Tuesday, March 31, 2015

In Memory of Selena: 20 Years Later.

Today marks the 20th anniversary of famous Tejano star Selena's death, and yet as I write this I'm sitting here in disbelief pretending that she is still alive, because in many ways she is.   

I remember so clearly laying in a hospital bed in Salt Lake City sick and pregnant with my first daughter. I had developed preeclampsia in the last trimester of my pregnancy, and had been forewarned that if I didn't get any bed rest I could go into early labor! I had been laying down bored out of my mind with a sonogram machine monitoring   my baby's heartbeat, and that's when Jon turned on the television, and there it was. Newsflash! "Selena Quintanilla, famous Tejano star gunned down, and shot!" I couldn't believe it, and I began to cry. Here I am laying in a hospital bed with swollen feet connected to a machine with needles in my veins, and all my focus was on Selena. Probably a good thing because it helped me to not worry too much about what was happening to me with the baby. I had only met Selena once in my life, and because I knew of all the good she did in her community, and how loyal she was to her fans I felt as if I knew her. I asked my husband, "Why am I crying so much? I mean...I know that I'm hormonal & very pregnant right now, but this is ridiculous!" That's when Jon told me that because we are the same age, and the same ethnicity, and listened to her music, as well as living an hour away from each other is why my heart was filled with so much love. The fact that she did so much in her community was impressive, and in spite of everything she faced with "life" finishing school by mail while touring, becoming a huge success, and having her own business she succeeded. I'm sure in the end she found balance, and marrying her sweetheart who was in her band seemed to have fulfilled her life even more. 
I wanted to write this post to remember. To remember all the fun times I had while attending her small concerts,  and "bailes" dancing to the beat of her music. That was so much fun, and in many ways I miss it. I miss the twirling around. The dips, and turns, and dancing all over the dance floor with old friends. Sure they have salsa here in Jersey, but it's not the same. I wish Jon knew how to Cumbia with me, and maybe someday I'll teach him! I want my girls to know who she was, and even though they weren't born while she was alive I want to keep her memory alive in my home by watching old videos of her on youtube, and listening to her music. 
I will always treasure the days we when we would drive 25 hours from Utah to Texas to visit my mom. One of the "must see, and do" things was to always visit her gravesite, and the memorials that were dedicated to her on Ocean Drive. Sierra was three when we took her for the first time, and even though she didn't know too much about her she seemed so melancholy when she stood by her statue for the first time. It was as if she knew she was someone special. That was the beginning of teaching my daughter to become more familiar with who Selena was, and what she was all about. 
Like I mentioned, every year we'd plan yearly trips to visit my mom until it was time for us to move to the east, and here is another picture of Sierra when she was almost four. She seemed so intrigued by Selena and her statue even more, and when I bought her the first edition of the Selena doll she immediately fell in love with her, and from then on she always wanted to take a picture next to her statue. Good thing I bought it then because they're high in price now!
When I heard about the boutique she had opened on Everhart I was giddy, and filled with excitement! Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to visit her shop while she was still alive, but when we finally visited I ended up buying a few accessories. One thing I'll always remember was the feeling I felt when I entered inside. It felt somewhat "off" for me. I think part of those "off" feelings was part of my perception in how I was taking this all in. As I look at this photo I feel as if I was in mourning, but really happy to be there visiting. Being that three years had gone by since her death was still shocking, and still hadn't processed it all in. I was also a bit overwhelmed, and couldn't believe that I was back in Corpus Christi finally visiting her shop, and seeing all the memorabilia inside. It felt so surreal to me.
It's been almost ten years since I visited Texas, and plan to visit again when time permits. Even though her boutiques have closed their doors for good there is a museum that was built in memory of her by her family in which one can view her belongings. Besides having my mom and sister living there, that's a good enough excuse to go back. It's still hard to believe that she is gone, but I will always keep her memory alive. Sometimes when I'm in a Tejano mood I'll put on some of her music, or watch the movie. My favorite album has always been Selena Live, and my all time favorite song is "Como la Flor". She certainly was, and will always be an icon, and an epic legend in Corpus Christi, Texas. A visionary with so much talent who died way too young, and yet made all her dreams come true! 

RIP  Selena. 

**All pictures taken by my awesome husband, and of course are oldies from the years 1997-1999! 

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