Category Archives: Family History

TPA Round-Up; Back on the Horse

flomeIt’s been a pretty emotional couple of weeks.

After spending an enjoyable Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Day after Christmas, my mom (Mama Flo Medellin) fell ill on the 27th, spent a few days in the ICU, then spent a couple of weeks in hospice until she passed on peacefully surrounded by her children, grandson, and son-in-law. We appreciate all of the messages, calls, texts, and personal visits from family and friends from all over, including some of our local elected officials and candidates. Special thanks to State Rep. Gene Wu and his awesome personnel who offered a Texas House resolution honoring my mom. Particular thanks go to my buds in the Texas Progressive Alliance who attended mom’s memorial service and offered the kindest words. I’m grateful.

And, now, it’s back on the horse time. Here’s this week’s TPA Round-up, which includes a link to Mom’s “Flobituary.”

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes that Alan Rickman is attending a David Bowie concert in heaven as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff describes the qualities he wants in a County Commissioner to succeed the late El Franco Lee.

Libby Shaw contributing to Daily Kos continues her series on the state’s top three leaders, their hopeless pandering and lack of vision. The Texas Blues: Living in a place run by the Three Stooges of Bigotry, Snake Oil and Malfeasance.

SocraticGadfly, anticipating last Sunday’s Democratic Debate, took a cold look at the new heat, primarily on Hillary Cinton’s side, between her and Sanders, on single-payer health care vs. gun nuttery.

Before the last GOP debate, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs sensed desperation in the air. After it, the smell of fear lingered like… well, you-know-what.

CoudBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is glad that there are regulations to keep our food, air, water, pharmaceuticals, workers, and consumer products safe. We need more and better, not worse and less.

Neil at All People Have Value noted the passing of baseball Hall of Famer and Negro League star Monte Irvin. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

The TPA is greatly saddened by the passing of Florencia “Flora” Medellin, and extends its deepest sympathies to her family and many friends.

=======================

And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Grits for Breakfast pinpoints the underlying legislative problem that proponents of police body cameras will have to solve to achieve real transparency.

Better Texas Blog reviews the changes in penalties for not having health insurance.

Tamara Tabo laments how little we all know about our rights when we are pulled over by a police officer.

The Great God Pan Is Dead selects his favorite art books from 2015.

Paradise in Hell ponders Greg Abbott’s constitutional tantrum.

Juanita revels in the latest Ken Paxton revelations.

RIP: Florencia (Flora) Medellin

floFlorencia “Flora” Medellín was reunited with the love of her life, Anastacio “Tacho” Medellín, in heaven on January 13, 2016, surrounded by her children, grandson, and son-in-law at Methodist Hospital West in Houston, TX. She was born November 5, 1930 to Jesus Serna and María Teran Serna in her beloved home town, Crystal City, Texas.

She grew up in Crystal City, traveling as a migrant worker, with her family, to the cherry orchards of Wisconsin, the tomato fields of Indiana, and the agri-fields of Texas and North Dakota. In the summer of 1949, her family pulled up their Texas roots and relocated to Decatur, IN, in search of a better life. While living in Indiana, she worked as a chicken plucker in a poultry processing plant, steam-press operator in a dry cleaning shop, and even considered training as a nurse in neighboring Illinois. Alas, her mother’s tears stopped her from pursuing her dream of becoming a healthcare worker.

flopopIn the Spring of 1959, while she was visiting relatives in Crystal City, she reconnected with her childhood friend and neighbor, Tacho Medellín. It was a whirlwind romance, with them spending entire days at the Popeye Baseball Tournament, at a carnival (where he won so many stuffed animals for her she had to give many of them away), and driving around Crystal City—with his sisters, Mary and Concepcion, acting as chaperones. As promised, he traveled to Indiana to ask for her hand in marriage and make plans for the wedding. They were married October 17, 1959 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Decatur, Indiana.

