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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 7)

by Manuel Hernández

Winters in New York City’s Lower East Side were chillingly
frightening. The roaring twenties had frozen the solar system in 1923.
Although there was a warm stint at times, it seemed like an eternity
before the mild and warm weather could find its place between the hard
brick front homes and cold sidewalks. While Joey fluttered down the
street, he felt the stark wind creeping in every cell of his body. Manny’s
divine intervention was fine. His English professor had opened a
spiritual door, and the dazzling Light had come in to his heart; but now
it was time to make decisions.
First, he would talk to Mario Capone, Alma’s father. He had
received and obtained the necessary strength to affront the situation.
Capone’s restaurant was twelve blocks from Manny’s office, and each
block was like a hurdle he had to overcome to gain what he desired the
most: Alma’s heart. After winning her hand in matrimony, he planned to
consolidate his life to her. He needed someone to disciple him along the
way, and Manny had accepted the challenge of becoming his mentor. This
new found spiritual experience was profound to him, but he knew he was
walking in the right direction. His mentor had spoken to him about a
higher purpose in life, and he was looking forward to a life with a deep
sense of meaning and direction. He had always wanted to make the
difference in other people’s lives.
The restaurant was one of New York’s finest. New York’s newly
rich and wealthy were permanent inhabitants of the luxurious Capone
Restaurant. Joey breathed in and out and softly went in through the
restaurant’s front revolving door. He immediately spotted Mr. Capone in
the lobby entrance, and he gently yet bravely interrupted his
converstion with one of his employees.
“Mr. Capone, I’d like a few minutes of your valuable time.”
“There is no need for a conversation. I am very husy right now and have
made myself clear to your father.” He quickly replied.
“Please, Mr. Capone, leave my father out of this. I believe that I am
capable of deciding what to do with my life.”
“So you say, you haven’t decided wisely, but let me grant you those few
minutes you asked for.” At this point, Capone walked towards a small
table in the back of the restaurant while Joey followed.
“Mr. Capone, I have decided to put my priorities in order.”
“What does that have to do with me?”
“Well, your precious daughter is a priority for me.”
News throughout the restaurant traveled fast, and Alma’s heart
sank to her feet when she heard that Joey was speaking to her father. He
had once mentioned talking to her father, but this caught her by
“You know Joey, you have a lot of guts coming in my restaurant. I own
your father, and you are jeopardizing his future. I don’t know where you
got the couarge to see me, but I admire your perserverance. Personally,
I got nothing against you or your family. Your father has served me for
the last few years, and he has done it well. We have fed you and your
mom, and I know everything about you. As a matter of fact, I know that
you and my daughter have continued seeing each other. My associates and
I own half of New York, and I have always kept a vigilant eye on my
At this precise moment, one of his tailored dressed employees said
something to him in his ear.
“We have to continue our conversation later. I have more
serious business to take care of. Goodbye, Joey. I’ll let you know when
to come by the restaurant. In the meantime, be careful. Alma is my
dearest, and I would not let anything happen to her.” Capone stood up,
shook his hand and left abruptly.