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The Turnpikes of Blissfulness


Tiffany Alfonso


AS DISSONANT AS PSALM 23, my life made a perfect fit to a family who bores a Filipino heritage. After my glorious years back in New Jersey, from my birth to my last dance recital, I moved to Florida to expect new relatives who were either Filipinos or Phil-Americans. But my life in the state, abundant with an aggregation of tourists and attractions, has changed.

It was not only September 11, 2001, that appalled the aspects of life in the southernmost state, but on grades 6-7 I lost two men in my family. They're different people, with different cancers: on grade 6, I lost my grandfather to colon cancer; my father was also defeated by liver cancer a grade later. Both were buried in the same mausoleum, side by side.

All three events, September 11, 2001, and the two deaths of my family had me searching for the treasure trove of nostalgia, a look back to my childhood when the long-dead men were living and the start of a Catholic life. I usually picture Sheridan Avenue, Highland Avenue, John Street, The Forum School, and other places I've been before fourth grade.

Back in my early years in New Jersey, the Passaic River was a clean stream of water that runs along the banks of Route 21, leading to Newark Airport, the starting point of my vacations. That memory was compared to the present, when it was ranked sixth place on the Top Ten Polluted Rivers of the World. The toll roads of the Garden State were embedded in my head, a cranium that churns memories like Land Of Lakes Brand Butter. It was a mixture of American lifestyles of the early 90's, Filipino immigrants, and nostalgia. They're implanted inside my imagination, even back in 1989...

Chapter One

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