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The words written in quotations above,"la llorona" in the Spanish language means a woman who cries...a lot. A woman mourns in painful sorrow and grieves the loss of a son. This is a story of two women that I found belatedly appropriate to write. I meant to do that on Memorial Day as a tribute to "la llorona" I knew as I grew up during World War II in San Antonio, Texas in 1944. I apologize, for this woman lost a son in battle.

The first of these two women you will read about is a tale of the original Llorona as it was told to me long ago. She lived generations before the woman who I want to pay tribute with this diary. I believe both of these women have in common what every woman has -- motherly instinct to protect her newborn.

In writing about "la llorona" as told by my elders below, I concluded that as told to me, a woman`s natural instinct to fight till death protecting a newborn falls into question and borders on creepy. However, the second woman I pay tribute in this diary compels me to overlook that question in order to be able to compare them both for the readers opinion. I do understand that not everyone here at Dkos knows who la llorana is in this tale. Bare with me I will tell you, among other incidents of my life growing up during World War II that I have not written about previously.

My Elders have spoken the tale of this crying woman for generations. The tale has been unfurled through family lore of knowledge to the extent of being traditional nature among Mexican people in general, and this alone has stirred in me some memories of la llorona when I saw this particular woman during very troubling times in my life during World War II.   A mother`s wail and anguish reminiscence triggering my mind to recall la llorona, which is not a fable and to write about it.  This is my account of such a woman. A modern day la llorona in my personal recollections of World War II. It is fitting for what my elders spoke about a "la llorona", a grieving woman that took place generations ago.

It is only appropriate for me to let those not familiar with the tale of "la llorona" know how the original tale unfolded under the circumstances that it did, so that I may avoid creating confusion. So that they may know why a woman cried so painfully as to be branded "la llorona". Please follow me under the red hair.

As an old master story teller would say -- A young and beautiful Mexican woman lived alone by the side of a rugged mountain in a small hut of a tiny village a long long time ago. A man much older than she was, rich by Mexican standards impregnated her after tricking her into thinking that he loved her. When the man discovered the pregnancy he fled and the woman was left to suffer the prejudicial discrimination against women that unfortunately still is practiced in today`s modern times by men and the consequences of the punishment under Mexican moral standards and religious beliefs that was a mortal sin to get pregnant out of wedlock. She gave birth to a boy and under much pressure fled her tiny hut. Her main concern and instinct was to protect her newborn.

A mother`s natural instinct took over the young woman as she ran to hide in the bush to escape the village morality beliefs, standards, and demands that she turn over the child to the church. A mother with a lioness instinct to protect her son newborn took the boy into a cave by the side of the mountain. There it is believed as the tale goes, that the woman left the child wrapped in a cloth and wandered away in search for the father.

She had nowhere else to go or anyone to protect her from the men at the village. Why she left the child alone in a cave only one of those mothers in the same situation could answer, I guess. The father had many personal interests in the tiny village where this young woman lived, so he could not go very far the young woman thought. Indeed, she found him in a close by village.

The father attired in fashionable clothes and jewelry told the woman as he sat in a tavern where she found him not too far from her village that he did love her. However, he did not want children. The child was the only reason he had fled. Had it not been for the child both could be very happy.

The woman left the tavern, telling the man that she would hand over her son to the church so they could be together. Reaching the spot where she had left the child wrapped in a cloth, the child was gone. Blood was all over the spot where the mother had left him.  The woman returned to the tavern to tell the father that the child was now with the church, even though she knew it was a lie -- but found the man in the company of a another woman. He laughed at her and denied that he ever knew her or that he loved her.

Devastated and hurt, the young woman returned to the cave looking for her son. She would look all over and under the brush and the mountains crying loudly believing that her son was alive and that the men at the village had taken him and planted the blood to distract her. In the small village she would burst into huts accusing those within of having her son. She would spend her life crying in the wilderness and mountains where her wails became legend, and her loud cries were the result of her self imposed penalty of repentance for her sin. Her voluntary suffering can be heard against the hot winds on any given midnight hour to this day according to legend as told to me by my elders. People swear that the image of la llorona dressed in a white silky gown is seen at midnight by the side of that mountain, crying loudly calling out for her son.....She
has been seen for generations according to legend and her wailing is lore.

