Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Happy 16th birthday Olivia!

What a day 16 years ago. You came into the world a happy baby with a mop of black hair on your head and blond streaks. You didn't come out crying and even after cleaning you up, the doctors were concerned with your breathing or low oxygen level and then you surprised them with a loud cry. 
That's been the story of your life; quiet demeanor but with a rage of emotions right underneath. 
And now you are 16. 
This is your day to enjoy and be
To enjoy the company of those who love you
To enjoy a great milestone in your life. 
To be.
To be 16.
Soon the world will be yours, every path and road will be open to your choosing.
Soon you will be your own person.
A woman who will be forged by a combination of love, tears, pain, sadness, happiness, tenderness.
A woman who will love unconditionally 
A woman who will dream and cast away sadness and pain to emerge behind clouds and mountains like a new sunrise.
A woman who will stand on the love of those left behind.
A woman not yet to be.

Happy Birthday My Darling Olivia.
Love, Dad.

Cake by Mommy

Not quite finished

Mom and Grammy

Kevin, Bill, Kevin and Jack

The twins and Olivia

Daddy always supporting his baby

Kitty eating watermelon

Kids playing at Pappa Rick's new toy

The Ladies

The Kids

Aya and Didi.

Anthony and his gramma Yolanda

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

San Miguel Cajonos

San Miguel Cajonos, Oaxaca. Mexico

It is much easier to tell people that I am from Mexico City than to tell them I am from Oaxaca or even say "San Miguel" - There are probably hundreds of towns in all of Mexico with the name of a very revered Archangel. Saying Mexico City then is much easier to explain and some will know of the city because of a layover there or trips in past times.
I was born in this town in 1965. (You do the math). A town high up in the Sierra Madre where the fog envelops the mountains from early in the morning and you are truly awoken by the far cry of roosters and dogs. 
Modern times have arrived along with the dollar remittances from places as far as California, Minnesota and New York.Yet, the town still holds a tight grip on some people that year after year, documents or no documents, return to pay their homages to the Virgin or to San Miguel, who dutifully watches over his flock.
I lived here for only a short period of my life. From birth to about my 6th year of life. I remember many people along its muddy streets during the rainy season. Streets that are now covered with concrete but still get flooded with rain.

My father at the time was the only one of the siblings who did not emigrate to Mexico City like his brothers, perhaps because he was the only one who was married then and with kids. Eventually we'd all move to the big city to join my uncles.
While growing up there, I also remember trips to the fields of corn along with my grandfather or with other relatives. Harvest time required all family and extended family members to join in. 
My first language is not Spanish but rather the indigenous Zapotec of which exist many variations even from one town to the next. I was introduced to Spanish when I began attending our local elementary school, General Ignacio Zaragoza. (Big building in center of picture). I still remember my first teacher and perhaps of many in mine and other generations. Don Bernabe Crisantos.
It's been many years since I left, not just there but also Mexico City where I truly grew up. Even though more than half my life has been spent here in the Estados Unidos, that pull still exists and whether it is through pictures or stories of others, I relieve my infancy with each word or Images from San Miguel Cajonos.

(Thanks to my cousin Fernando Zarate for the pictures of his recent trip.)