They returned to Crystal City where they raised their children, were active in the community, and were co-owners of Medellin’s Texaco for over 30 years. Aside from running their business and raising their kids, Flora and Tacho were avid sports enthusiasts, often willing to travel throughout south Texas to support the Crystal City Javalinas at football and baseball games—a hobby they traced back to their courtship.

flopop2After her husband’s untimely death in 1990, she lived with her children, Sylvia and Tacho Jr. in Austin, then moved to Fort Worth with Toni, Ben and Benny. During the twenty one years she lived with the Briseños, helping to raise her grandson, she lived in Philadelphia, Tulsa, Kingwood (Houston), Denton, and Cypress, where she made lifelong friends along the way.

Once she had the opportunity to travel, she took full advantage, visiting family in Decatur and Fort Wayne, Indiana several times and took a road trip through the Smokey Mountains.

During her time in Pennsylvania, she enjoyed hiking through the snow at Valley Forge Park, visiting all of Philly’s wonderful museums (the Ben Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Museum of Art were her favorites). Touring Pennsylvania Amish Country, visiting Hershey Park (where she ate all the chocolate bars she could get her hands on), and visiting Atlantic City, NJ were all items that she was able to scratch off her bucket list.

While residing in Oklahoma she enjoyed visiting several reservations, the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, attended PowWows, and picnicked at Lake Tenkiller. Taking a trip to Cheyenne Frontier Days and attending the Daddy of ’Em All Rodeo was one of her favorite western road trips.

On her many trips to New Mexico to visit her grandson at college, she visited Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and made a pilgrimage to El Santuario at Chimayo. In a life filled with highlights, watching Benny graduate from college, perform at the Greer Garson Theatre, and sing with the Santa Fe Opera were amongst her proudest moments.

When she could still travel, she also enjoyed visiting friends and family in Crystal City and San Antonio.

Flora was an active and committed Democrat, working through social media to “Flo the Vote.” She loved holding court at political events, attending Senate District and State conventions, and staying up late on election night to watch the returns. She and her family hosted political fundraisers for various candidates for public office (even some Republicans attended and donated just so they could have some of her famous tortillas). Casting her ballot by mail every election was a priority—even when she was being wheeled in to surgery or recovering from a serious illness. As she grew older and more frail, she would remind her kids to order her ballot by mail as soon as she could because she wanted to cast her ballot and have it counted in case she “didn’t make it” to Election Day. She was an active member of the Kingwood Area Democrats, Democratic Women of Denton County, Stonewall Democrats of Denton County, ROADwomen, and South Denton County Democratic Club (SoDeCo).

In 2012, she embarked on a new adventure in Assisted Living where she made many new friends, took up new hobbies like oil painting, jewelry making, and pokeno, and enjoyed her new found independence. Her final residence was at Solera at West Houston where she loved the crafting, gaming, sing-a-longs and therapy pet visits.

Left to mourn her passing and celebrate her life are her children, Anastacio Medellín Jr., Sylvia Medellín, Maria Antonia “Toni” Medellin; son-in-law Benjamín A. Briseño (all of Houston); her grandson, Benjamín Alejos “Benny” Briseño, Benny’s “honey bunny” Taylor Servedio, and her great-grand-cat, Beatrice of Los Angeles, CA; adopted daughters, Veronica Gamez and Charlene Valda Tanner; adopted granddaughters, Ariadna “Ari Hayek” Orozco and Andrea Ramos; brothers Jesus Serna, Louis Cerna, and Hector Serna (Karen) of Decatur, IN; sisters Maria de Jesus Serna Espinola, Guadalupe Serna Garza, and Herminia Montalvo (Jose) of Fort Wayne; brothers-in-law Manuel Medellin Jr (Beatriz) and Manuel Cerna (Regina); her aunt Virginia Guerrero Teran of Crystal City; her best friend Elena “Nena” Puente of Crystal City; her comadre Maria Ana “Nena” Vera Guzman of Corpus Christi; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, godchildren, and fellow DWDC alum Judith Banks Ford and Jan Marie Goode. She also leaves behind friends from coast to coast, numerous Bingo Buddies, and Crafting Comadres at Solera and at Seven Acres Jewish Senior Care.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Jesus and Maria Serna; her beloved husband, Anastacio Reyes Medellin; adopted son, Mike Kelley; sisters Aurora “Lolly” Serna and María “Maruka” Serna Ortiz; brothers Rodolfo Garcia, Elias Casiano, Eriberto “Beto/Bob” Serna, and Jose Z. Serna; beloved sisters-in-law Consuelo “Connie” Serna, Tomasa “Tommy” Mendez Serna, Olivia Coronado Serna, Mary Medellin Juarez, and Concepcion Medellin Garcia; brothers-in-law Olegario Medellin and Joaquin Medellin; pets Poochie, Lobo, Precious, Chico, Sugar, Chato, Steven, Guero, Gertie, and Jackie.

