I remember as a little girl the brown box arriving in the mail. I couldn’t wait till Gramita1 opened it. Wish I could have opened it! I knew just how to do it. After all, I watched her every month. Her every move. Checking off every item. Putting every object in the white crisp bags with the bright, bold, red letters emblazoned on the bag: AVON.
I must have been about 10 years old. But I could count and multiply and figure out the tax and all. But more than anything, I liked opening the big brown box and filling up those bags one by one, following the list of items on the receipts. Then folding the bag over and stapling the AVON receipt to it. It was ready for delivery! Job well done. Couldn’t wait to be a grown up and work just like Gramita! She’d always hum while she filled the AVON orders. … “Siempre que te pregunto, que cuando, cómo, y donde /tu siempre me respondes, quizas quizas quizas...”2
It wasn’t much different from what Papi did as a panadero.3 Everyday, including weekends and holidays, he would grab a few loaves of bread and fill the wire baskets in the bodegas,4 jot them down in what appeared to be scribble scrabble and collect the money.
Scribble scrabble on Avon receipts. Scribble scrabble on the bodegueros’5 receipts. No matter how you looked at it, they were both scribble scrabbling. Both scribbling and scrabbling while filling orders. And they both did it to music.
- Gramita is Spanglish [mix of Spanish and English] for “Grandma”. the suffix ‘-ita’ is a Spanish term of endearment.
- Popular song by Latina music legend, Celia Cruz: Everytime I ask you, when, how, and where / you always respond the same- perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.
- Papi is Spanish for “Dad”.
- Panadero is Spanish for “bread man”.
- Bodega is "grocery store".
- Bodeguero is “an owner of a bodega or person working at a bodega”.