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Amá, Your Story Is Mine

Amá, Your Story Is Mine

Edited by Susan Dixon
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  • Book Info
    Amá, Your Story Is Mine
    Book Description:

    In the preface to her memoir, Ercenia "Alice" Cedeño recalls the secrecy and turmoil that marked her youth: "I spent most of my growing years mad at my mother and wanting her to change to fit in with the rest of the world," she writes. "When my sisters and I wanted her to visit our friends' mothers, she would say, 'Why do people need to know other peoples' lives?' Looking back, I wonder if she was really saying, 'I don't want them to know our business.' There was so much to hide."

    Now bringing those hidden memories to light, Amá, Your Story Is Mine traces the hardship, violence, deceit, and defiance that shaped the identity of two generations of women in Alice's family. Born in the mountains of northern Mexico, Alice's mother married at age 14 into a family rife with passion that often turned to anger. After losing several infant children to disease, the young couple crossed into the United States seeking a better life.

    Unfolding in a series of powerful vignettes, Amá, Your Story Is Mine describes in captivating detail a daring matriarch who found herself having to protect her children from their own father while facing the challenges of cultural discrimination. By turns wry and tender, Alice's recollections offer a rare memoir that fully encompasses the Latina experience in the United States.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79533-4
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xi)
  5. [Illustrations]
    (pp. xii-xvi)
  6. Part One
    (pp. 1-84)

    As a young couple, Amá and my father, Apá, traveled through the United States in search of a new life. Nothing came easily for Amá. Even the weather was tough. She overcame blizzards, bitter winter cold, scorching sun, and typhoons. She faced many of life’s deceptions by the early age of nineteen. By then her heart had already been broken by the loss of her first four niños. Amá experienced hunger, fear, humiliation, and injustice. Her beliefs were tested, but she hung onto them. She was like a tree that grew beside a river, offspring of the earth sustained by...

  7. Part Two
    (pp. 85-128)

    It was supposed to be the greatest summer ever, because we would spend it away from home. Amá sent us to stay with my favorite aunt, Tía Flora, in Tijuana. We all loved her. She retained the youthful smile of a little girl in a round and pudgy face. Only her wavy salt-and-pepper hair revealed her true age. The style itself never changed. Her hair was always swept back and twisted neatly at the sides of her face.

    My Tía Flora’s voice was soft even when she was angry. When we did not listen to her, she would threaten to...

  8. Part Three
    (pp. 129-176)

    Amá decided we needed a change of scenery and neighborhood. From Billy’s Apartments we moved to First Street, to have a clean start. Out in front of our lopsided new building stood two palm trees that reminded me of two ancient women. Even the habitat had taken on a feminine and worn-out, enduring air. I called the trees the abuelas, the grandmothers, tall with wilted strings of lifeless hair drooping around their faces. The bark of the palms was as fragile as the hanging skin of such women, but the trunks had strong, spreading roots that bound them to the...