Texas State University
Conference of Black and Latino Playwrights
COLUMPIO (The Swing)
by Joe Luis Cedillo
directed by Carlos Jose Murillo
September 17 at 2 p.m.
PSH Foundation Theatre,430 Moon Street, San Marcos (click for map)
House of Recuerdos (Memories) The house I grew up centered around the kitchen. My sisters and I ate all of our meals, gained access to the sandbox in the backyard, swing set, climbing and exploring the hill in our backyard. School books on the table, dinner conversations, smells of tortillas, growing plants in mayonaisse jars, our music and our parent’s, folding laundry, building a model solar system, band-aids, and love. All kinds of love. It was the canvas of roughly 30 years of my life. I grew up Chicano. During the Civil Rights era, my parents like many Mexican-Americans in the Southwest—and that generation of American youth—struggled for political recognition, created a positive self-image and identity. They marched, participated in sit-ins, and created their moment in history. It was earned through community organizing, civic pride and social consciousness as well as tear gas, police beatings, and blood. American is my citizenship, Mexican our heritage—but Chicano was who they fought for me and my sisters to be recognized as. It was a point of pride when we moved out of the barrios. Restrictive housing laws and Homeowner’s Associations that could once legally bar Mexican-American or African-American families from ownership were repealed. Families now had access to new tract homes with large yards and better schools where college was a tangible reality. It was the pride my father had in driving up our driveway and mother had in ensuring our house stayed perfectly ordered and clean. Our family life in our hous can be seen in the Polaroids my dad took. Birthdays, baptisms, graduations, my Marine Corps going away party. This play is a work of fiction, but is very much the home I carry inside me. On Feb. 21, 2005, while I stood with my mother and father, sisters, nephew and nieces, a landslide obliterated the house I grew up in.