Through earthy, charming stories that blend songs, letters, and prayers, Patricia Preciado Martin explores the hidden places of the soul and the human longing for amor eterno, eternal love. Forbidden love, enchanted love, and desperate love are just some of the varieties of love that get mixed into this sweet concoction of romance, wit, and instruction. A delicious combination of modern sensibility and folk wisdom—including recipes for fresh breath and special prayers to Saint Valentine—this book tells universal tales of devotion and desire.
Doña Ramona Benítez Franco was born in 1902 on her parents' Arizona ranch and celebrated her hundredth birthday with family and friends in 2002, still living in her family's century-old adobe house. Doña Ramona witnessed many changes in the intervening years, but her memories of the land and customs she knew as a child are indelible.
For Doña Ramona as well as for countless generations of Mexican Americans, memories of rural life recall la querida tierra, the beloved land. Through good times and bad, the land provided sustenance. Today, many of those homesteads and ranches have succumbed to bulldozers that have brought housing projects and strip malls in their wake.
Now a writer and a photographer who have long been intimately involved with Arizona's Hispanic community have preserved the voices and images of men and women who are descendants of pioneer ranching and farming families in southern Arizona. Ranging from Tucson to the San Rafael Valley and points in between, this book documents the contributions of Mexican American families whose history and culture are intertwined with the lifestyle of the contemporary Southwest. These were hardy, self-reliant pioneers who settled in what were then remote areas. Their stories tell of love affairs with the land and a way of life that is rapidly disappearing.
Through oral histories and a captivating array of historic and contemporary photos, Beloved Land records a vibrant and resourceful way of life that has contributed so much to the region. Individuals like Doña Ramona tell stories about rural life, farming, ranching, and vaquero culture that enrich our knowledge of settlement, culinary practices, religious traditions, arts, and education of Hispanic settlers of Arizona. They talk frankly about how the land changed hands—not always by legal means—and tell how they feel about modern society and the disappearance of the rural lifestyle.
"Our ranch homes and fields, our chapels and corrals may have been bulldozed by progress or renovated into spas and guest ranches that never whisper our ancestors' names," writes Patricia Preciado Martin. "The story of our beautiful and resilient heritage will never be silenced . . . as long as we always remember to run our fingers through the nourishing and nurturing soil of our history." Beloved Land works that soil as it revitalizes that history for the generations to come.
Days of Plenty, Days of Want
Patricia Preciado Martin University of Arizona Press, 1999 Library of Congress PS3563.A7272D39 1999 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
For Patricia Preciado Martin, the past is every bit as real as the present. In Days of Plenty, Days of Want, past and present meet in a collection of strikingly crafted short stories that show us a heritage being irreverently pushed aside by "progress" yet passed along from person to person, century to century.
In the pages of this book are people so real you'll swear you've met them, situations so familiar you'll nod in recognition. Two of these stories have won prizes in Chicano literary contests; all will win the hearts of readers. Through them, Patricia Preciado Martin reminds us that freedom and self-expression are important in fulfilling our potential—and, more important, that a large part of this process requires acknowledging our heritage as a priceless gift whose relevance in our lives cannot be ignored.
El Milagro and Other Stories
Patricia Preciado Martin University of Arizona Press, 1996 Library of Congress PS3563.A7272M55 1996 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Ticking clocks and tolling bells, scents of roses and warm tortillas: this is the barrio of years past as captured in the words of Patricia Preciado Martin. Cuentos, recuerdos, stories, memories—all are stirred into a simmering caldo by a writer whose love for her heritage shines through every page.
