A Dominican Retrospective: Part 4 of 10

About ten years older than my twin brothers and ten years younger than my mother, Sylvia was a playmate neighbour to them both alike. The daughter of Do帽a Gladys, Sylvia grew up in a prosperous home - her father having a rice trade empire that though diminished continues to this day. Though their lives were much more comfortable than that of my family, they are very much on par with us now. They have the biggest house on our street, and the only one with two floors.

I spent a good chunk of my free time in Sylvia's house - directly next to mine - as it was always full of people - her mother, children, husband, brother, father, niece, sister - and so there was always food to be had. Every time I walked through the house someone was cooking and god forbid I missed a meal, one of the children would be sent next door to remind me that a plate was sitting on the table.

Sylvia recounted a story to me about when my mother had my two older brothers. My mother snuck out of the house one night (she was twenty but still under the domain of my grandmother as her 'husband' was in the capital working to build a life for them) and snuck into Sylvia's bedroom with her baby twins in tow. She asked Sylvia, and her twin Amanda, to look after the tots while she went to the movies with my uncles.

The girls watched the babies but soon enough one of them would start crying and their mother, Do帽a Gladys, would come in and find her babies taking care of babies.

At the theatre my mother would not fair any better. She was watching 'The Exorcist' and considering my mom can't watch National Geographic without closing her eyes and screaming can you imagine her reaction? She had to be escorted out of the theatre while still kicking and screaming bloody murder. She would return home to find the twins in their cot and a very angry Do帽a Gladys waiting with my grandmother. The gig was up.

My mother would leave DR the following year - leaving the twins behind - as she ventured for a better life in Venezuela - knowing that her 'husbad' was never going to get anywhere in the Capital. Sylvia and her siblings would grow up alongside my brothers and uncles.

Sylvia moved away from Bonao after her second marriage but after 4 years of living in the Capital and North Eastern end of the Island returned to the home she grew up in. Today she is a stay at home mother to her two sons - her oldest daughter currently attending University in the Capital. Her husband runs a trading facility while her twin sister has her own dental practice down the street. Her life seems uncomplicated except for the general things that come up when raising a family yet she is always very animated and dramatic about what life brings - how very Dominican of her.

She has always had a dream of becoming an actress and when she realised it wouldn't be fulfilled she put her youngest son and niece up for commercial auditions. They have yet to land a part. A few weeks before I left she asked me if I could take her picture - to send to the Producers of London and New York, surely after seeing her photo they would agree to hire her.

If I ever shoot a film in the Dominican Republic, I'll be sure to offer her a small role.

A Dominican Retrospective: Part 4 of 10 A Dominican Retrospective: Part 4 of 10 Reviewed by Christ贸pher Abreu Rosario on 05:30 Rating: 5

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