Songs My Mother Loved

My Mom with my nephew, Baby G

My mother’s name is Maria Senovia. But people called her Chayo. She hated her name so she changed it to Maria del Sagrario and Chayo is a nickname for Sagrario.  My mother will tell you that she has never been happy. But she was happy when we lived in Mexico. We were in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico for five years. I never saw her cry when we lived there. She had her struggles there too but she was young and when you are young you’re the sole owner of your destiny or at least you think you are and you live your life that way. These days she cries a lot. I think it’s because she has allowed her current husband to control her destiny for too long. He’s an ass. But he helped us get our papers. It’s the only good thing that came out of that marriage. That and my two sisters Mercy and Amberly.

I’ve been thinking about her a lot and trying to understand her. Trying to find the reasons why things went so wrong in her life. And why the good things don’t seem to be enough for her to make a change. My mother is beautiful and when she was young there were no shortage of men wanting to date her. But she smiled coquettishly and only said yes to a select few. The sad part is that the ones she did pick were lousy. She thought having a man and building a family would establish her. And it might have, but for the simple fact that she picked the wrong person to partner up with. She never knew what a real family structure looked like.

Her only point of reference were the telenovelas she watched. No doubt, this is where she first fell in love with Jose Luis Rodriguez, “El Puma” and started to idealize men and the protection they could provide. He is a Venezuelan singer who became hugely popular in a Puerto Rican telenovela called Cristina Bazan.  Telenovelas played a huge role in my mother’s life and it shaped her view of romantic love. The story is always the same in telenovelas.  Poor girl goes to work in a huge mansion as a maid; poor girl falls in love with the tall, dark and handsome son in the household; his family never approves of her and a lot of drama ensues but the tall, dark and handsome son proves himself and stands up for his love;  and he finally makes an honest woman out of her and marries her and they live in huge house with acres and acres of platano plantations or coffee or cattle. My Mom saw herself in these stories and wished for it to become her life. She came from a poor family, had little schooling, worked in rich people’s homes as a maid and probably daydreamed of marrying into one of these families. If she found a good man from a good family, maybe not super rich but definitely with money or hardworking even, well then maybe he would save her and make the poverty she grew up in disappear, puff! And when the men failed in this task, and the fairy tale ended, she didn’t quite know what to do with herself. She accomplished some things by marrying her current husband but she sacrificed a lot. Sometimes I wonder if she thinks it was worth it. I haven’t been brave enough to ask.

Below are some of the songs I would hear around the house when we lived in Tuxtla Gutierrez, back when she was happy and young and the world was full of possibilities.

Dueno De Nada by Jose Luis Rodriguez “El Puma”

Quiero Dormir Cansado by Emmanuel

Cama y Mesa by Roberto Carlos

Ven Con El Alma Desnuda by Emmanuel

Anda y Ve by Jose Jose

Tu Carcel by Los Bukis

Ese Hombre by Pimpinela y Dyango

Si No Te Hubieras Ido by Marco Antonio Solis

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