrets divulged in Spain over sangria.
  • No balconies overlooking the hustle and bustle of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico.
  • Nobody to ask you over and over again if you want another banana, or another glass of water, or a third plate.
  • No front porches filled with scorpions or back yards filled with coquis.
  • Nobody to pass you a $5 or $10 behind your Abuelo’s back.
  • No unmatched croquettas made with love and lots of secret ingredients.
  • Nobody to make me and my cabbage patch dolls custom-made clothes, including the coolest, hot pink, off-the-shoulder,  Christmas Formal dress I wish I still had.
  • No glimpses of Spanish-language novelas that never quite sucked me in.
  • No old photographs.
  • No smarties every Sunday.
  • No Jetta I could pretend was mine.
  • No coke that cross-my-heart tastes different in Puerto Rico.
  • Nobody to try to teach English to just for a loving laugh.
  • No frijoles recipe living in my Hotmail inbox for years.
  • No perfectly manicured nails…even at the end.
  • No witches next door with hair down to their knees.
  • Nobody babysitting on nights that brought out the most mischievous in you, like exploding godzillas in microwaves or playing with your dad’s razor.
  • No favorite nights at Pizza Hut with an arcade overlooking the dining area.
  • No house to live in while we were in between houses.
  • No Dulce Maria’s in my immediate family.

A world without Abuelas is a sad world indeed.

Posted by: Mariela


13 responses to “A World Without Abuelas

  1. Mariela, sounds like you had a great friendship with your Abuela. Your post brought up so many good memories from my childhood. I used to live in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico and I remember the EXACT Pizza Hut you’re talking about!I, my sisters and my brother used to beg our parents for more tokens until they eventually had to give in! I thought all Pizza Huts were like that, but sadly discovered otherwise once we moved back to the states. Thank you for sharing this with us.Your Abuela sounds like a very special lady.

  2. no way! seriously, those pizza huts night made it for us. my grandparents loved going to fancy restaurants that took forever and were stuffy so we were desperate by the time pizza hut came around. walking up those steps was pure joy!! my grandparents used to live in los pinos, right in front of el hotel san juan.

  3. Mari, as usual you hit the nail on the head. Of course you also made me cry, no more Rubia. Thanks

  4. Mari, I also cried. Just beautiful!
    Love you!

  5. tio carlos

    That was sad and funny Mariela. I am still missing my Abuela Justa.

  6. Ah, the stairs! I forgot about them! We used to run up and down them endlessly, surely driving everyone else there crazy. We lived in El Condado hotel for a few months while my parents looked for a house. Did you guys ever go to the ice cream parlor by the Pizza Hut? I think it was called Swenson’s. Such good memories…thank you, again.

  7. This list is beautiful! I was tearing and smiling.

    If you don’t mind, I would like to add a couple from my world without nonnas…
    – no warm pizzelles on a sunday morning
    – no fig tree to pick fresh figs off of in the fall
    – no one to teach me the art of coupon shopping.
    – no place to have my first slumber parties.
    – no endless supply of coke in the basement that was so old and flat we called it grandma coke.
    – no one to provide me with everything I wanted without having to ask.

    Yes, it would be a sad world!

    oh… and why would you smash the creamy mash potatoes into a pancake? maybe to cool them off? sounds familiar…

  8. dwells, nice additions!
    but the mashed potato pancake served the purposed of a blank canvas, in which we would imprint funny faces and such.

  9. That was sweet …. and beautiful !!!
    A wonderful way to honor your “Abuelas”.
    Thanks, and a Big Hug.

  10. I love this!

  11. Me encanto… 🙂

  12. Is this about Grandmas? I had to google the word ‘abuelas’. That’s the only thing that made sense to me. hahahah

    Nice list, though. Mine would have been much, much shorter.

  13. Manolito y Yoyita


    Muy bonito homenaje postumo a tus dulces abuelas. No tuvimos el gusto de conocer a ” la prieta”, pero si a “la rubia” y sabemos lo especial que era. Que Dios las bendiga!
    Un abrazo

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