During his childhood in the 1980s, Univision News writer Arturo Conde remembers traveling with his family—who had emigrated from the Galicia region of Spain—to Long Island to visit San Quemeiro beach, a multicultural vacation spot where he would mingle with other Spanish-speaking kids.
Surprised that you’ve never heard of it? Maybe you have.
I spent many long afternoons there swimming and playing soccer with other children from Portugal, Spain, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. I could hear Spanish, Portuguese, and English spoken at the beach, and thought it had that lyrical Galician or Portuguese sounding name because those immigrant communities had settled there. I didn’t find out until years later, when I drove out with some English-speaking high school friends to “San Quemeiro,” that my family had mispronounced the beach’s English name “Sunken Meadow,” and appropriated it to fit our Galician-Spanish background. Today, the made up name evokes for me the real and imagined existence of many Latino immigrants who live between languages.
Conde’s story opens the door for discussion about language and identity, and what it means to be an immigrant caught between two languages, in his case, Spanish and English.