Dimelo: The Hispanic Heritage Month Virgin

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I have a confession to make: I'm a Hispanic Heritage Month virgin.

That's right. Even though the month-long celebration recognizing the histories, cultures, and contributions of American Latinos began in 1968—and I was born in 1977, mind you—this is my first time showing up for the party.

Don't get your 'chonis in a bunch yet, my friends. I'm here now and I plan to use the four weeks between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15 to make up for lost time.

I've mentioned before that I am a first-generation Mexican American. Growing up, my entire world was mi familia. There was dinner at Tia and Tio's every Sunday, quinceañeras for las primas, and a great respect for innate talent my relatives showed by being able to turn any dinner leftovers into tomorrow's breakfast...simply by scrambling it with eggs. My sisters and I felt smug and worldly when we said things like "Mom's making milanesas for dinner tonight" and "Madrina and Padrino just sent me a birthday card" because we said the right words with an accent.