Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month 2015

celebrate hispanic


Happy  Friday, y’all!

Just in case you can’t say it, I got you …. “Thank God It’s Friday”!  There … we’re done giving thanks!!
Life is full of “twists and turns as some of us sometimes learn” (excerpted from poem entitled: “Don’t Quit”).  These past few weeks, I’ve been having some minor car issues – sensor stuff for the newer cars.  It’s been tough; yet two friends came through in true form …. My friend Stokely, whose father just passed has been a constant supporter of Educational Excellence … and me!  He often comes through when I least expect it!  I hope to see he and his lovely family when they come down to the FTL to pay their last respects to Mr. Gittens.
The other friend, whom I’ve known for many years, is Burke Wortman.  When Burke found out that my car was acting “loco”, he offered to let me borrow his SUV, Ford Expedition, until I can get my Jeep out of the shop!!!  I am even using a mechanic that Burke recommended me to a couple of years ago when the Compass suffered from “electrical problems”.  I can’t express the gratitude I have for such “cool peeps” as these two guys.  I am fortunate to have real friends like this who help me out from time to time.  Some of you reading are amongst those … thank you!
So, yes … it is Hispanic Heritage Month … an interesting time frame starting in the middle of this month and ending in the middle of next month.  I have a lot of respect for Hispanic culture and literature, as well as Hispanic painters and Latin music!  They, too, have contributed to the world community in a most positive way!  May we acknowledge, explore and learn from their heritage.  One of my favorite stories regarding my attraction to Hispanic culture is “born” out of where I grew up in White Plains.  There was a very attractive girl named “Lydia”, whose family including her older brothers – Eduardo and Roberto, was of Mexican heritage.  We lived in the same building … “135 South Lexington Avenue” on the 5th floor and … they lived in the same building on the 7th floor – same apartment letters “A”!  I wanted to do something to make myself stand out from the other boys, so I started studying Spanish in 7th grade.  I haven’t been the same since!!!
After teaching social studies at White Plains High School for 10 years and experiencing some personal challenges with my marriage, I ended up taking a job to teach English in Cali, Colombia, South America.  This decision was made after spending Christmas in Madrid, Spain in an attempt to get over my pending divorce!  It worked … pretty much!  In Spain, I had the pleasure of visiting the Picasso Museum in Madrid; “La Catedral” in Toledo; “El Alhambra” en Malaga and a multitude of other sights and experiences, architecture and music as well as “El Palacio Real” right there in Madrid!  My intrigue was heightened … so … “I took my teaching talents to Cali … Cali, Colombia” that is!!  I had the time of my life, dancing salsa and merengue, visiting the many towns, villages and cities there from Bogota to Ipiales, San Andres and Buenaventura where I enjoyed the food, the ambiance … and horse back riding!!  That was something I did nearly every weekend in a small village North of Popayan called “Silvia”.  It was a village where the men still wore “dress-like” pants, panchos and wide brimmed hats.  Their specialty amongst the “artesanias” (art work/hand crafts) were very colorful sweaters and “ruanas” (panchos)!  Needless to say, I made the most of it, learned the language … even the basic dances … and have an ability to relate to Latinos world-wide!
So, if you’ve a moment, visit a local museum or college campus and partake of some of the festivites of “Hispanic Heritage Month – 2015”!  Dale y felicidades!
Peace, (La paz)!

John I. Cook, Director

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