July 21, 2010
When I had to choose who I wanted to interview for my ethnography paper I knew right from the start it had to be my grandfather, Jose Alvarez. Since I was a little girl, I grew up in his two family house, on the first floor, watching him plant flowers, vegetables and even fruit trees gave me a glimpse at his special gift. I always saw him on his spare time being involved with his garden or either building something with his hands. Even though we lived in the city, our back yard was a decent size. He made it a priority to section off a piece, and made a garden big enough to contain all sorts of vegetables.
Jose Alvarez, born on Feb 18 1937, grew up in the island of Puerto Rico, in a town called Canovanas, just south of San Juan, the capital. He was the second oldest out of ten children. His parents were from Spaniard decent and carried their customs and traditions down to their children. He remembers growing up in a hard working house. Growing up, he remembers it being about all work and no play in order to sustain the whole family. Every child in the family had chores to do, from the time they woke up until it was time to go to bed. During this time they didn’t have any special accommodies that we are used today. Jose grew up with no refrigerator, stove, or running water. Jose’s family had very little money and during this time, they would use what they had on their farm as currency to get what they needed.
For my interview, I decided to ask my questions personally. I went to Jose Alvarez house where he, my grandmother, Carmen Alvarez and his nephew, Euclides Calderon, were in the kitchen waiting for my arrival. Jose’s kitchen has a very clean and contemporary feel. It has white cabinets with dark granite countertops, there are ceramic fruit figures hanging all around the walls and there’s