A Mexican Dream and Other Compositions

A Mexican Dream and Other Compositions

A Mexican Dream and Other Compositions

A Mexican Dream and Other Compositions


A Mexican Dream and Other Compositions presents a rare collection of interwoven essays chronicling the fascinating history of the Cigarroa family and their influence on the Texas-Mexico border landscape. Barbara González Cigarroa brings to life stories of her ancestors and other family members, including: Rebecca Iriarte, who raised her five children during the Mexican Revolution of 1910; Judge Manuel J. Raymond, one of the last of the border patrones who expertly navigated contrasting cultures across border lines; Henry B. González, US Congressman and the first Mexican American elected to the Texas Senate during a time of blatant racial discrimination; Dr. Joaquin González Cigarroa Jr., a revered physician and education activist; Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, pediatric transplant surgeon and former chancellor of the University of Texas system; Barbara Flores Cigarroa, a mother of ten whose values and resolve inspired her children and many grandchildren to excel in the finest universities and beyond. In presenting richly detailed vignettes with keen observation and grace, Cigarroa offers captivating and original insights not only into her family’s remarkable story, but also into the beauty of the extraordinary traits and enduring spirit of the people of our Texas borderlands.


While in our hemisphere a skein of golden Sunlight shines again,
and with its fair judicious light distributes equally and shares
with all things visible their hues,
and with this restoration makes
the exterior senses operate
more certainly, as daylight breaks
in the illumined World and I–awake.

—Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, “Primero sueño

How can I best describe you that others might see you as I do, Abuelita? To do so requires cultured words akin to the pearls our ancestors brought from Spain to Mexico in the sixteenth century or the jade our Aztec forefathers gave them in exchange.

I shall start with your eyes, more valuable than the most precious of stones.

Tranquil. Bright. Steadfast. Resurrecting hope even in longing, the expression in your gaze is of one who has many aspirations. and the light in your eyes is fluid and can change from disquietude to creative rootedness in a flash. With perfect clarity, I recall when I first glimpsed this expression in you when I was a young girl.

You were seated in your elegant living room one afternoon in your home in downtown Laredo, Texas, where you always received me for my Saturday visits. Your bearing seemed so different from my mother’s. Mami carried certitude into each room she inhabited, knowing she belonged on the left side of her bed, to the seat on the right of Papi’s chair at the dining room table, or in her fragrant garden enjoying the shade of the pecan trees she had planted in celebration of each of her ten children’s births. As the principal architect of the many lives surrounding her, Mami was ever-present, confidently ensuring our foundation was firm and our principles sound.

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