April 2022 the Year of the Miracle by Juliana

Louise Mondragon Aragon April 7, 1923-December 24, 2008 presente

 Dear Reader, 

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but…

This is the writing prompt: I’m challenging you to write a page, paragraph, or sentence and tell me your story. I love this prompt because it forces me to think out of the box and be original,  innovative, and magical. Magic to me is the unexplainable, like finding a $20 bill in your glovebox in your 65 Mercedez Benz just when you ran out of gas and were broke and poor. 

Back in the 80’s I had a boyfriend named, the Caveman. He was a Viking with blue eyes and long ginger hair and beard. He drank a little. He drank a little a lot. We lived in his schoolbus hippy cave. It was a mancave on wheels, big wheels. We lived in his cave for a summer in the Colorado Rockies near Woodland Park up Ute Pass on Hwy 24. We roughed it for love. I was in crazy Chicana love. He was in Caveman Biker Dude love. Insane doesn’t begin to describe what it was. But it ended and I survived and learned valuable lessons about real love. That’s my story. What’s yours? 

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but…

In 1995 I joined a group of musicians and comedians named the Latin Locomotions. It was three crazy Chicanos two women and one vato extraordinaire. We toured for the Department of Defense after Desert Storm. We started in Europe and traveled to the United Arab Emirates and ended at Camp Justice in the middle of the Indian Ocean between Africa and India on the island of Diego Garcia. We traveled with the military on cargo planes and treked through deserts, jungles, beaches, and cities. It was a magical time in my life where I left behind my mother, son, husband, friends, and colleagues to give back by entertaining the men and women who defend our country. I fell in love with the U.S.A. by leaving it and traveling to other places, meeting other people from different religions, cultures, languages, and ideas. I looked into the eyes of those people and knew that my life had meaning. I felt proud and small in a world filled with people who look like me and don’t look like me. 

Looking back on that time, I was blessed to have people in my life like Sherry and Manuel, the Latin Locomotions. They taught me to cherish the life I’ve been given and never take an opportunity for granted. I never went to graduate school. I gave my time and energy to learning about the world from traveling and meeting people. I lived my life. I’m the Crazy Chicana in Catholic City from Red Canyon Falling on Churches on the Road I Ride Bleeds

I probably shouldn’t tell you this but…

When I was a teenager I drank, smoked, and cussed like a sailor. I was a chingona. Still am to this day. I’m not all talk though. I can definitely hold my own in a bar fight, or cat fight, or wrestling match. I’m not passive, I’m not aggressive, but don’t piss me off. I stand for the underdog. I protect the weak and those unable to stand up for themselves. I stand for justice. I promote peace but know that in war many will die to fight for freedom. 

When I was fourteen I got knocked up. He was nineteen and had a Thunderbird. I was a child infatuated with a Chicano from San Francisco that arrived in my small town in Southern Colorado and blew my mind. I dropped out of highschool and rode in his Thunderbird all the way to California. Fifty years later, my son is grown, my ex is dead. 

I’ve graduated with a GED, a bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing, published several books of poetry and poems in anthologies, I’ve taught in my hometown in the building I used to attend junior high. I’ve taught writing workshops to countless children through Writers in the Schools, I’ve mentored young women in Building Bridges, a leadership program for disadvantaged girls. I’ve performed on stages all over the world. I’ve written my poetry, fiction, and memoirs and write for the Stiletto Gang. But what really makes me proud of myself is that I’ve never given up on my dreams to be successful, to graduate from college, to teach, to learn, to lead. 

Now I’m 65, my husband is 60, my son is 50 and we have all become eligible for AARP. I have survived long enough to witness this event and I’m so glad I didn’t give up, give in, fall down and not get back up again. I look forward to whatever comes and however many days I have left in this world. I learned that peace comes from not letting the bullies win. I’ve stood up to the bullies and they’ve beaten my head and kicked me in the gut, but I kept getting up until they gave up and left me with my resolve that nothing is going to keep me down, not even hate. 

I probably shouldn’t tell you this but…

I always wanted to be a grandmother. My mom was the best mom. Not perfect. Not even close. She was imperfect like me with flaws and humanity. She taught me to be a chingona and to fight for the less fortunate. She taught me to love the sinner and hate the sin, but sometimes I hate the sinner and the sin. She was a world class grandmother and great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother. She had lots of grandchildren. Some weren’t even related to her but called her grandma. 

My students called me Mama Fatula and still do to this day. I have a couple of soul sistas that share their grandchildren with me. They call be tia abuelita Juliana. So what if I never have my own grandchildren. There are enough children in the world that need love and don’t have grandmothers. I’ll be their abuela. I’ll love them as if they were my own. I used to tell my students goodbye after class by saying, Look both ways, have a nice day, hasta luego, te amo. They asked me do you mean it when you say I love you? I meant it. 

8 replies
  1. Debra H. Goldstein
    Debra H. Goldstein says:

    I'm glad you told us what you shouldn't tell us because it reflects all that makes you who you are…. which is pretty damn impressive. Not to mention, the loving abuela side of you.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Wow, Juliana, this post blew me away! What a life you have led and are living! Thank you for sharing a piece of it. (This is TK Thorne. Google has decided it doesn't know who I am … again.)

    Reply
  3. Lynn McPherson
    Lynn McPherson says:

    What an amazing life! So many unique experiences and adventures. Thank you for sharing the tip of the iceberg. It's great getting to know more about the members of this unique group.

    Reply
  4. Saralyn
    Saralyn says:

    I probably shouldn't tell you this, but I loved every word, sentence, paragraph, and episode of this blog. You are an inspiration!

    Reply
  5. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    Juliana, you are a magnificent human being. I probably shouldn't tell you this but there are times I worry I'm not. Lovely post.

    Reply
  6. Kathryn Lane
    Kathryn Lane says:

    I shouldn't tell you this, but what incredible stories you shared with us, shared with such love and warmth – no wonder you have so many children calling you Tia Abuela.

    Reply

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