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
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
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
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
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.