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Professor Manuel Hernández
Essays Collection

Address: : 2012 Ernest St. Kissimmee, Florida 34741

Manuel Hernandez was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York in 1963. He completed undergraduate studies at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus and finished a Master�s in Education from Herbert H. Lehman College (CUNY) in the Bronx in 1994. He has coordinated symposiums, produced and coordinated television interviews on the literature written by Puerto Rican and Latino/a writers from the Diaspora. He has done numerous presentations, workshops and seminars on how to integrate latino/a literature in the English classroom. In 2014, he participated in a TedxTalk (Connections) at Southern New Hampshire University. He is the author of three books, , Latino/a Literature in the English Classroom (Editorial Plaza Mayor, 2003), The Birth of a Rican (Imprenta Sifre. 2008) and Living the Kingdom with purpose (Imprenta Sifre, 2013). He is a Language Arts teacher at Osceola School District in Florida.

A Typical Californio Boy (Chapter 6)

by Manuel Hernández

The professor was named after his great-grandfather, but everyone called him Manny. Emmanuel arrived to New York City in 1915, a stowaway on a steamboat that traveled between Ponce and New York. From New York City, he moved to Tarrytown. It was a quiet, peaceful town, he heard, and after being abandoned by his parents in a treacherous and near steamboat wreck episode in the New York City port, he decided to escape from the big city life.

Tarrytown is small but rich in history and pride. It is known for the setting of Washington Irvings legendary stories, Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. In Tarrytown, Manny worked in a farm at the Sandfeller Estate. The caretaker of the estate noticed Mannys love and ability to take care of the animals, and one day offered to teach him to read and write. His great-grandfather had read poetry to him as a child, and he felt this opportunity was sent for him from heaven. In six months, Manny was reading and writing.

His interest grew, and his caretaker bought more and more books for him to read. He devoured the classics but especially liked Shaw, Milton and Shakespeare. In two years time, Manny decided he wanted to become a teacher. There were many newly arrived immigrants in the area, and The Sandfellers wanted him to educate them. It was only appropriate to formerly school them, they argued.

Whenever Manny got carried away in class, he spoke about how the leaves in Tarrytown turned rainbow colors in the fall, how the flowers lit up the schoolyard in the spring and how the snow enlightened Asbury park like a blanket in winter. He loved Tarrytown, but it wasnt Tarrytown what most intrigued Joey about his professor. There was something about him. He always looked at you as if he knew what you were going through. His eyes had an in-depth shine that he had never seen before.

Joey walked nervously the full scope of his professors office. After walking back and forth for what seemed an eternity, he sat down. Manny was talking to another student, and he told him to wait in his office. The minutes passed, and Joey started to sweat. Just when he thought his nerves would run out of their course, Manny walked in the office:

Hi Joey, how can I help?

Well, its a long and complicated story.

Im all ears.

Im in deep, Manny.

Deep is good. He said with astonishing calmness.

Well, I dont know how to explain. It all began when I met Alma.

Joey went on to explain the conflict. (See chapter 4). Manny listened. Joey had big plans for his life with Alma in Puerto Rico. He wanted to have a family, children and intended to go back to school, and he wanted Alma to study too. After a half an hour, Manny answered:

I know someone who shows compassion and love for those in need. Its a dazzling light that will guide you along the way. You talk a lot about your wants. But have you ever sat down to think what others want or need. The worst thing you can do right now is run away from it all. First thing you gotta do is accept the Light and let it provide the wisdom you are looking for.

At this point, Joey broke down. He cried and Manny got closer and hugged him. Joey had never received a hug from his father in his life.