Based on what I have learned about a mother`s natural instinct towards a son or newborn, I found these two women very interesting stories to tell. Personally I was never placed in a cave but I can identify with the woman`s intent, and that is based on my own mother. Perhaps a woman Kossack can help me here to understand the state of mind of women in the story above. In all fairness please take into account the story that follows below.
It is now Summer 1944 and World War II is in full force. I have managed to find my mother`s house at last. I am now almost nine years old as I walked into the alley where my mother lived. For the last two years I had begged my favorite uncle Albert who I mentioned before when I wrote in the first paragraph of the diary on this link The boys were Ike, the oldest named after my granddad. Then it was Albert followed by William (little Billy) to show me where my mother lived. Being a throw-away child during the Great Depression fate discarded me like a disposable toy when my own mother left, and abandoned me to the care of my grandmother. My uncle Albert always hated my mother for that and I found that out much later.  He reluctantly showed me the way to Torreon Street where my mother was staying for the last years since she threw me away.

It was late evening and the alley was empty of people as stray dogs sniffed and barked, threatened me as curtains closed shut. People inside a few homes peered out into the alley to see who went by. The dogs did not fazed me as I looked for the large pecan tree in front of the house as my uncle Albert had advised me to look for. I came to the house and it was dark inside as night was fast approaching. Peeking through an open window absent of curtains or shades I climbed into the room and found it empty. Papers, cans and pails were placed on the floor in an apparent attempt to catch the rain that seeped down through the holes in the laminated roof. I saw the dim light of late evening through holes left by missing nails.

In another small empty room in the back from where I entered, except for a few chairs and a bare wooden table I saw a box of matches laying on a chair by the side of a beaten and dusty sofa. There was no electricity or running water inside of this shack. I sat down and my aching body lured me to lay down. I sat and took a match stick from the match box and lit it. As I scratched the head of the match on the wooden floor it exploded into a bright light that sprayed the tiny room with a soft yellow glow. On the table was a kerosene lamp. I lifted the glass lid-cover and lit the wick and adjusted the flame to a low light. A small portable looking kerosene stove with two oily burners sat near the lamp that appeared to be discarded and never used. The kerosene fuel dispenser was empty on its tray and it appeared cracked. I must have been too tired for I fell back into the couch and into a deep slumber.

I do not know how long I had the dream. It was my mother in a dream only I can not see her face. It is blurred in a white haze and I could not remember how she looked like. It had been so long since she left me. She had promised to come back for me as I wrote in the second paragraph of this link, but never did. My mother told me that my granny would look out for me, and that she would come back for me later. She never did, I cannot see her face. I wanted to ask her why she lied to me.

Then I was roused from my dream by the forced sound of a painful scream. I felt like if I had been slapped awake by someone crying loudly in my ear, and I freaked out! I then realized that the room was completely dark. The lamp had run out of kerosene and the wick was now out. It was the crying of a woman I heard that woke me up. I now am hearing the cry in front of the house and It sounded like the woman wanted to come into the house. I am really freaked out now. It was pitched dark and I panicked but remained on the couch until it was daylight outside. I may have dozed off again as I was startled by the sound of the wooden door across from me swung open. It was very early in the morning.

It was my brother Joe. He was as surprise to see me as I was seeing him. I had not seen my brother since he jumped off from the branch of a mulberry tree at my grandma`s yard one day as I wrote of his death on this linked diary on paragraphs thirteen and fourteenth Adios carnal, I will miss you. It is a month today as I write this that my brother passed away. With the same pain I felt the day I wrote of his death, I am touched as I write the following.

Instantly I felt safe. I stood up and we embraced, "Hey, what are you doing here?", he asked smiling. I was completely choked up. I could not think of what to say to him. It had been so long since that last time I saw him. He was not the tall handsome kid I remembered back at my grandmother`s place. He looked and sounded much older. "Have you eaten?", he asked as he looked at me. " I ate some yesterday", I told him.

We sat down on the sofa to wait for more daylight and for a Mom/Pop store on the corner to open so we could go and get something to eat. My brother asked me how I found the place and I told him about uncle Albert. My brother said he too always like Albert best than the other uncles. When I told him about being awakened by a loud crying woman, for the first time I learned of "La llorona" on the neighborhood. When my brother told me her story I knew I would never forget her.

My brother said that the woman lived in the back house just over the wire fence of my Mom`s house and that it had been three-years since she lost her only son during the attack and  bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 1941 by the Japs, as everyone described Japanese people. My brother was always like that. He learned these things from grown ups he knew back then. My brother was almost twelve and he was very old for those times.  The Woman had been told by the government that her son`s remains would be sent home to her for burial but it never happened and she believed that someone had her son. She totally lost her mind as more and more coffins arrived in the alley even in 1944 when I first arrived there.

