Keepsakes and Memories

by Arturo Creamer

Photo of ArturoI was born in Argentina and I've lived most of my life in Peru.

I love books and in Peru I owned many volumes written in Spanish: old books and new books, including literature, folklore, philosophy, astronomy, law, and many books about plant lore and folk medicine. From the ceiling to the floor, on all four walls, the shelves of my library are filled with books. This library is my most prized keepsake and it made me very sad that I couldn't bring the library with me to this country because it is too big.

Ever since I was a child, I have loved books. My mother used to read to me and she taught me to read many books. Sometimes my mother and I would read a book together, taking turns reading aloud. I remember one time, when I was a little boy, my mother gave me one special book that was written in Spanish, Logic and Ethics by Jaime Balmes. That book was very good. I still have that book in my collection in Peru.

What I like best about Peru are the forests. There are many animals and birds in the forest, and many of the plants can be used as medicine. There are plants that are good if your knee hurts, or if your stomach aches. Other plants are good for fevers, infections, and some can even be used as vitamins. I learned to identify these plants by reading books and from family members. Almost everyone in my family knew these plants. We didn't have to go to the doctor often, just once in awhile for something like an operation.

Most of my closest relatives live in the United States: one son lives in Arlington, another lives in New Milford, Connecticut, one daughter lives in New York, the second daughter and two sisters live in Los Angeles, an uncle lives in Las Vegas, and my brother lives in Boston. Five years ago, my son called me and asked if I would come to the United States to live with him. He said to me, "Papa, come to live with us in the United States. You can read books, go for walks, and rest. We will take care of you. After fifty years of working, you deserve to rest." I was working with a bank at the time. I was tired and I missed my children, so I retired and came to live with my son in Arlington.

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Last Updated By Gail Matthews-DeNatale: 10/08/96