Have you seen Luis Velez? That was the question that became the starting point of a close friendship between Raymond Jaffe and Mildred Gutermann. An unusual way to introduce oneself, isn’t it?
Who are these people? Raymond Jaffe is a young man who is lost. He feels like he doesn’t belong. Not with his mother’s new family. Not as a weekend guest with his father and his father’s wife. At school, he’s an outcast. Besides, his best friend moved away, and now Raymond is alone. He has only one real connection: to the feral cat, he’s tamed.
But one day he meets a blind ninety-two-year-old woman, Mildred Gutermann, in his building. This woman introduced herself with a curious question: Have you seen Luis Velez?
Mildred is a German Jew who barely escaped the Holocaust. She has been alone since her caretaker disappeared. She asks Raymond for help, and as he tries to track Luis down, deep and unexpected friendship blossoms between them.
Despondent at the loss of Luis, Mildred isolates herself further from a neighborhood devolving into bigotry and fear. Determined not to let her give up, Raymond helps his new friend see that for every terrible act the world delivers, there is a mirror image of deep kindness. In turn, Mildred helps Raymond see that there’s hope if you have someone to hold on to.
Read this story about true friendship, Have You Seen Luis Velez?, by Catherine Ryan Hyde. You’ll like it, we promise!