My brother said that the woman roamed the streets looking for newly arrived remains of falling warriors and would go into homes to see if her son had been sent there by error. She was always crying and her hair was totally white although she was not old, but that I should not be afraid of her. The only thing she wanted was to find her son. If ever she should confront me I should say I was not her son. But she was harmless. Some families who lost a member or members like a family near by who lost three sons, would only receive the personal belonging found near where the soldier had fallen. some bodies would be buried where they fell, but this woman would never believe her son was lost. Some families only received black wreaths and ribbons to announce to others that a warrior in that home had paid the ultimate price. These wreaths and ribbons were the dark reminder of the neighborhood where I grew up after I found my mother.

When it was day light enough, we walked to the other side of the alley from where I had entered last evening. A tiny store was already open for business and we did not have the required coupons to buy food. The owner of the store knew my brother and sold us a nickle worth of bologna and another nickle of cheese and crackers. We also bought a soda in those days named "Hippo size". It was the largest bottle of soda ever made, even today that is not a liter size cola. The Hippo size soda was famous for poor families as it served most kids and did not require making cool aid with sugar, which was rationed at the time like most other food.

Back at the house we walked to the backyard where my brother showed me where "La llorona" lived as she was known in the neighborhood. People could hear her crying softly inside of her home. The yards were very close to each other so it was very easy to even look into a home through a window. When I asked my brother why the woman was "la llorona" he told me the tale I used in the beginning of this diary. It was exactly the same tale of a mother losing a son. Both women as I have said, lost a son under different circumstances but both paid the same price.

The story of la llorona living in my mother`s back yard according to my brother and the one of many generations ago told to me by elders was totally different. Many people tell different versions and different reasons that resulted in the tale. As we sat on a piece of wood that served as a step to the door that my brother used to enter the room that morning, we ate the balony and cheese with crackers. We shared as I laughed at the size of the Hippo soda which I had not seen before. I noticed a large wooden box with a door having a handle for opening just in front of where we sat.  He told me it was an ice-box. An iceman would drive by in the alley selling blocks of ice that could be used in the ice box to hold food from spoiling. The ice box had a compartment on top with a lid that opened so ice could be put inside. Very poor logic suggested that by placing ice in the top compartment, the ice box would generate enough cold temperatures to conserve food. It was outside because the ice melted and seeped on the floor inside. A laminated pan was placed under the ice box to catch the melted ice and when it was full, the water would be thrown away and the pan went back under the ice box...This was a fridge in those days. I never saw the brand though.

Our conversation turned to my mother. I wanted to know where she was. He did not want to say, only that I should not expect her around soon. Just then we saw "la llorona" standing inside of her house looking out of her window at us. She called out crying the name of her son. "Rafeal!!!, come here, Rafeal!!!" as she looked at my brother. My brother told me to just ignore her and not look at her. After a few minutes she was walking in front of my mother`s yard in the alley. She was yelling at the top of her lungs and wailing as in terrible pain. Some neighbors became concerned and went to console her but she refused and pushed them back and continued trying to go into a home where some were holding fast to a fallen family member.

We found out some time later that she was taken to a psychiatric ward where psychiatry tests on her determined that she was a danger to herself and others and was committed for dealing with disorders in her mind. It was said repeatedly by some neighbors that the woman could be heard at midnight wailing in pain just as la llorona who has cried for many generations in the legendary tale of the original llorona of this diary. If ever there was horror that I witnessed growing up in San Antonio during World War II, and during parts of the Great Depression, and the tale of the woman who lost her son at Pearl Harbor, this is the one. The horrific consequences of war perpetrated on this woman for a fault not of her own, but of the incompetence of a government who told her that her son would be brought home to her for buriel. It never happened and she lost her mind.  May she now rest in peace and may she find her son.

As for my mother, she did come home. When she did, she carried a child in her arms into the empty house. That child was my "baby mom" of which I have wrote in more than one occasion such as in this link in this city I have the only person who loves me. My half-sister, who I lovingly refer to as my baby-mom. She was in fact my baby mom, she took care of me at times when I was faced with personal adversities and will be my baby mom until I die. She is all I have left now that my brother is gone.

I guess this only leaves the question I have in this diary. The question pertains to a women`s motherly instinct to protect a newborn child. The reason this enters my mind can be found in the jungles of the serengeti where the king of the jungle, the Lion kills a lioness newborn. The lioness fights to her death to protect her offspring. Why does the male not care?

To ask this question I took into consideration the man who impregnated the girl
and fled in the first story as told to me by elders. Why did he not care for his own offspring as the mother, who ultimately lost her mind -- just as the woman who lived behind my mothers house and lost a son during World War II? Perhaps some wise woman Kossack has an answer for me.

P.S. If you found time to read this diary. Please, Please I remind you. VOTE FOR
TOM BARRETT ON TUESDAY...THIS COMING TUESDAY. And again I apologize for
not posting this diary on Memorial Day as I wanted.