Reminiscent of Like Water for Chocolate, the book is a rich mix of the simplest ingredients—food, family, tradition. We see Silviana striding to her chicken coop, triggering the "feathered pandemonium" of chickens who smell death in the air. We meet Elena, standing before the mirror in her wedding dress, and Teodoro Sánchez, who sleeps under the sky and smells of “chaparral and mesquite pollen and the stream bottom and the bone dust of generations. There’s the monsignor sitting on the edge of a sofa, sipping Nescafé from a china cup, and here is Sister Francisca "with her warm, minty breath" warning us away from impure thoughts. Be on your best behavior, too, in Tía Petra’s Edwardian parlor—la Doña Petrita, descended from conquistadores, might just deliver a tap on your head with her silver-handled walking stick. Then, with Mamacita, spend a summer afternoon bent over your embroidery with trembling hand and sweaty upper lip, and all the while wondering what in the world it feels like to be kissed.
Intermingled with the author’s stories are collective memories of the barrio, tales halfway between heaven and earth that seem to connect barrio residents to each other and to their past. These cuentos are mystical and dreamy, peopled with ghosts and miracles and Aztec princesses dressed in feathers and gold. Come, sit down and have some salsa and a tortilla—fresh and homemade, it goes without saying; people who buy tortillas at the market "might as well move to Los Angeles, for they have already lost their souls." Then open the pages of this book. Help yourself to another feast of food and flowers, music and dancing, sunshine and moonlight—everything glorious and mundane, serious and humorous, earthly and spiritual, poignant and joyful, in la vida mexicoamericana.
Arts as intimate as a piece of needlework or a home altar. Arts as visible as decorative iron, murals, and low riders. Through such arts, members of Tucson's Mexican American community contribute much of the cultural flavor that defines the city to its residents and to the outside world. Now Tucson folklorist Jim Griffith celebrates these public and private artistic expressions and invites us to meet the people who create them.
Josefina Lizárraga learned to make paper flowers as a girl in her native state of Nayarit, Mexico, and ensures that this delicate art is not lost.
Ornamental blacksmith William Flores runs the oldest blacksmithing business in town, a living link with an earlier Tucson.
Ramona Franco's family has maintained an elaborate altar to Our Lady of Guadalupe for three generations.
Signmaker Paul Lira, responsible for many of Tucson's most interesting signs, brings to his work a thoroughly mexicano sense of aesthetics and humor.
Muralists David Tineo and Luis Mena proclaim Mexican cultural identity in their work and carry on a tradition that has blossomed in the last twenty years.
Featuring a foreword by Tucson author Patricia Preciado Martin and a spectacular gallery of photographs, many by Pulitzer prize-winning photographer José Galvez, this remarkable book offers a close-up view of a community rich with tradition and diverse artistic expression. Hecho a Mano is a piñata bursting with unexpected treasures that will inspire and inform anyone with an interest in folk art or Mexican American culture.
Some Hispanic Americans living today can recall a time when barrio or ranch life was marked by a simplicity and neighborliness that has vanished with progress. These thirteen first-person accounts of southern Arizona residents capture a spirit evocative of the Hispanic presence in the Southwest—whether in San Antonio, Santa Fe, Pueblo, or Los Angeles—while striking photographs reflect the grace and dignity of these indomitable individuals.
Motivated by a love of her Mexican American heritage, Patricia Preciado Martin set out to document the lives and memories of the women of her mother's and grandmother's eras; for while the role of women in Southwest has begun to be chronicled, that of Hispanic women largely remains obscure. In Songs My Mother Sang to Me, she has preserved the oral histories of many of these women before they have been lost or forgotten.
Martin's quest took her to ranches, mining towns, and cities throughout southern Arizona, for she sought to document as varied an experience of the contributions of Mexican American women as possible. The interviews covered family history and genealogy, childhood memories, secular and religious traditions, education, work and leisure, environment and living conditions, rites of passage, and personal values. Each of the ten oral histories reflects not only the spontaneity of the interview and personality of each individual, but also the friendship that grew between Martin and her subjects.
Songs My Mother Sang to Me collects voices not often heard and brings to print accounts of social change never previously recorded. These women document more than the details of their own lives; in relating the histories of their ancestors and communities, they add to our knowledge of the culture and contributions of Mexican American people in the Southwest.