Check Out This Real-Life Soap Opera

Posted on January 15, 2016 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

There is so much death, betrayal and redemption in Marlin Hernandez’ life story that it could swap in for a soap opera script. 

When Ms. Hernandez, two months pregnant and with two small children at home, left work the night of December 12, 2011, the new lover of her children’s father tried to attack her with a knife, Ms. Hernandez said. 

This was a low point in a life accustomed to confronting crises.

The story begins when Ms. Hernandez’ grandparents were killed after their American Airlines flight 587 crashed  on the JFK runway for its return trip on 11/12/01 to the grandparents’ homeland, the Dominican Republic. The U.S. gave green cards to relatives of those killed on board including then 11-year-old Marlin Hernandez.  

Since education and opportunities were few in the Dominican Republic, Ms. Hernandez, green card in hand, moved to New York City when she was 16 years old.  She lived alone in a rooming house, attended high school full time and worked 40 hours/week at a bodega to pay her rent.  She learned English by memorizing the names of items at the checkout counter and by watching American TV. At school she earned straight A’s.  

When the crime occurred Ms. Hernandez was attending Hostos Community College, working full time and raising her daughters. She recovered from the attack and, seven months later, gave birth to her third child.  But without help from her former fiancé, Ms. Hernandez needed to drop out and somehow support their three small children alone.  
Soon the young family fell behind on their rent and joined the growing surge of New Yorkers facing eviction.

Fortunately for them, the family found out first about Catholic Charities.

Read their full story in The New York Times.

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