WHO: Jorge Rene Duque

RESIDENT OF: Mississauga, Ontario Canada

WHAT: The Boy’s Suitcase

WHERE FROM: Cuenca, Ecuador

WHEN: 1960

My arrival in Detroit was my first stop in a journey that my brother had set for me. My next stop was a farm in Dresden Ontario where I worked as a farmhand for 6 months. There were many other new homes over the next 4 years until I found my way to Toronto.

With every move I made my suitcase was my only companion. It had been a gift from my sister who prepared it for my departure from the family home.

I got married, my children grew up and with my work fulfilled I retired. With time in my hands I again found my suitcase, now over 60 years old. My friend was looking for a story behind my voyage and what I had brought with me. It seemed odd to have a story around a simple, old, battered suitcase.

But when I opened the lid the memories came rushing back in. Inside, battered and torn was a color poster showing the presidents of Ecuador from the nation’s beginnings after it separated from Spain until the president in power when I departed for Canada. Why I brought it with me I don’t remember but I find a rare connection with my homeland when I see it.

Next to it I found a small cloth religious broach with the symbol of the Sacred Heart. A gift from my now departed sister whom used to make them by hand. A little religious memento that reminded me of my faith and of a sister who cared for her younger sibling in a very special way.

Looking at my old suitcase I think back and reminisce while at the same time feeling grateful for a life well lived in this my home now.


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