Memoir of a Visionary: Antonia Pantoja

By Antonia Pantoja; Henry A. J. Ramos | Go to book overview

Sixth Part
Return to Puerto Rico and Return to
New York (1969–1983)

Returning Home

On an extremely cold morning in January 1969, my sister Lydia, who still lived in New York City and liked to take care of me when I needed her, accompanied me to Kennedy Airport to move to Puerto Rico. Most of my belongings had been packed by her and sent ahead, so that I only carried a suitcase. I felt very sick that morning and appreciated Lydia’s loving care. A friend of mine, Barbara Blourock, joined us at the airport. She would go with me to Puerto Rico. I had decided to leave New York after I had spent many sleepless nights wheezing with asthma and being told by my doctor that I had to leave New York during the winter. The asthma was so bad that you could hear a whistling noise when I spoke.

The month of January had arrived with temperatures of ten to fifteen degrees below zero, so it was unbearable for me to walk in the cold to the subway or take a cab. Other, further complicating matters were that I could not sleep in my apartment with the heat on. This made it impossible for me to function. I made my decision and left in a hurry. My plan was to live in one of the houses that I had purchased in Old San Juan, the one that needed fewer repairs. The living expenses would be covered by my savings until the health insurance from the National Association of Social Workers arrived. I knew that the investigative process would take some time, but I was not prepared for the lack of response and denial of my claim. They denied the request

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