Dorothy Vazquez (Brownsville Recreation Center)
My name is Dorothy Vasquez and I was born in South Carolina. I grew up on a farm; my father was a farmer. It was a typical southern farm, with corn and cotton, but cotton was our main income. I was raised there until I was twenty-one, and then I came to New York where I continued my education. I moved here one month before my 21st birthday. I said, “I’m outta here,” and I never looked back. I’ve always been a great reader, and I always felt that New York was the place I wanted to be. It seemed to be an exciting place to live, and of course the South is not so exciting to me, and I like excitement so…I left. I finished high school here because being on the farm, you didn’t go to school in the South back in those days. You had to work on the farm. So I finished my education here in New York, and then I started working for the phone company, which at the time was Ma Bell, and then I went on to AT&T when they split in the early 80’s. I retired from AT&T in 2004. I worked for AT&T for thirty-six years and I loved it. I really did.
Since being in New York, I’ve lived in Queens and Brooklyn. I eventually found love in New York, I most certainly did, but it took me a while to find it and I enjoyed looking! I enjoyed the single life because I came from a very large family. I had twelve sisters and eight brothers. There were thirteen girls and eight boys—my mother had seventeen altogether. So after I came to New York, I was so glad to be on my own. I really enjoyed it. And then when I was thirty-eight I met my husband, who I’ve been married to for thirty years now, and we have one child together. My husband is a retired educator. He was a teacher for a long time in New York. My son is twenty-eight, and he is my pride and joy, my miracle baby—the only one I have. I had him one month before my 40th birthday. I’d tried repeatedly and it wasn’t happening, so that’s why I call him my miracle baby.
Brownsville has a lot of activities. I do the dance class, the exercise class, and I joined the gym there. And I belong to several different senior groups. I belong to a particular AARP chapter. I belong to the Joy of Life senior group, I belong to The Golden Nugget Senior Group—I have different groups, I don’t belong to just one. I like to do a lot of things, and I really like to dance. As a matter of fact, they wrote something up about me briefly in the New York Times. There’s something called “Lunchtime Let’s Dance” where you eat lunch and then you go and dance it off. I happened to be in Manhattan when I had an invitation from somebody to participate. So I had a healthy lunch and then I boogied down! That was fun for me.
I’m also a jogger. I like to jog and I like to compete. I’ve competed in the senior games in upstate New York, Courtland, and I won a few things! I have a few trophies for power walking. I’m just very physically motivated. I try to stay physically fit. I get up in the morning and I jog. I go to the track around four in the morning and I work out until five o’clock every day. I love it!
I learned about The Tempest when I joined the dance class at Brownsville Recreation Center. At first, I was just in it because I liked the music. The minute I hear music, my body starts tingling inside. And then when they were discussing us being in The Tempest I actually thought it was a joke and didn’t think they were serious. But they were, and now I’m here!