UPDATE: 7:30. A short time ago I received a call from Tom Barrett. He invited me
to be at a rally at 10:AM tomorrow where Bill Clinton will be present. If you got
the call be there..or be square. If you did not, get on the phone and find out.

Originally posted to Ole Texan on Thu May 31, 2012 at 05:34 PM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive, TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans, Personal Storytellers, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Progressive Hippie, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I have no answer... (9+ / 0-)

    ....to your question, Ole Texan.  A similar question - about parents that do not love and protect their children - haunts me.

    I mailed my absentee ballot earlier this week.  That felt very, very good.

    Peace and blessings, OT.

    •  Thank you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teloPariah, foucaultspendulum

      Joy of Fishes for your response to my question. I am not
      surprised by your answer. I had never before thought of
      posing the question until I remembered the "Woman" who
      lived behind my mother`s house.

      And thank you for being the first to make your comment
      to my diary. In addition thank you for sending in your vote
      for Tom Barrett.

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 08:16:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the soundtrack (6+ / 0-)

    for your story...for i too, have no answers.  

    however, this song played by one of my favorite bands ever and some very cool women, Blame Sally, feels like the appropriate accompaniment when others read your story.

    This was shot several years ago, but they are still as good...and even better.  definitely go see them if they're ever in your part of the world.

    "If I can't change the world, I'll change the world within my reach" - Catie Curtis & Mark Erelli

    by Heather in SFBay on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 01:39:53 AM PDT

    •  Heather in SFBay, your (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teloPariah, foucaultspendulum

      video is very appropriate and it shows how far and wide the tale of la llorona has gone. I have seen similar trubutes in movies which I am sure you are familiar with. I think of one movie in particular where this song is played while the heroine of the movie lays dying on a bed.

      The actress I refer to is Salma Hayet in the movie "Frida". I deeply recommend the movie.

      Thank you I appreciate your comment and again I am not
      surprised you cannot answer my question.

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 08:32:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped, recced and republished to (5+ / 0-)

    Badger State Progressive.

    Keep writing, Tex.

    I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - Seasick Steve

    by ruleoflaw on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 05:40:36 AM PDT

    •  Hello ruleoflaw. Again (6+ / 0-)

      I want to thank you, well, I want to thank also the entire "Rescue Rangers Brigade" here at DKos for again giving to opportunity to be heard -- and read. The Community Spotlight has always inspired the average writer I`m sure. I
      am no different..It is all your fault. I thank you.

      I will keep writing. Although recent personal mishaps in my life has slowed me down a tad (nothing health wise) thankfully, I will be in again soon.

      Thanks

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 08:40:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Beautiful. I'm so glad you wrote this. (6+ / 0-)

    As to your question:  women have an instinctive need to protect their children.  It seats itself in the brain even  before love, even before bonding, happens.  

    I have one child, a son.  When he was a newborn, I couldn't stand to hear him cry--it had a physical effect on me; it woke every nerve in me and I had to see  to him.  If he cried in the night, instantly I was awake and up.  Love grew later--this was something different, and very elemental.

    Fathers don't seem to have that instinct.  Maybe it's related to carrying and birthing the child.  It's strange, too, because other women's children crying didn't cause the same reaction in me that my own son did.  All I can tell you is that it's an irrational response, an instinct, and I found it overpowering and impossible to ignore.  Even today, with my son a young man, it's still there.  Which is why I can understand your llorona's cries, her searching and her pain.

    "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

    by DrLori on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 07:03:27 AM PDT

    •  ESP worked!! DrLori (3+ / 0-)

      Two "nudge, nudges" I got from you in your "my chin is up" diary recently had me thinking of Extrasensory Perception and I thought of how you were thinking when you typed those two nudges for me.

      O.K. I admit, it clicked and it worked.

      I do remember you writing before of having a son. What you write of how you dealt with him as a newborn sounds like the natural mother I think women are universally. I am truly amazed that no one has a clue of why men or so indifferent when it comes to their own newborns, even in the area of support and in loving them.

      Please, I am not putting down no man, for I am not the one qualified to patronize anyone, especially men on how to raise his child, or children. So dudes, this is not a slap, but take yourself out of the equation and think that my question was based on the man who got that young girl pregnant and then laughed at her. This is not about anyone man, here at Dkos -- at all.

      I know that due to my own lack of a father and personally being dumped like a dirty rag as a child, I developed this sense of understanding that if ever I had a child, I would never treat that child like I was treated. I have been very fortunate in this respect. I have written repeatedly of how my own son and daughter grew up to be successful in their lives of studies and in forming their own families with their own children. And always following the lessons I thought them as children. I am just a man like the next guy. I just do what I think is right.

