I returned from San Antonio to find all sorts of good news. Great rejoicing in the big house because Hubby Flatbottom has received his DVR and is back to watching the 56” TV. Mom and Sister Sara have restrained their cleaning to the drawers in Mom’s file cabinet. Only two bags of my stuff on the front porch. And I had a chance to meet my beloved Brother Joe in San Antonio.
What is success? In our society, fame is a strange thing. The Kardashians come to mind. They seem to have little education and less interest in their brains. Everything they strive for is external. There is nothing there, there. And yet they claim to be famous.
Brother Joe, the Sand Artist, is without question, famous. He was performing at the Tobin Center in San Antonio for a crowd of 500 at the HEB 110th Anniversary. I was presenting (notice I don’t use the term “performing”) at the Witte Museum for 50 teachers at a Humanities Texas Workshop. My topic? Mexican Americans during the
Texas Revolution. I can’t see 500 fans coming out for that but I did keep all 50 teachers entertained.
Brother Joe’s agent suggested I hire a comedy writer! That way I, too, could become famous. I don’t get standing ovations from an audience of 500 and I don’t know Howie Mandel, but I do have a loyal and devoted bunch of people who drive from all over Texas to hear me speak—on history! Somehow, the agent didn’t think that was enough. He and I had a completely different view of fame.
I drove over to the Tobin Center from the Witte and Joe and I got together. We called Mom to report in.
Mom was thrilled. Her little chicks had made good. Back in 1963, she was a single mother with four of us kids to care for. I was 17, my brother Joe 16, sister Sara 12 and brother Chuck only 8. My father had died in Mexico of a heart attack and Mom brought us back to the United States where she raised us on a teacher’s salary. All mothers want their children to succeed. Some do, but not all. We four were lucky.
The one thing Mom demanded was that we all get an education. She led the way by getting her Master’s in Michigan and a doctorate at the University of Miami. I can remember her upstairs in her bedroom, developing bruises on her sternum from reading heavy psychology tomes and propping them up on her chest. We kids took care of each other, fortunately finding good friends in those wild and crazy 60s and 70s.
I went on to teach history, brother Joe got a degree in Commercial Art (the Sand Art would come much, much later), Sister Sara finished in art as well and is now guiding Meditation Seminars, and Brother Chuck joined the Air Force and got a degree in Electrical Engineering. With all of us out of the house, Mom took to running the roads with Al, dropping in on each of us periodically. Fame was not the point. Having a good life, doing well and being happy was. And we have and we do and we are. Thanks Mom.