Monthly Archives: April 2022

Familia Peralta

Familia Peralta ~ 2017

Summer in the Waiting Room: Faith • Hope • Love

Chapter 7: Familia Peralta

During those long phone calls between our first and second dates, I got to know Sandra very well. She’s the second of four daughters born to Fausto and Connie Peralta. He was a construction worker and she a cannery worker. They built a family with their four daughters: Valerie, Sandra, Kimberley, and Shelley. Raising four girls was a challenge for Fausto and Connie as each woman has her own distinct personality. Collectively, the Peralta girls made an impression at Silver Creek High School and proudly call San Jose State University their alma mater. A large photo of the sisters standing together, resplendent in college cap and gown under the shadow of the university’s ivy-covered Tower Hall, sits in the entryway of the Peralta house.

Valerie was born in Fresno, California, in 1961. She grew to be a strong-willed girl who did well in school, participated in the cheerleading squad in high school. The birth of Kimberley, the third Peralta daughter, came three years after Sandra in 1969. Like her older sisters, Kimberley did well in the classroom and participated in after-school activities such as the marching band. Kimberley has a nurturing and faithful character that seeks compromise and accommodation whenever possible. The youngest of the Peralta dynasty from Silver Creek High School is Shelley, born exactly ten years after Valerie on December 28, 1971. She is unassumingly intelligent yet boisterous and independent with a fiery spirit that can be witty in one instance and cynical the next. All four sisters are intensely loyal to their own individual families, each other, their parents, and extended family and friends.

Once Sandra and I started dating on a regular basis, I realized that acceptance into the family required developing a relationship with each sister on a one-on-one basis in addition to building trust with Sandra’s parents. Although this was a tall order for a young man mired in his failures and ambiguous future, my upbringing centered on respect and integrity, and my accommodating personality, not to mention my absolute adoration of Sandra, set the foundation for my relationship with the Peralta family.

Over the years, I also developed deep and strong relationships with the Peralta girls’ husbands. Valerie’s husband, Eddie Velez, and I became close as we were the “big brothers.” We sometimes worked construction jobs with Mr. Peralta to make extra money and often helped each other with household projects. When Kimberley and her husband, Miguel Rocha, were dating in college, she turned to me often for advice. Once I got to know Miguel, we soon learned that we shared the same intense ambition of achieving success at the highest level possible. Shelley’s husband, Pancho Leyva, and I have a passion for sports. During our younger days, we were a mischievous team when the beer started flowing.

I have a true affection for Eddie, Miguel, and Pancho. Together, we are about as close as any four brothers could be. Sandra’s parents, her three sisters, and my three compadres would play a major role in the events that unfolded in the summer of 2010.

Sandra Peralta

Sandra in her Firebird at Welch Park ~ 1985

Summer in the Waiting Room: Faith • Hope • Love

Chapter 6: Sandra Peralta

During the day and on weekends, I was peddling shoes at Kinney’s. During the week, I coached a Catholic school baseball team at Welch Park in east San Jose. One day, while hitting ground balls at practice, I noticed a shiny car slowly rolling down Santiago Avenue, the roadway that ran between Welch Park and the row of houses across the street. The driver of that silver 1984 Firebird turning left into the driveway of the house right across the street from home plate would forever change my life.

Every day I stopped practice, to the merriment of the thirteen- and fourteen-year-old boys, as the beautiful young woman drove up to her house. I watched her gather belongings from the car, sling her backpack over one shoulder, and sip a soda as she walked into the garage that led to the house. Day in and day out, every afternoon, like clockwork, she rolled down the street and turned into the driveway in her silver Firebird. I always stopped practicing to watch her routine. The adolescent boys chuckled and teased at the spectacle.