      DrLori you inspire me each time I read what you write. I
      am just blown away with you at times. Thanks for the Nudge nudges.

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 09:12:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fantastic work. Republished to TexKos (4+ / 0-)

    This is a powerful narrative, and one that brought back memories of my dad. He and his two younger brothers were left behind by my grandmother when she left my grandfather for the man she wanted to marry in the first place. At age 5, my dad was the oldest of the three, all of whom were put into foster care on a farm near their home.

    Eventually, my grandmother, now settled and married in another state, wanted to bring the boys into her life, and truth be told, her new husband was as fine a stepfather as could be hoped.

    Each of the brothers responded differently. My father treated his mother with polite distance, his letters to her beginning "Dear Mrs. S___ and signed "Your son, R___."

    His experience affected him for life, as he struggled to suppress his justifiable pessimism and sense of foreboding that the other shoe - or closet full of shoes - was always about to drop. He put everything he had into being a good husband to my mom and father to me, and ensuring that our home was solid and safe.

    The middle brother was overjoyed to be reunited with his mom. When he went off to WWII, he witlessly opened a joint bank account with her into which his pay was deposited. As you can no doubt guess, she spent the money, but he forgave her.

    The youngest brother retained the pain and the hurt and the unwarranted sense of inadequacy. Despite his accomplishments, this abandonment was like a cinderblock clipped to his ankle that he could not shake.

    You ask what a woman could have been thinking. Obviously, I can't tell you for sure. My grandmother was bipolar and fluctuated between periods of amazing brilliance and extroverted charm and bouts of depression and attempted suicide. That doesn't explain or forgive what she did. She was highly intelligent, and highly messed up.

    I don't know if anyone will provide you with the answers you seek. What I do know is that you simply must keep writing. I hope that it's as therapeutic for you as it is thought-provoking and moving for us. Bravo.

    Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

    by cassandracarolina on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 07:05:21 AM PDT

    •  cassandracarolina hi. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cassandracarolina, teloPariah

      I have read some of you work. I think you once wrote in a diary about some of same people you mention here. I can think off my head of this that you once wrote,

      The middle brother was overjoyed to be reunited with his mom. When he went off to WWII, he witlessly opened a joint bank account with her into which his pay was deposited. As you can no doubt guess, she spent the money, but he forgave her.

      The reason I recall the entry is because I once wrote if there was such a thing of "a mother being forgiven", by a son. The reason I wrote that line is because I had earlier written that I had long forgiven my own mother. I still do not see anyone, saying that they forgive their own mother, no matter what the situation or question is. I mean, really, my own view is that without the mother, I would not be here to forgive!! Please, give me break I told myself long ago.

      Your comments give me an inside look at my own questions when I wonder if there are people around who are still alive that lived during World War II. I know I have read of some who have, but like those who served in that war, they too are reluctant to talk about it, like the good soldier who does not like to talk of the war.

      Your own story is touching especially because your clan seems to have been much larger than the one I grew up with. Yours also suffered and paid heavy prices during so hard and brutal times during the Great Depression. It
      is not difficult for me to understand that some of those you write about knew bit of two of those hard times.

      I was glad to see you get involved interacting with me cassandracarolina...Thanks a lot.

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 09:44:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Always interesting connecting with you Ole Texan (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teloPariah, foucaultspendulum

        The uncle of mine who was cited above as forging his mother who abandoned him passed away almost exactly a year ago. He pursued a long career in psychiatric social work, primarily with juvenile delinquents in the correctional system.

        He didn't talk much about WWII other than personal anecdotes that were non-combat-related, but I was proud to have worked with him on getting his memoirs published in book form before he passed away.

        He and his generation endured a great deal, and emerged with great resiliency in many cases. His is a story of making the best of a bad situation, and then helping many other people make the best of theirs.

        Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

        by cassandracarolina on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 09:57:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can see (3+ / 0-)

          how proud you are of your late uncle cassandracarolina. I have to again think of how any person who has experience such horrible times and survived live to become a better person and work with all the might the person can muster
          to help anyone from falling into the cracks that he once fell, and survived. Very well said cassandracarlina.

          I too have often wondered about how it is that people like your late uncle can become so rewarded in life after those terrible experiences. I am not one who is religious and do not think it has anything to do with that upstairs thing.

          I have never known a veteran of that war sitting down and gloating, telling stories of how he killed, or saw some buddy getting killed in battle. A good soldier just do not do that. Yes, you should be very proud of all the people you have written about, no matter the situation. Especially your late uncle, cassandrcarlina, thanks.

