Wednesday, April 30, 2008

People Find Me

Four years of less-than-successful job searches have forced me to think hard about what I do and what it's worth. I keep cranking out the articles, but so far nobody wants to pay me to do it. And with the country and the world in the state it's in, I sometimes find myself looking back on what I've dedicated the last sixteen years of my life to and thinking, "so what?" And then I get communications like this (which I have redacted in the interest of anonymity):
I am the grandaughter of **** of the Carpa ****. I have been anxious to get my grandfather's story out for a long time, having heard tidbits here and there, but only recently have been able to get my father to open up about his family life in the Mexican circus. He is going to be 8* years old on [DATE] and I believe he realizes that a lot of cultural history will be lost with him if he doesn't get it out. Thankfully, he is relatively healthy and his brain is as sharp as a tack and he remembers things as if they happened yesterday. I read the 1984 article by Nicolas Kanellos then the web site on the Carpa Garcia which lead me to your dissertation paper which I have also read. My father knew every single person you mentioned and some you did not (for example the man who played the scooped out antifreeze cans (two of them tied together) as a violin was ****. Since your paper is so long I wondered where I could get two copies of it one for me and one for him. I want to have him read it at his leisure and get his feedback.. He still lives in ****, Texas and I live in ****. I understand that there is a new readex data system to access old newspapers (La Prensa) pertaining to mexican culture but I have not gone through them yet. My grandfather was a very big presence in the carpa **** and a formally trained musician at the University in Mexico City. He was fluent in both english and spanish when he came to Texas and wrote entire scores of music. He did fairly young exact date unknown my father was 9 to 12 years old. I think it is a little strange that he does not remember the dates but that he remembers vividly other details.. I know this is an area of interest to you and thought you might help me tell my story or give me some ideas. Thank you for your responses
That's right, I just got an e-mail from the granddaughter of a clown that everybody I interviewed in San Antonio revered. Over the years, I have gotten a steady trickle of communications like this, and even now they keep coming. Recently an oceanographer tracked me down through my dissertation advisor, looking for an article from La Prensa on a cartoonist he thought might be his uncle. I mentioned the article in the diss, and because of me he now has grainy microfilm copies of some more of his uncle's drawings. Those of you who are dissertating right now, remember that those UMI dissertations are now accessible through Google searchers. So it's not hard for people to track you down. And your work will touch somebody.


Blogger jennifer said...

wow, pete. what a great story! it's gotta feel good to know that your work means so much to people in the community. :)

April 30, 2008 8:40 PM  

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