Loving this interview with novelist (and now memoirist) Oscar Hijuelos from Guernica magazine:
Guernica: Could you elaborate on how your lack of spoken Spanish affected your relationship with your parents?
Oscar Hijuelos: My father was a laconic guy. He would hang out with his friends and have all kinds of discussions about work and politics, but they never asked me, Y tu, Oscar, que te opines? I was pure ojos then, a fly on the wall, just taking in all that talk. In contrast, my mother was more loquacious.
Guernica: And poetic.
Oscar Hijuelos: Oh yes, she wrote poetry. You know, I grew up going to public clinics and low-end department stores, and on many occasions, she became anxious when she had to fill out forms. I always had to guide her through those things. The funny thing is, as an immigrant, my father felt fairly at ease, whereas my mother never really got used to having to adapt to a new system until she hit her seventies.