          Old men tell same old stories

          by Ole Texan on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 10:13:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with you on all counts, especially (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            teloPariah, markdd, foucaultspendulum
            I am not one who is religious and do not think it has anything to do with that upstairs thing.
            My uncle was not religious either but like many goodly people, simply found problems that needed fixing, and rolled up his sleeves and got started. He took in a number of troubled kids in addition to his own kids and step kids, offering them discipline and stability and love. That's what religious folks should do in lieu of being sanctimonious about their prospects for rewards in the afterlife.

            Wherever my uncle is now, I do hope that there's beer. And dogs.

            Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

            by cassandracarolina on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 10:24:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hello again (4+ / 0-)

              cassandracarolina. Because I have to assume that your uncle was in the service and went to World War II, I am assuming he was pretty secure in the military during the harshness the Great Depression. Now, many folks argue the point of where the Great Depression started and when it
              ended.

              I know for a fact that it ended slowly in 1945 after the war. It was then when jobs making killing machines exploded in this country and military bases, like those in San Antonio who I think -- I am not certain -- has more military bases in the world, most just threw open its gates and hired people off the streets. It was a sight to see in the job market those days.

              The reason I try to measure the time in which your uncle served in the military and war is for one reason. That one reason plays right into your comment on discipline that he gave to trouble boys back then. I have to tell you that one thing the military teaches its soldiers "is discipline" and your uncle sounds like having been a class A student in that department.

              It really does not matter when a solder serve his country. What matters is that he comes back like your uncle. Be proud cassandracarolina.

              Wherever my uncle is now, I do hope that there's beer. And dogs.
              Not to worry about the beer. If water can be turned into wine, hey why not beer??? Ummm about the dog, I do not think I can come up with something on that. But I`m sure one could be smuggled in wherever your uncle is.

              Old men tell same old stories

              by Ole Texan on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 11:10:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  My uncle enlisted in 1940 (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                teloPariah, foucaultspendulum

                and served in the Infantry in Europe.

                I definitely agree with you about the military instilling discipline. It worked wonders on my ex-brother-in-law who was a slacker long before it became fashionable. His four years in the Army turned him into a much more productive (and courteous) member of society.

                Then he discovered Ayn Rand, but that's another story for another time.

                Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

                by cassandracarolina on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 12:01:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It is interesting (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  cassandracarolina

                  to read about two disciplined men and how it worked wonders on your ex-brother-law. What I find most interesting is that your uncle actually lived among the coals and ashes of the Great Depression before he enlisted in 1940. It is no surprised that he enlisted and not drafted. Nonetheless, he came back a lucky man.

                  I find it not surprising because many young men -- and in fact, some lied about their age to enlist voluntarily in order to escape poverty and hunger. I am only assuming I guess because I have no way of knowing the economic status of your uncle when he enlisted. But it would not surprise me like I say if he did to get away from the hard conditions of the time.

                  As for you ex-brother-in-law`s new found wonders after being a slacker as you say, that is another absolute difference I saw in many other guys who came back from the war. That you cite Ayn Ryan in his life tells me that he came back a pretty sharp guy mind-wise.

                  Others I saw come back cassandacarolina would never be the same guys who went into war. And I mean that negatively. Some came back broken in spirit and strung-out on opiate drugs which they used openly during and in the war specifically. This sounds bad I know and that is why I have never, and will never write of this...without actual proof. I don`t like the sound of this myself and I have to think others won`t either.

                  Believe me, this will never another story for another time, like the Ayn Ryan story in your ex-brother-in-law`s.

                  Old men tell same old stories

                  by Ole Texan on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 01:16:01 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  cassandra, your sig line; sometimes I gargle on a (0+ / 0-)

                  message delivered, between the lines.  

                  The teapublican message has no respect for a common "we".  It's like, I deny that the British empire considered Americans as uncouth.  After all, when you have slave colonies in Africa, and elsewhere, why let human decency impede your quest for the "European Dream".

                  My father warned me that  embracing his youthful ambition to work for the greater good was a fool's errand.  He was self educated.  

              •  Ah I thought (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cassandracarolina

                All dogs go to heaven.

                “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

                by markdd on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 03:10:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ahhh, you got (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  markdd, cassandracarolina

                  me on that one markdd. I thought about what you say just after I click the post button to cassandracarlina`s concern about beer and dogs where ever her uncle could be.

                  In fact I have always heard that all dogies go to dog heaven. I sure hope so as I have had a few best friends of my own.

                  Thanks for the reminder.

