"Remember El Alma" First On-site Performance Challenging the Alamo, March 2010

"Remember El Alma," First on-site performance
challenging the Alamo
original poem written by Barbara Renaud Gonzalez

Adapted by Virginia Grise; Produced by Bihl Haus Arts, Kellen McIntyre, Ph.D; Performed at Luminaria!
San Antonio, Hemisfair Plaza, San Antonio, Texas, March 13, 2010; 5 Actresses, 1 Musician
A cast of beautiful women, all ages and colors, from
all over San Antonio
; Foto Credit: Joan Frederick @2010

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Can I get a VIA Bus after my cerveza?

Okay, so today I met with Juan Lopez, who, like me, rides the VIA bus.

If you live in the city, the bus is pretty good if you're going north/south.  It's the crosstown buses and the 551 Looper that drives me crazy.  I wish they were more colorful, like in Mexico, and that the drivers were allowed to play their music!  This Calvinist heritage!  But I love the bus.  Babies, tattoos, the elderly, ride the bus.
Humanity.  For reals.

Today, Juan said something really profound.

"If the city is so concerned about DWIs (Los borrachos, he means), then why doesn't VIA offer
24-hour service during Fiesta?"

Are you listening, VIA?

I know you offer special service for the basketball games, the Rodeo,
And God knows what else...

Or is the City wanting the fines from the DWIs or maybe just wants to put more borrachos in jail?


Sunday, March 23, 2014

The tragedy of my family

I am the oldest of eight.  I am going to tell you something my siblings won't face -- the drugging and drinking that has destroyed us as a family.

Alcohol.  Drugs.  All my siblings, addicted now or in the past, except me and the disabled Daniel.  The reason for prison, death, and jail and/or -- for three of my brothers -- each a separate story but the same one too.

My father, Roberto Renaud, passed away a few weeks ago.  He was 95 years old, and had spent the last three years in a nursing home here in San Antonio, Texas.  He was a brutal father, but he tried.  He tried.  A sharecropper who worked infinite hours in the Texas Panhandle.  A WWII veteran.

His family, an old Tejano family, has a family plot, a camposanto, outside of Raymondville.  It's all the family has left after the U.S. Mexican War.  It's a windswept acre of land a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico that includes our family's graves beginning in the 20th century.  My grandparents, great-uncles and aunts, cousins, are all buried there.

My father saved the money from his Social Security check to pay for his casket so he could be buried there too.  And for the 21-gun salute.

My brothers and sisters are all well-educated.  Out of the eight of us, six of us finished college and five have advanced degrees.  The youngest has a Ph.D.   My father didn't get to finish high school.  My mother was forced to leave school in the second grade.

They were not perfect -- this is one of the themes of my novel.  But they dreamed for us.  Oh, they dreamed, sacrificed, worked and worked some more.  This is all they knew.  My mother died of chronic alcoholism. My father had a slow and difficult death because of his emphysema.

We suffered too, their divorce when I was in graduate school.  And maybe this is why none of my siblings came to Daddy's funeral except my youngest brother.  One of the brothers, still on parole, was just arrested on DWI...and couldn't make it.  (He had written to me prior saying he wasn't gonna come anyway)

Their children didn't come either.  Only Charlie's son, from the brother who died years ago, and who brought his children.  He gives me hope,

Several had announced they weren't coming to the funeral, including the Dharma leader in Oakland.
Nothing new there.  She didn't attend our mother's funeral, either.  Says she won't be coming to my disabled brothers funeral, and he surely hasn't done anything to her.

Only the one in Poland who escaped from all this wanted to come, and he couldn't afford it.

Because I've confronted each of my siblings about their addictions, I am hated and scorned.  Now I know how cruelty continues -- from one generation to the next and the next.

I will get over this.  Friends tell me that mine is the most dysfunctional family they've ever seen.

I have loved my family.  But they have chosen their fears, their drugs and drinking, their past memories of God-knows-what instead of what we might-have-been.  They obviously don't want or can't be in this family.  To be buried side by side in a Texas camposanto.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tray on was on my bus the other day

Because of my brain surgery, I haven't been able to drive.  A few weeks ago, two teenage black men got on the 550 bus during rush hour.  In Texas, if you don't have a car, that is a liability, because we really don't have good mass trans.

The taller kid was in a mood, and they sat at the front, which is generally reserved for mothers with babies, elders, and wheelchair riders.  The young man, let's call him Trey, sat besides an older, dishevled, white guy who was taking all the leg room, rocking to his IPod music.

Trey told the white guy to make room, but the white guy, let's call him Mr. Z, didn't move an inch.  He was not about to be instructed by someone like him.  I could smell his fear.  Their voices got louder and louder, amidst the clamor of voices, the smoky, sweaty, murmuring of working-class accents, and the roaring bus.

Young man, what has your mother taught you?

The teenager looked at the older black woman behind him, and stopped fidgeting and elbowing.
He was about to explode and show this old guy...Then


Trey's manhood was wounded.  Somehow, her churchy voice penetrated.  It won't always be like this, she seemed to say.  It's not worth it.  You are just as good as him.  

He got off at the next stop.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

My Sister the Buddhist Who

Susana didn't come to my mother, her mother's, funeral in 2000.
Says she's not coming to my father's funeral, who is in hospice care in a nursing home.
And hasn't visited our disabled brother in twelve years.

I know she thinks she's too good for Texas.  Well, so is Wendy Davis.

She is a licensed therapist, and a dharma leader in the Bay Area.

D H A R M A.  She yelled this to me as I was recovering from brain surgery in February.

Tell me, how did she enter the helping and healing professions?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Los perros finos de San Antonio

They are all over the city, running geese with tails and woofs.  Many  have mange, others have the signs of wounded battles, and others are like these, bones and waiting for the last day.  Los perros flacos, and I saw this one a few weeks ago when I was reading at the Memorial Library on Culebra.  There are two of them:  one is a black pit, I call him "Negro," who loves me now, and this white one, "La Flaca," her bones crackle when she walks.  Negro runs the show, I guess.

You need to get rid of these dogs, the homeowner says.  She says that people dump dogs here, and the City hasn't been able to catch them.  Since I've been feeding them, they come to me, and Negro jumped into my van this morning.  He's ready to go.  You ready for the doggie garden?  It was the deer strips, I think.