Dispatches from a Cultural Guerrillera

De músico, poeta y loco todos tenemos un poco.

Deborah Méndez Wilson

Deborah Méndez Wilson
Location
Denver Metro Area, Colorado, USA
Birthday
August 24
Title
Journalist/Periodista
Company
Colorín Colorado Communications
Bio
I'm a fifth-generation Coloradan whose Spanish/Pueblo Indian family roots run hundreds of years deep in the U.S. Southwest. I am a Westerner, through and through, and can't imagine living anywhere else in the United States. The Colorado/New Mexico territory is my ancestral homeland. _______________________________ I am a mother of two and grandmother of one, but don't expect me to conform to anachronistic, enshrined stereotypes of what a woman is supposed to be or do in the autumn of her life. _______________________________ I am a professionally trained journalist who loves to blog, too. I earned my 10,000 hours while working as a daily journalist, and unabashedly worship at the altar of English. _______________________________ Though English is my native language and I adore it, I am fluent in Spanish because I lived in South America for a decade, and revel in the vibrant, haunting beauty of Castilian and Latin American cultures, histories and dialects. ¡Que viva el Español! _______________________________ Follow me on Twitter: @DebMendezWilson

MY RECENT POSTS

JUNE 9, 2013 11:28AM

America's Mermaid

 

Editor's Note:

One of my idols died last week in Los Angeles at the age of 91. I wrote this years ago and I'm reposting to honor the life of Esther Williams.

 

 

Because I was a landlocked child, I dreamed magic into bodies of water, large andRead full post »

 The United States or "New Spain" in 1819.

 

Cinco de Mayo rolls around every year, and a bizarre claim crops up in news stories, political speeches, and in schools: Hispanics are “the newest immigrants” to  arrive in the United States of America. ... Really?

JoRead full post »

MARCH 31, 2013 5:56AM

Viva César

If you were alive in the 1960s and 1970s, there's a good chance you remember the Delano Grape Strike.

The strike began in 1965 when Filipino American laborers walked off farm fields in California to protest low wages. Soon after, Mexican American farm workers, led by César Cháve… Read full post »

MARCH 27, 2013 2:54AM

The Kiss

 

Jay_Beach

Music blared from the dance floor, and young men pressed in all around us, their animated faces covered with a sheen of sweat.

We wore glittery paper hats and tiaras, twirled noisemakers, and tossed confetti as we drank and laughed effusively. It was New Year's Eve 1983, andRead full post »

MARCH 22, 2013 3:10AM

Water on My Mind

 

 

Today is World Water Day, and I’m reminded of the narrow, rugged mountain creeks that overflow with spring runoff in Colorado every year.

As the northern hemisphere tips toward the sun and the days grow longer, snow begins to melt along the Continental Divide and cascade doRead full post »

MARCH 17, 2013 5:34PM

Borrón y Cuenta Nueva

 

Ay, m’hija. Why would you joke about something like that?” Mom asked me, her voice tinged with incredulity.

 

“Your whole life you’ve advocated for the rights of the down-trodden. Why would you blurt out something like that to people who hardly know you?&rdqRead full post »

MARCH 13, 2013 4:35PM

Bienvenido, Francisco

A new Pope, un nuevo Papa, has been chosen, and I can't help but remember World Youth Day 1993 in Denver.

I had just graduated from journalism school, and my Associated Press news editor asked me to go out into the streets to get a feel for how the international event was transforming… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 31, 2012 5:07PM

No Fear: My Night in the Pit

My son and I wait for the concert to start.

She said she was celebrating her quarter-century birthday.

Petite and determined, she had pushed her way from the back of the large sweaty crowd to the front of the pit, and I could tell she was high on something. She… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 24, 2012 4:39AM

Say it Ain't So, Lance. Say it Ain't So.

Lance Armstrong, Sports Illustrated cover, 2001 (Google Images). 

I learned to ride when I was six, and haven't stopped pedaling since.

My father pushed my bike down our street, and let me go. In one momentous instant I felt betrayed, terrified, proud, and grateful. I flew as my… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 26, 2012 5:12AM

Mind Your Head

Photo courtesy of the Fundación Carpe Diem

I can’t help it.

 

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.

 

There are Spanish expressions that sometimes fit the bill better than anything in English.

 

That’s just how it is when you speak two langRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 23, 2012 7:53AM

Colorado Rises

Kronda Seibert, left, and Jamie McCurdy participated in "Colorado Rises," a human chain demonstration, on Sunday, July 22, 2012.

 

 

AURORA, Colo. – Linking arms in a human chain encircling a large swath of green grass in front of the Aurora Municipal Building, a young marriedRead full post »

Comments are now closed for this post.
Editor’s Pick
JULY 20, 2012 10:29AM

Not My Colorado

My grandson, a seventh-generation Coloradan, in his Batman T-shirt. He loves the masked hero, and wore his caped shirt to the Denver Zoo.