                  Old men tell same old stories

                  by Ole Texan on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 03:21:34 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  As a boy, in Mexico, I and (6+ / 0-)

    my siblings all knew the tale of La Llorona. As I heard it from my older sisters and my mother, the story was of a woman who had drowned her children. It was never made clear why, though it was suggested that she had been abandoned by some man. She was then supposed to haunt the night, wailing, "Ayyyyy, mis hijos!" ("Oh, my children!"), as she wandered the night, searching for the very children that she had drowned. It was never said, but obvious, that she could no longer be a mortal, but was some kind of ghost, a spirit that had haunted the woods for years. Who knew for how long?

    I imagined her as some spectral, completely white form: a blanched wrinkled face, white hair, long white fingernails on long white bony fingers, pale robes flapping in a strong wind...My cousins, with whom we occasionally overnighted, lived at the edge of the woods that ran down, eventually, all the way to the Rio Grande. At night, beset by my life-long insomnia and a head filled with supernatural stories of vampires, menacing shapes that came for you in the night, a devil who tended to appear to humans, and disembodied hands that sought you out in the dark, my imagination turned to the woods just yards from where I lay, the only person awake, listening to the dark. Somewhere between the house and the river was a stream. Could that have been where she had drowned the children? What was that rumor of noise--wind? Or not? Perhaps not. There was the occasional nightmare, stylized rehearsals of the games that we played at the edge of the woods, in which we would scream "Here comes La LLorona!" Only in the dreams, the children disappeared quickly into safety while I fell behind, not knowing where I should run, anxious and confused, perilously slow.

    And yet, what did I fear? I suppose that I expected to be taken away, away. She would find me, helpless and alone, sweep me up in a chill embrace, and take me away into the dark woods, having finally found a replacement for one of her lost children, perhaps to keep me forever, or to re-enact her eternal story.

    We must use what we have
    to build what we need. -Adrienne Rich

    by Xapulin on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 08:03:41 AM PDT

    •  My students used to tell this version (5+ / 0-)

      most often.
      Thanks

      Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

      by Temmoku on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 10:12:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Xapulin, your recollection (4+ / 0-)

      of this tale of la llorona is interesting in that I have also heard a version like the one you mention. I have always said that many different versions are out there, and have been for many years. Personally, I like the one I wrote because to me I wanted to make it sound like a romance gone bad. Even those before me knew that this version sold, because movies were made of la llorna.

      One in particular I mentioned in a comment above. In the movie "Frida " which I`m sure you are familiar with, Salma Kayet plays a sexy role that included the story in song, of la llorona. Likewise, as you can see in the video above. Musicians also sell records based on the song of la llorona.

      However, it was never my intention to write the tale with expectation of being rewarded. I merely wanted to pay my tribute to a woman in my midst who lost a son during battle. You do make very good points that I know about personally.

      Your nice comment is true, there is no denying that. I do remember myself, trying to survive as a child under the darkness of a black bridge where trains ran over -- when some grown up would try to scare me with la llorona will get you thing. I guess I was too busy trying to survive to worry about that certain llorona.

      There was a thin line of creek that ran just under that bridge that I have mentioned and I wondered about one of the stories where la llorona drowned her children. I looked down to the creek, and thought, nah, its not deep enough for drowning. Besides the story I was told as a child long ago involved one child, that is why I remembered the woman in my diary who lost a son in battle. Had I thought it was more than one, I would have been in trouble with my diary.

      Thank you for sharing with us your recollections.

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 10:42:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I used to teach a unit on folklore and urban (4+ / 0-)

    legends to my HS students before I retired. It was a great unit for beginning discussions and sharing stories. I used "La Llorona" since most of my students were Hispanic.
    The Urban Legends part is great for helping students to develop rational thinking skills and critical thinking skills...especially the stories about the spiders laying eggs under the skin or in the body of a cactus...or the cell phone igniting gasoline at the gas station.....
    But La Llorona was particularly good because it has so many modern versions/variations. It helps students to develop a sense of story and when they write their own versions down after class discussions...they have much better compositions..
    I really enjoy reading new versions.
    There will always be crying women. My mother (who lost a child in a house fire---my little sister) told me that a mother never gets over the death of a child....or a child over the death of the mother!

    Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

    by Temmoku on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 10:10:38 AM PDT

    •  Hello Temmoku (3+ / 0-)

      Reading your nice comment makes me think you teach in some pretty decent High School. Furthermore I cannot help but notice your sig line of Emilio Lizardo. I have enjoyed reading some of Dr. Lizardo`s work and also have viewed some video on some actors playing a role of Dr. Lizardo.

      I think you practice a solid and sound idea on how to help advance the knowledge of you students by developing critical thinking skills. I think role playing is good for what you do. I would think your students should feel pretty comfortable following the interesting legends you teach about.

