"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.