Here we go again.

Colorado, my home state, is on the world stage again because of a mass shooting that has left a dozen people dead.

I'm sureRead full post »

Comments are now closed for this post.
JULY 17, 2012 4:02AM

Chasing Cowboys

We weren't buckle bunnies, but we were chasing cowboys. All along, our good guy was right there in front of us.

 

She was a good old girl who wore vests, jeans and Roper boots, and thought it was high time we experienced one of the West’s last greatestRead full post »

Comments are now closed for this post.
Editor’s Pick
JULY 10, 2012 2:51PM

My Big, Fat Interracial Marriage

 

As my husband and I prepare to celebrate 15 years of marriage this year, we wonder what all the fuss is about .

My husband and I met the usual way—in a dive bar. Over the years I’ve spun the story to make it sound less like a… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
JUNE 15, 2012 1:01AM

My Little Peasant Feet


 
"Flamenco" (1995) by Spanish film director and photographer Carlos Saura.
 

Editor’s note: This is an old post. I deleted it a few months ago, but I’m reposting it today in honor of Sally Swift’s birthday ... and in praise of her pretty feet ... even ifRead full post »

Comments are now closed for this post.
JUNE 2, 2012 6:07PM

Hello, It's Me


John Francis Sr., striking a pose in his Army uniform in 1953. 

 

Happy Father’s Day to Bam Bam and all the other good ones ...

 

No one loves the man whom he fears.Aristotle

 

Life must be lived forward, but canRead full post »

MAY 28, 2012 11:26PM

Let Me Tell You About That Girl

Editor’s Note: Happy Birthday Mom.

Let me tell you about the birds and the bees, and the flowers and the trees, and the moon up above ... and a thing called love.

Let me tell you about a 25-year-old girl dressed in knee-high boots and an A-line miniRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 16, 2012 2:43AM

Adiós, Carlos

Mexican novelist, essayist, diplomat and social commentator, the formidable Carlos Fuentes (Wikepedia Photo).

He said he wrote to keep from dying, but in the end he couldn’t strike death from his opus on life.

 

Carlos Fuentes, the inimitable Mexican novelist, essayist, diplomat a/Read full post »

Comments are now closed for this post.
Editor’s Pick
MAY 7, 2012 2:13PM

Post-Boy Feminism

 

My son, Daniel, playing his beloved electric guitar two years ago at age 12.

My son’s little pink hand rose from the other side of the green surgical sheet that separated us, looking like a dahlia sprouting from my body that Monday after Mother’s Day in 1998.Read full post »

Comments are now closed for this post.
Editor’s Pick
APRIL 30, 2012 1:22PM

American Me

 New Spain in 1819 (Google Images).

Cinco de Mayo rolls around every year, and a bizarre claim crops up in news stories, political speeches, and in schools: Hispanics are “the newest immigrants” to  arrive in the United States of America. ... Really?

Journalists,Read full post »

Comments are now closed for this post.
Editor’s Pick
APRIL 13, 2012 12:41PM

The Thousand-Layer Cake of Motherhood

mihojas

(Photo courtesy of CocinaGratis.net) 

Several years ago I was getting ready for work when my then-7-year-old son began a conversation with me I will never forget.

"Mom?"

"Aha," I responded as I glopped thick velvet-black mascara on my lashes—my war paint—with my mouth wide opRead full post »

Comments are now closed for this post.
Editor’s Pick
APRIL 4, 2012 8:24PM

My Petty Crime: Riding With Bad Girls

 

penelope_cruz_jamon

Penélope Cruz in espadrilles, carrying a red tote, and wearing hoops in the 1992 Spanish film "Jamón, Jamón."  

   When I was detained for my "petty crime," I was sitting on a packed bus, heading south from Caracas to Ciudad Guayana, which is some niRead full post »

Comments are now closed for this post.
Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 6, 2012 4:54AM

Living in the In-Between

 

 

I don’t know how to make chilaquiles, but I do know how to make a mean Southwestern green chile. I might seem like a tragic, little pocha to some, but I know who I am.

My Grandparents, Circa 1920s, Trinidad, Colo. 

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. - “You don’tRead full post »

Comments are now closed for this post.
Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 13, 2011 3:43PM

Monsters and Roly Polies


Roly poly or "pillbug." (Google Images)

 

 The recent, tragic murder of a 7-year-old Georgia girl has me remembering another case from the 1960s that has haunted me for decades, and the day I trusted a stranger.

 

We called it a raspberry tree, but I still don’t know its boRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 7, 2011 3:56PM

The Tram Lady and the 9/11 Panhandler

 

Brother, can you spare a dime? (Wikepedia image) 

 
As I crossed the street, I heard the panhandler say in a voice as clear as a bell, “Fucking spic. Go back to Mexico.”
 
It happened in that eerie, dreamlike space after the Twin Towers collapsed inRead full post »
Comments are now closed for this post.