After a week or so, the mischievous boys dared me to walk across the street and ask her out on a date. As I approached her in the garage, I finally had the chance to see her up close. She took my breath away. She had smooth, fair skin; high cheekbones; long, flowing brown hair combed in the style of the day; big brown doe eyes; and cute lips that curled just slightly at the top. With confident reserve, she said, “My name is Sandra.” I nervously introduced myself. I shuffled my feet without taking my eyes off her eyes and mumbled several things I don’t remember. She left me speechless. I didn’t have the courage to ask her out, even though that’s not what I told my players.

During the next several weeks, the kids on the team kept asking if I had gone out on a date with Sandra. I told them with authority that a gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell. Of course, there were no kisses and nothing to tell. Every afternoon, when she slipped out of her car, I waved my hand to say hello in an effort to catch her attention, but I don’t remember if she ever waved back. When the baseball season ended, I had no reason to go back to Welch Park. I kicked myself for not asking Sandra for her telephone number. 

A couple of months after the garage encounter, I was hitting the town with old high school friends barhopping. I suggested that we stop at a wedding at the invitation of a friend. On that summer night in 1985, I walked into the reception hall wearing a dark suit and blue tie acting like I owned the place. I instantly saw Sandra. She was radiant, wearing a navy-blue pencil skirt and starched white blouse. She smiled demurely when our eyes made contact. Up to this point, Sandra and I agree on how the events unfolded. We have vastly different perspectives on what happened during the next few minutes. I remember walking to Sandra and respectfully asking her to dance. She insisted that I waved from across the room and pointed to the dance floor, as if to say, “Meet me there.” We’re the only witnesses to the disputed incident, so I’m sure the whole episode will go with us to our respective graves. Nevertheless, we danced.

Mark Your Calendar!

Book cover design and artwork by Erica García ~ proyectoxtra.com

***MARK YOUR CALENDAR***

June 7, 2022

The book will be available in paperback and on Kindle.

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BOOK SYNOPSIS

My mind swirled with random thoughts that ranged from doom to confusion to relief. Could I be having a heart attack? We got to the elevator in the hospital and went down one floor. When the elevator doors opened, we raced across the lobby straight into the emergency room, where I arrived at 7:41 p.m. Three doctors wearing white smocks waited for us. Within seconds, I got my answer. One of the doctors said, in a calm and matter-of-fact voice, “Mr. García, you’re having a heart attack.” ~ June 7, 2010 (page 90)

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Summer in the Waiting Room is Eddie García’s true story about youthful promise, unfulfilled potential, temporary success, catastrophic illness, and spiritual awakening. After flunking out of college, he goes on a frenetic quest to vanquish failure demons and achieves short-lived vindication through college graduation and career accomplishments. A sudden heart attack and rare lung complication lead to a hopeless summer clinging to life in the ICU. In the end, he goes on a spiritual journey that leads to a remarkable recovery and long-lasting redemption. 

Readers who face desperate situations will be inspired by Eddie’s story. Many families turn to prayer to help them endure devastating setbacks. Summer in the Waiting Room is a detailed and inspiring story about how a near death experience, modern medicine, and faith in God converge to nourish one family’s optimism in faith, hope, and love. 

Eddie’s experience as an ICU patient gives readers a firsthand account of what it takes to survive a life-threatening health crisis. He uses medical records and personal interviews to create a fast-paced narrative about how his life story led to a frightening and ultimately uplifting summer. Eddie brings to life his carefree youth, personal struggles, professional success, and courageous fight for life. Summer in the Waiting Room is sure to bring smiles and hope to those who feel hopeless.

***

Eddie García ~ 2022

Eddie García is a heart attack and heart transplant survivor. In 2010, a massive blockage in an artery referred to as the “widow maker” led to a decade of living with  congestive heart failure. A successful heart transplant in 2020 inspired him to tell his story. He is the author of ESEReport.com, a blog that shares his experiences as a working-class kid, public servant, corporate executive, and heart attack survivor to uplift readers with faith, hope, and love. Eddie lives in San Jose, California with his wife Sandra. They have two grown daughters, Marisa and Erica. (Photo by Buggsy Malone ~ @buggsy_malone_13)