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Jorge Ravelo

Legend Trial #4

My brother Jorge was actually my cousin because my father was actually Jorge's uncle, godfather, and adopted father. But Jorge was raised like one of us - he was just as much a Ravelo as David or Penelope (he just had a different mama).

 

 

You see, my aunt and uncle (Jorge's birth parents) had been killed by rustlers on a ranch near the border where they had been working for the summer. Baby Jorge stayed with my aunt's sister Celina for a little while, but she was barely a teenager and so my mother and father arranged for them to come up to San Diego.

 

The only heirloom left to Jorge by his birth parents was a rosary. When he was preparing for his first communion, he used to perform the most curious recitation of the rosary on Saturdays:

(1) While reflecting on the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, he'd say the 1st Hail Mary. Then, he'd reflect on the Presentation of Our Lord and say the 10th Hail Mary.
(2) While reflecting on the Presentation of Our Lord, he'd say the 10th Hail Mary.
(3) While reflecting on the Presentation of Our Lord, he'd say the 8th, 9th, and 10th Hail Marys. Then, he'd reflect on the Visitation and say the 2nd Hail Mary.
(4) While reflecting on the Presentation of Our Lord, he's say the 8th, 9th, and 10th Hail Marys.
(5) While reflecting on the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, he'd say the 2nd Hail Mary. Then, he'd reflect on the Presentation of Our Lord and say the 8th and 10th Hail Marys.
(6) While reflecting on the Presentation of Our Lord, he'd say the 8th and 9th Hail Marys. Then, he'd reflect on the Visitation and say the 1st Hail Mary.

 

Even though our parents were open about almost every piece of Jorge's history throughout our entire lives, Doris, Penelope, and I used to speculate about Jorge's real history. Perhaps he was a moonman or young Aunt Celina's lovechild or a blindwoman's orphan! Looking back, muted whisperings between mama and papa must have planted the seeds in our minds that something about Jorge's history was being concealed.

It wasn't a very big deal - he'd just been renamed "Jorge" when our parents adopted him. I found out while I was helping my father sort through old paperwork after mother fell ill the first time around. I stumbled upon a copy of a baptismal certificate for a Ravelo boy with Jorge's birthdate but not Jorge's name. It seems a little harsh to change the name of a child, but there are cultures that will wait years before naming a child. While it didn't suit my parents' nature to rename someone, I didn't really think twice about the situation, assuming that they had surely had their reasons. Still, the original name was plain and not too different in spirit than "Jorge."

Years later, during my mother's wake, I learned that she'd had a brother whom I'd never met nor heard tale of. When I pressed my father on the matter that evening, he revealed to me that mother had had a twin brother who committed suicide on their fifteenth birthday. Her brother's name was the same as Jorge's birthname. The whole matter had understandable been a very sensitive thing for my mother.

She had agreed to adopt Jorge and raise him as her own on the single condition that she and my father change his name and never utter his previous name again, as it bore with it somber memories of her brother's untimely, sinful, and tragic death.

In order to honor mother's pain, I too refrain from writing or uttering Jorge's birthname. But, family, you can determine his name if you take pause and reflect.

   

 

 

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