By Norma Elia Cantú
Can?cula—the puppy days—a relatively excessive a part of the summer time while such a lot cotton is harvested in South Texas. In Norma Cant?'s fictionalized memoir of Laredo within the Forties, Nineteen Fifties, and early Nineteen Sixties, it additionally represents a time among youth and an as but unknown maturity. genuine snapshots and the author's re-created stories permit readers to event the pivotal occasions of this world—births, deaths, accidents, fiestas, rites of passage. This renowned booklet gained the 1995 Premio Aztl?n. "A customized ethnography that feels as commonplace as my very own relations album, and as touching."—Ana Castillo"Intimate as a poem, and as huge because the Texas sky, those tales are immediately diminutive and grand."—Sandra Cisneros
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1st ed. p. cm. Title. 54dc20 94-27153 CIP © 1995 by the University of New Mexico Press All rights reserved. Third paperbound printing, 1999 Designed by Linda Mae Tratechaud Title page photograph by Norman Johnson Earlier versions of sections of this manuscript were previously published in The Texas Journal, Spring, 1992; Prairie Schooner, Winter, 1994; and in the exhibition catalogue for Dar a Luz, Anne Wallace, 1992. Page v For my family on both sides of the border Page vi Brinca la tablita, Yo ya la brinqué, Bríncala de vuelta, Yo ya me cansé.
In 1985, back in that safe space, between two countries, the woman Nena and her mother bring out the boxes, untie the white-turned-yellow shoelaces, and begin going through the memories. The smell of the past trapped along with the memories. For days, for weeks, for months, they hold the photographs reverently, and the stories come to them. Sometimes the sistersDahlia, Esperanza, Azalia, Margarita, Xóchitljoin them and then leave, taking their memories of things, the younger ones not remembering stories, only images, brief descriptions of how they wore a favorite dress; they grieve for a long-past missed birthday, remember a sisterly fight over a long-forgotten childish thing.
A babycherubicsits on a manto and gives the camera a wary look; he's an only son. " He has offered his life in a sheaf of photos to an intimate stranger from an unknown land he cannot fathom, a land as far from Spain as the unknown, between two countriesMexico and the United Statesa land that's to her as far as last night's dream after listening to La Traviata and the dinner he cooked, chicken in red wine sauce, el vino tinto reminding her of her mother's red-blood roses. A land that's to him as far as the moon that waxes in the bluepurple sky above the treetops.