jueves, abril 21, 2005

La Partera

During the student's exam (literally) I re-read La Partera: The Story of a Midwife, Fran Leeper Buss' oral history of Jesusita Aragon, the famous Las Vegas, New Mexico midwife. The book was first published in 1980, and a second edition was published in 2000.

I was excited to see that the transcripts from the oral history are part of the collection at the Schlesinger Library of American Women. I would love to go there some time and read over them.

This is really an amazing story. It's the kind of thing that I never knew about when I was a jr. high and high school student in West Las Vegas. I wish everyone would read this!

For some reason, I especially like the part at the end where Jesusita is a little tired and cranky and is complaining. (I expect the reason is that I associate a certain kind of plaintive lament with my grandmothers). Also, like my Grandma Lupe, Jesusita took in out-patients as boarders.

I wish the Nuevomejicano historians would engage with this book. For instance, there's a lot about how the area of Trujillo is arid and unliveable, but that's mostly because of how the state has allocated the water to big agriculture in the south, over the villages in the north.

I know I gave a copy of the book to Aunt Helen, but can't remember if I gave it to don Alfonso, too.

In telling her story, Jesusita Aragon really shows the harsh judgment many young women received from their families. I remember this from the Mexican side: not so much from the New Mexican side.

I'm hoping the students will relate to La Partera when we read it next week. A lot of things they describe in their family histories occur in this book (adoptions, for example, and being pressured to quit school and then valuing education for one's children).

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