Welcome to Rick Vasquez’s, the author’s website. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share with you what is important in my life. Throughout this website and through my novels, I look forward to sharing with you my heart, love, family and my God. I pray, that through my stories, that my characters, our family art and music, will become real to your life stories. I hope through our successes and struggles you will better understand your own personal paths in life. Though I am a Latino, I do not believe that my stories are only for Latino people. Strife, terror, love, happiness, joy and forgiveness is for all to hold and embrace. I believe in the greatness of each of us. That we must all continue to seek the good in our lives. How we must give reverence to our God so that we can understand love, patience and peace within our hearts.
It was 1960 a sunny day in South Los Angeles. Rafella, our grandmother lived in a white bungalow house with a step-up porch large enough to handle six cousins, all pre-teen boys. It was the older guys that gave us the vision that we were all on a ship. They told us we were in the middle of the ocean and the vessel was sinking. They made us younger ones jump ship. I was seven years old and though it was probably only three feet up from the ground, the fear of jumping overboard caused tears to come down my cheeks. I took a leap into the air and rolled onto the ground, feeling my body making sure I was alright. I got up and started climbing the porch stairs again ready to face my fears. The screen door opened and our grandmother came outside calling us to gather for ‘Grandma Time.’
My heart smiled, because ‘Grandma Time’ was so special to each of us. When we were young, we only got to see her maybe three times a year. However, we all knew the routine, and had our own special seats in the living room creating a circle around a lime green and white mystic coffee table. On top of the table were placed six tea cups and saucers. It was up to us to pick our own special cup. Well being the youngest of the six there was no choice just whatever cup that was left behind was mine. Our Grandma had a beautiful old antique white container, with gold that laced the edges surrounding the faded figurines dancing on the sides of the pot. She would come to each of us with the container, only taking off the lid when in front of each of us. It was her own ritual carefully executed, quickly closing the lid as though she was afraid that the magic would spill out. She would instruct each of us to reach in and grab a pinch of leaves and drop them into the tea cups. She always smiled and would have something encouraging to say about our choice of leaves. I was on the couch, next to my brother Mike and after his turn was over, she looked at me and closed her eyes and gave me a special smile. She tilted her head made a slight nod, as if somebody had just given her a spurt of a message for me. She opened the lid and I remember reaching into the jar realizing how special and how much I loved my grandmother. The leaves were dried almost prickly. I picked my portion sparely, mostly because I really didn’t care for the taste of the tea. Her eyes got big. “You need more leaves so that your fortune will be great.” Never before had I seen it happen, but she allowed me to double dip. She didn’t say anything just bunched her lips together and gave me an approving nod. After everybody got their leaves, our mothers would bring in hot kettles of water and fill our cups. Grandma would sit on the couch and would talk to us as we finished our tea. Somehow, she knew just the right topic to get our interest. She was fun, amazing and delivered her message in love. Each of us sucked down every drop of tea. We understood if we left any water, it would be considered tears. The excess water could place a damper on the entire reading. We had instructions from previous ‘Grandma Times,’ when we finished the tea to turn the cup over on the saucer. With our wish in mind, we knew to turn the cup handle three times around and tap the back of the cup three times. Then we had to wait until it was our turn to be loved. After she was done with my brothers reading, she placed their cups back onto the saucer right side up. When she got to my cup and looked inside, she closed her eyes and smiled. “You are going to be in the movie industry.” She looked at me as if she was repeating something in her head. “You are going to be a storyteller. And many people will hear your stories, and through your tales, you will heal people’s hearts.”
I was seven years old when I first was told what my calling was. I’m a storyteller and a healer of hearts.
RADIO INTERVIEW with Ric Bratton