And my name just happened to have a very famous Baltimore baseball surname: APARICIO.
So, just how did my last name wind up being so Latin in a household that was pure Dundalk and pure Irish Catholic meets Southern Baptist?
Well, here goes the story as I know it. And to be honest, most of my Venezuelan relatives lied to me most of the time any way. Not making any cultural remark there, just calling it like it was.
My Dad and his brother, my Uncle Omar, came from Maracaibo, Venezuela during the mid 1960′s, when Luis was a member of the Orioles. They shared the same name as their cousin — Luis Aparicio.
I suppose if my Dad, who shares my first name as well, would’ve come to America in the late 1950′s, I’d be drinking Old Style and celebrating last year’s White Sox win.
Or I guess I might not have existed at all…
But by the time I was adopted in 1981 by my Mom and Pop, I had been using my paternal father’s name for 13 years, so we just decided it would be easier to use Aparicio than to switch for school and stuff. My adopted legal name however has a hyphen and my Pop’s last name, even though I’ve never thought of using it as an adult (I thought if it was good enough for Farrah Fawcett-Majors, then it was good enough for me).
I have never used any name other than Aparicio in my life.
My paternal father met my maternal mother at an event in the mid-1960s and I’m sure it must’ve been a place where lots of alcohol was served. In a match made in hell that brought me into this crazy world, they were married in the summer of 1966 at Our Lady of Fatima Church. I still have the photo album (and I bet they fought on their wedding night!). I was born on October 14, 1968, just four days after the Detroit Tigers beat the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7 of World Series. Bob Gibson was great but Mickey Lolich was better.
My parents’ relationship didn’t work out so well, to say the least. Fighting, drinking, crazy families, people in institutions, and usually, the cops paid an annual visit each Christmas Eve once the spiked punch and the beer led to near riots