      Being Hispanic myself, I really appreciate what you do. It matters not who you teach really, what matters is success to those students whoever they are.

      Thank you kindly

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 11:29:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This diary brings me back to when i was a kid (0+ / 0-)

    in LA, I read a short story by Eldrige Cleaver called "The Flashlight". It was one of those stories that grabs you where you live, as it was set in multicultural LA and focused on a gang of kids and their exploits. They were exactly like me and my friends, and that understanding made me extremely uncomfortable. The protagonist was the leader, and his second in command was a sadistic Mexican kid who was rendered as the son of a llorona.

     The two were uniquely bound, in that they were both unwanted. The voicing though was haunting as it sketched a young "Alpha Male" trying to understand his friends anger and hatred, in addition to feeling alarmed at how little he cared. Basically, he was resigned to the friend's fate, rationalizing it with musings of half understood cultural markers in the Mexican world he lived among, but wasn't a part of. No more "a part of" as his friend was black. Anyway, he thought in sterotypes "His mother is a Llorona, that means a witch" for example, as is par for the course to people who like me grow up this way until we know better, (or, as is the case for many; who don't). Such a profoundly American story.

     It's really startling though, how given your thoughts on that wailing woman what sticks out is the inscrutiblity of her. I remember thinking the same thing. As the gay son of a mother who could be out of touch a lot, (as is also kind of par-for-the-course when it comes to mothers and sons, I eventually found out) I couldn't get it out of my head. That "what drives her" question, it's really tough to see if it's you, some other man, her man, the other women she has to coexist with to get by? She's a monster, a saint, What?

     Geez, this diary makes me feel a little shook... I felt 14 again, oh the confusion! lol.

    I will push back, rise up, and speak out against all forms of discrimination that plague our community. www.getequal.org

    by teloPariah on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 01:43:00 PM PDT

    •  Hello teloPariah, (3+ / 0-)

      your comment to this diary is very interesting. I enjoyed
      reading your reaction of how it made you feel young again, and confused?

      La llorona actually is a tale with many followers and many different interpretations. That you found a connection with la llorona and your upbringing by comparing it to a story written by Eldrige Cleaver speaks volumes. I am familiar with some of his writings while he was in prison in Ca. I think one book I enjoyed from him was Soul on Ice, which he wrote I think during the 70`s.

      As for a mother being out of touch, that is something I know too much of, I guess. That my mother had a man when AWOL on me was indeed painful to learn. But like you, I was confused at my age of 8 years old. I learned not to care, just like my brother who was my Hero and my teacher during harsh times.

      But we survived, didn`t we. And I mean you too.

      Thank you for you nice comment and glad to meet you.

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 02:33:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ole Texan, yes, survival is paramont. I'm so (3+ / 0-)

        thankful for memories of "hard times".  Family elders have saved my tush many times.  I have no unpleasant memories of my family poverty.  They had no assets because my great grandfathers gave away the land the British said was a birth entitlement for the eldest son.
        (Land is valuable for those that lust for the rights to natural resources, or slaves.)

        Brits, Europeans should not judge all Americans by the factual history of either Adams, or Franklin.

        Guess I just ruined my chances for British citizenship, or induction into the Euro hall of shame? No matter, my ancestors have  a record that includes indentured servants, and fodder for the ambitions of those who consider our jewel of a planet as a source for political (that means rape (rape is shorthand), pillage, and endless wars).  

        When I speak of "family",  I give you an idealized version, without sharing the negative quirks.  

        •  Your handle is from (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          foucaultspendulum, Larsstephens

          an all-time favorite, even though it's tough to pick from Eco's other novels.

           I had to learn to get over culture shock when leaving CA, or even going to 'burbs that were all white, with Spanish street and place names nobody understands and that "waterbug" culture, as I call it where everything is just surfaces.

           It's an effed up kind of rage feeling and an incitement to knowing your own cunning, as that unruffled WASPishness is in fact a front. Everything I know about material well-being, having and maintaining it, came from my background. Just about nothing was "American", as a young white boy like myself was supposed to believe. I was lucky to know the big lie early on, and to this day I feel that's true.

           Whenever I hear "home of the brave", I always think, "yeah brave, just not how they mean".

          I will push back, rise up, and speak out against all forms of discrimination that plague our community. www.getequal.org

          by teloPariah on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 08:03:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  teloPariah, Umberto Eco is a philosopher, imho. (0+ / 0-)

            It is not necessary for me to embrace, challenge, or comment on his words of wisdom.  I admire his ability to challenge the mind.

            Obviously, I selected a screen name to encourage all to read his books.  

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