Jaime Concepcion: Forever Seeking a
he was not there. Not when she turned 15. Or when she
graduated from high school. To Kirsy Concepcion, growing
up in the Dominican Republic, her father, Jaime, was
little more than a voice on a long- distance call
promising that she and her two sisters would join him in
New York someday.
Finally, last July, Miss Concepcion, 21, flew to New
York, visa in hand. The man whose voice she knew by heart
met her at the airport. They got to his apartment in
Washington Heights after 3:30 a.m., time for him to head
to his job as receiving clerk at Windows on the World. "I
really didn't know what he liked or what he didn't like,"
Miss Concepcion said. "But he kept saying it was a
mistake to have left us."
Immigrant life in New York was not easy for Mr.
Concepcion, 46. He worked in restaurant kitchens and
saved his money. Over the years, he met another woman and
started a second family. But he kept promising they would
be together. "He'd say, `If it takes till the day I die
you are going to come to New York,' " recalled Virginia
Concepcion, Kirsy's older sister.
After all those years apart, Kirsy Concepcion had just
two months with her father, but she will never forget a
single moment of them. Her sister Mercedes had a few
weeks longer. But Virginia Concepcion's visa was not
approved until November. Phone calls and photographs are
all she has.