Angela Perez was on the trackwrestling.com site a while back, checking on her son’s progress, when she noticed irregularities. The son was competing at the University of Iowa, and the appropriate results appeared from his high-level college matches. But the entries also included a first-place finish at a tournament for 6-year-olds in Vacaville, as well as a local middle school competition.
To anyone but Angela Perez, this would qualify as a weird mystery.
I got to the bottom of it myself recently with a visit to the Perez family, on a quiet cul-de-sac near Windsor High School. Perez Perez, age 2, greeted me at the door, lifted his arms as if to be picked up and started telling me about how he wrestled a boy. In the living room was the family patriarch, Perez Perez, and the rest of his and Angela’s sons — Perez Perez, Perez Perez, Perez Perez and Perez Perez. Later, Perez’s son from a previous marriage, Perez Perez Jr., would show up with his son, Perez Perez III.
It’s a brainteaser that might be stumping North Bay wrestling followers for years.
Among family and close friends, the boys are addressed by their middle names. So Perez Emilio Perez, Angela’s oldest child and a junior at Iowa next year, is Emilio in the family circle. After him come David, 18 and a senior at Windsor; Leo, 10, fifth grade; Eli, 8, third grade; and Silas, who met me at the front door.
We will use those middle names in this story, as they do in the household, because to rely on first names would be to invite insanity.
“Oh, yeah, it would just be confusing,” Perez Sr. said. Then he added: “We don’t care if you’re confused.”
Not by now.
When Perez Sr. was a boy in Dinuba, the small San Joaquin Valley town, his father worked for the public cemetery. At one point the city moved a trailer onto the property and the family moved in, necessitating a school change for the boy. On his first day of class, he was drawn into the Abbott-and-Costello conversation in which all the Perez males have participated so many times.
What’s your name, the teacher asked. “Perez.”
What’s your last name? “Perez.”
No, then what’s your first name? “Perez.”
Around and around they went. The teacher thought the kid was being sassy and was about to send him to the principal’s office when he finally convinced her that his name was an echo. She composed herself and continued. OK, what’s your address?
“I don’t know,” Perez said. “We live in the cemetery.”
And that was just the first day of school. By now, the Perezes are intimately familiar with the “what’s your name” routine.
“At times it was probably once a day. But at least once a week, I have to explain it to somebody,” Perez Sr. said. “Usually I have to show my ID.”
And the double name becomes considerably trickier when it is repeated in each son like a strand of DNA. Teachers, coaches and casual acquaintances have all been struck dumb. It happened here at the PD, too. We were amused several years ago when a boy named Perez Perez emerged as one of our top local wrestlers at Windsor, and baffled a few years later when he had moved on to Iowa but “Perez Perez” started showing up again in our wrestling results.