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He found solace in, of all places back in the 1940’s, Buffalo, New York and lived there for sixty years before moving to Miami, Florida. He quickly found work in New York’s seedy underbelly as a pimp in the city‘s “Red Light District“ where people of that profession were commonly found. That is also how he happened to find my great-grandmother, who moved from Panama to achieve the american dream, to get her piece of the pie, with no intentions to work as a prostitute. My great-grandparents today still have no regrets about their past, my great-grandfather puts his life into perspective by stating "Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle; Old Age regret." They talked with a wisp of pride in their voices. Not that he regrets everything now in his old age. It is more he regrets ever becoming old. If you see my great-grandfather today, he is dating a forty year old woman, he still feels he is twenty when in actuality he is 87. He loves the mistakes he has made in his youth through the prostitution and drugs, something I as a youth can not be proud of. I have had my own struggles with drugs, with the police, and have contracted many more problems than needed. I regret everyday of my youth, not because I have cut my life short, but because I knew better. So did my great-grandfather.
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We still see the effects today of their past because frowns replaced smiles and laughter. No matter how much they say they don’t regret the past and no matter how they say they are proud of what they had done, through the airy sense of pride you can sense the feeling of loathing. Is it regret, maybe? Pride can be a dangerous thing at times but when coupled with regret pride wins all the time.
He was not a pimp his whole life. He was married and had his first child. After a few years they gave up that life and decided to settle down and actually have a family. They bought a nice house on Best Street in Buffalo and lived their for a few years. Even though neither of them had a formal education they still managed to send the their eldest to a boarding school in England. They felt that would give their daughter more than they could ever give. She grew up to a successful future and had more problems of her own. She overcame a sad story of a schizophrenic husband and overcame a even worst pedophile second husband. She is now on her fourth husband and is living very comfortably in Dallas. She has turned her struggles into success wearing the jewelry and clothes that signify such success. Even though the past is a difficult one to overcome, and for them I am sure that it has been as difficult as it can get, I admire my grandmother and my great-grandparents. He came from an condemnable past to a very successful future. He now owns three houses in New York alone, one in Texas, one in Miami, and another in Jamaica. He has traveled the world once over and would love to do it again. That is how I would love to be. I would love to be successful but just to be content with myself, now more than ever. That is my ultimate goal. He talks so freely of his past, something you would think would warrant more of a vow of silence. But he does not speak to just talk but to inform, he says “There is no set formula on how to live life, there is only the faith that you can do all that you can do to guarantee the success of your loved ones”. He risked his life everyday for himself and his offspring and says he will do it again. He has told me stories of fights over different corners and days he saved my grandmother from getting stabbed by a rival prostitute. He chose to continue in the lifestyle, not for selfish reasons. That is one of the things I admire the most.
Unfortunately, I could not speak to my great-great grandparents but my great-grandfather speaks so highly of them. But as always he has that way about him that turns a painful situation into one with a feeling of delight. But in my eighteen years I have not seen him smile once as if death now rest where life use to be. Through all the family fun he sits of to the side and just watches. What could be going through his head at those times? That is just something that I would have to figure for myself. With our smiles we tell a story of our lives, our history.