People of Chelsea: Oswaldo A. Gil – 2021

By Darlene DeVita

The following is one in a series of sneak peeks at the upcoming People of Chelsea additions by Chelsea Photographer Darlene DeVita. The new work will ultimately appear on the fence of the Chelsea Public Library (CPL) Spring of 2022 a collaboration between the People of Chelsea project and the CPL.)

I’ve been in Chelsea since 2000.  I am a chauffeur. Today I’m the chauffeur for the [COVID] testing van, [driving] almost one month for this project. Before the pandemic, I drove one of the big buses that take people to the casino from Londonderry, that was the route I drove for about a year before the pandemic. They’ve canceled it for now.

Our kids were born in Colombia. At nine years old, we brought our son [here], and our daughter was twelve. Now they are more than thirty years old.  We started early.  I was twenty-one years old. The good thing is you finish early too!

My [ex] wife is a hairdresser. It was her vocation since she was small, she cut her doll’s hair, and she taught our daughter. She did that in Colombia and here. They work here on Broadway. And our daughter, Vero, Veronica, sews dresses, does makeup, and sold her car seven years ago to go to school. She went to California, near Hollywood, to study makeup and everything.

We have a grandson, 14 years old, Mike’s son. He started early too!  He’s a really good kid. He listens and is obedient. Michael knows what he needs to do. He knows what my ex-wife and me did for Michael; we worked hard.  If the father and mother are not paying attention, it’s tough. People are working hard, working full-time, part-time, both of them, that’s why you must watch your son.  One time I told my boss that I have a problem with my son, I need to leave early. No problem [he said], you need a car, whatever you need, this is your son.  I left work two hours early to watch him when school got out. Later I told him, “Oh come on, I told you don’t stay outside the school!” [He said], “Oh, how did you know, blah blah?” At night, my wife would look through his backpack, checking what he had inside; if we didn’t do that, it’s easy to lose the son or daughter. We were a good team about that, thank god. Today we’re happy because our son Mike just passed the physical test to be a state trooper.

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