This column was originally published in the February 13, 1986 issue of Catalyst, Miami-Dade Community College – South Campus’s student newspaper.
I’m proud to have been his son
Early in the morning of Feb. 13, 1965, a C-46 transport was cleared for takeoff from Miami International Airport. There were no passengers aboard, just cargo. Its destination: San Salvador.
Unfortunately, two minutes after leaving the ground, the plane crashed in an auto junkyard on NW 47th Street not far from NW 37th Avenue. The two-man crew was killed.
That was 21 years ago today.
When I was six years old, the thought of something unsettling about my family crossed my mind when I observed that other children often talked about something wonderful and unknown ﹘ fathers. I, being curious and innocent, asked my mother what a “father” was.
My mom’s expression was one of tenderness and sadness. “Honey, you know your uncle, don’t you?”
I nodded, feeling a bit confused.
“Well, you know how he’s married to your aunt and has all his children living with him?”
I nodded again, bewildered now. What did that have to do with “fathers”?
I must have conveyed this thought to my mother, because she asked me if I had ever heard how my cousins referred to my uncle.
“Daddy,” I said. Even I knew that. But what did that mean?
“Alex,” Mom said, not knowing how to explain, (after all, the crash had ocurred four years before) “you have a father.”
I asked her again about what a father was, and she explained that briefly. Then I asked her where my father was.
“He’s in heaven, hon.”
The plane which had taken off on that February morning in ’65 was the only plane owned and operated by AESA, a Salvadoran cargo carrier. The pilot, a 45-year-old Colombian with 20 years of experience, left behind a young wife and two children. His name was Jeronimo Diaz-Granados. He was my father.
Much later, my mother and I would reminisce about that fateful morning and other things pertaining to my father. I also was made aware that I could never live up to my mom’s expectations as she was comparing between him and me.
She would, in moments of pique, say: “Your father would never say things like that.”
He was neat; I am not. He was a gentleman; I am not quite as refined as he was.
However, there is no “bad blood” between my father’s image and me. On the contrary, I love my father for what he was and who he was. I know my father would have died in an auto junkyard without endangering anyone below rather than attempt to land on the expressway or on a crowded runway. He would not have been able to live with himself had he saved his own life at the expense of others.
And for that, I’m proud to have been his son.