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or Texas but visit the awful grandmother in Mexico, whose brothers taunt, “Girl. We can’t play with a girl.” When the girls grow up, their innocence is stolen by such as Boy Baby, the charming streetman whose real name is Chato or Fat-Face, while tending Abuelito’s vendor cart “I don’t know how many girls have gone bad from selling cucumbers …” or by the Seguin man who brings a girl north of the border to a life clouded with violence between the neighbor women Many of these girls don’t grow up to marry. One becomes the woman who vows not to ever be a wife because she has witnessed the infidelities of too many men and have helped them do it “unzipped and unhooked and agreed to clandestine maneuvers” in bars that have the same red carpets and flocked wallpaper; a parttime artist, translator and teacher, refugee from the Mexican middle class, living with the poor class, invited to the parties of the rich, the woman in bed with the light-skinned man while his wife labors at the hospital in child birth. \(“Never from Laredo, a legendary secretary who became involved in escalando with a Texan, and later the wrestler King Kong Cardenas. \(“La Fabulosa: Centeno’s Mexican supermarket, the one with the plastic hair combs and purple blouse crocheted from shiny yarn worn over her jeans instead of tucked in order to cover her big stomach. When they get together to talk with their girlfriends, they debate who knows the friend who knows the real Marlboro Man: “Well all I know is he was called Durango. And he owned a ranch out in the hill country that once belonged to Lady Bird Johnson. And he and some friends of the Texas Tornadoes lost a lot of money investing in some recording studio that was supposed to have thirty-six tracks instead of the usual sixteen, or whatever. And he gave Romelia hell, always chasing any young thang that wore a When they get interested in Mexican history, they wonder as much about Zapata’s kept women as his military strategy. Cisneros explains, “I set about creating a female character that would be the equivalent of Zapata in power. But it was hard to find a profession for a woman that would giver her the rank. The only thing I could make her was a witch woman.” And so, the story of Ines Alfaro, the woman who flies in a wide expanse of moon-white feathers to spy on a lover’s infidelities, whose own mother, called perm by her husband, was caught in a field in the act of adultery and turned in by her lover to die at the hands of villagemen who drive cane stakes through her. And when these women pray, they go to the shrine of Don Pedrito Jaramillo in South Texas. They ask for money to come, give thanks for surviving accidents, pray for a good man, a good job, a recovery. Instead of the traditional saints, they address their prayers to the saints of America Nino Fidencio, Pancho Villa, the Seven African Powers, John F. Kennedy, Virgencita de Guadalupe, Milagroso Cristo Negro, Our Lady of Sorrows. And instead of leaving a prayer note, at least one chooses to cut her braid and pin it to the Virgin’s statue along with the many milagroes, hospital bracelets and other small sacrifices, the prayer of the single woman, a refugee from tradition: “Is that what they teach you at the university? Miss High-and-Mighty. Miss Thinks-She’s-Too-Good-For-Us. Acting like a bolilla, a white girl. Malinche.” \(“Little These are the stories of women whose names up to now have been whispered if mentioned at all. Now, with a maturing power and a soaring talent, Sandra is calling their names out as fit for historical role and literary record Cleofilas, Lupita, Tia Chucha and telling their stories in a language as lovely and startling as urracatalk, English intertwined with Spanish and “whirred like silk, rolled and puckered and hissed ANDERSON & COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES TWO JEFFERSON SQUARE AUSTIN, TEXAS 78731 512 453-1533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip This is Texas today. A state full of Sunbelt boosters, strident anti-unionists, oil and gas companies, nuclear weapons and power plants, political hucksters, underpaid workers, and toxic wastes, to mention a few. 1 tc t -41 . _ \\.1.., ., 44, ,_. wil ‘ 4 , AS : sawn .’ ,:. i ” A ..:Z., it . :’1 ki’ ,. Ilx ‘ AVA. Wi ir V v 1ri k ” , SO riir i r r “.. BUT DO NOT DESPAIR! :Cb411 TEXAS , server TO SUBSCRIBE: Name Address City State Zip $27 enclosed for a one-year subscription. Bill me for $27. 307 West 7th, AUSTIN, TX 78701 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7