In lieu of flowers, we ask that memorial donations be made to the following, or to your favorite progressive organization, in her honor:

Because Flora never could stand to see anyone hungry: The Houston Food Bank 535 Portwall Street Houston, Texas 77029 713-223-3700 HoustonFoodBank.org

Because Flora believed that everyone deserved to live the American Dream: FIEL Houston 6610 Harwin #214 Houston, TX 77036 fielhouston.org

Because Flora was convinced that they key to success for women was the ability to understand and control their reproductive system: Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Inc. Promotoras Program (community health workers) 4600 Gulf Freeway Houston, TX 77023 713.522.6363 ppgulfcoast.org

Because Flora wanted to see a Democratic President supported by a Democratic Congress: James Cargas for Congress Cargas for Congress 2450 Louisiana #400-777 Houston, TX 77065 713 581 0072 jamescargas.com

Dodge Gets Smacked for White Farmer Ad

It seems more people and publications are asking:  Where are all the browner-looking farmers? The reaction is to Dodge’s use of an “ode” to the farmer by right-winger Paul Harvey. The ad shows all these different farmers, but not different in color.

Actually, that wasn’t my reaction at all. My reaction:  What about the farm workers? Specifically…

And then he said, “oh shit, we need farm workers!” So, then, broken down trucks drove, I mean, migrated, to those farms…”

My reaction to farmers (which are defined as the actual farm owners) came from deep memories of our trek to North Dakota one year–and in an old, ’68 Chevy truck with a bad transmission. Our family business had hit some trying times, so my Dad decided that perhaps a summer of hoeing sugar beets would get us back on track. Boy, were we wrong. It ended up being a summer of indentured servitude, with the farmer “providing” overpriced housing in the form of an ugly, dusty trailer house. Of course, there was also that high-interest “credit” account the farmer provided at a local grocery store he either owned or got kick-backs from when the account was settled.

The store account was settled at the end of the summer because families got paid at the end of the summer, too. In our case, it ended a little early because of a sudden illness that hit my Dad. But, since my Daddy was a businessman, he was quite the bookkeeper. When the farmer brought us his accounting of the store credit account, well, it sure didn’t match-up to my daddy’s accounting of things. If anything, we were getting screwed–big time! Of course, what recourse do farm workers have, citizen or not? Especially in some other state. We headed back to Texas, with dreams of paying off bills and maybe even having enough to buy a new truck (Ford, not Dodge) dashed.

Still, we were a proud family. We knew how to make ends meet, and my parents knew how to work. We fought through the bad Reagan economy, Dad got a job working with the Highway Department, and completed that dream of home ownership. And yes, he got his Ford F-150. To my Dad, it seemed, that things were much different with farmers than when his Daddy was a sharecropper in South Texas and had better working relationships with them.

Perhaps that does not describe all farmers, but frankly, when Congress seems to be doing everything to take advantage of cheap labor through this new round of CIR talks, the beneficiary is ultimately the farmers. But as a friend pointed out, the whole Americana view of the farmer is quite tainted since family farmers (even like the one who screwed my family) are few and far between, taken over by corporate farms.

Funny, how a bunch of hot air from a right winger can set one off. Then again, we are in Texas.