Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.
Showing posts with label Mares. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mares. Show all posts

01 April, 2016

E. A. Mares, "Florinto"

I found a wonderful collection today at Half Price Books, Cuentos Chicanos: A Short Story Anthology. In it is a story by E.A. "Tony" Mares. I immediately remembered that I'd attended one of his poetry readings, many years ago, and how I'd been touched by his readings.

The story "Florinto" takes place between the Great Depression and WWII in Albuquerque before the main road through town was paved and the local residents were priced out of their homes in the Old Town area. I was in Old Town Albuquerque in 2012 and experienced a sadness knowing how these gentrification and real estate and business cycles happen just as Ernesto, in the story, feels. "World War II had ended and a trickle of tourists, soon to become a flood, came to Albuquerque to visit Old Town. About that time, the city decided to pave New York Avenue and change its name to Lomas Boulevard, which had a more authentic, native ring." "The Spanish-speaking families which had lived there for centuries were shunted aside, forced by new zoning laws and by economic pressure to move to the poorer neighborhoods near the Rio Grande."

This group of boys torment Florinto and his donkey, Relámpago, throwing rocks and convincing the "inocente" to make a disturbance in church. They steal wine from the priests' cupboards in San Felipe Church. Basically, they are rowdy adolescent boys who will soon be in high school. These are also those old-fashioned times when the nuns at the San Felipe School could dispense punishment when they'd "known" you were guilty of something. "It was certainly not fear of Sister Caritas which prevented me from tormenting Florinto." Ernesto is the only boy not to directly throw rocks at Florinto and Relámpago. Ernesto feels a connection to Florinto which elicits a sense of history and knowledge that keeps Ernesto from participating in the taunting. "We stood there in a moment of time that had no beginning and no end. His eyes held me and as I looked into them I had the sensation that the whole history of my family was unfolding in that gaze." The story opens and closes with images of Florinto and his donkey.

Reading the story encouraged me to go through my photographs. I have a detail view of San Felipe Church in Old Town and a glimpse through the gate of San Felipe School. I see that Dr. Mares died in 2015. There are some interviews and readings on YouTube. In one in particular, he discusses the idea of Resolana.