I’d made noises earlier about a family reunion of sorts here in Austin, inasmuch as not all of the far-flung Balagia clan was flung all that far. Given the fact that most of the children of Charles and Hortense Balagia were girls, there are rather a lot of us who are part of the clan who have very un-Balagia-like names these days, and I’ve long since given up on keeping track of everybody, especially since “everybody” is growing at an exponential rate, four or five or six generations down.
Still, the volume doesn’t affect an individual’s ties to the family. My mother’s been gone for thirty years, but she’s nowhere near being forgotten. One of the busier wings of the family bears the surname Guerrero, and you’ll see it here and there in the city:
Roy G. Guerrero was married to one of the Balagia daughters, Beatrice, universally known as “Tootsie.” That’s their daughter Linda holding up the sign.
We planned for six or eight or maybe even ten. We got a couple of dozen, including all three surviving Guerrero children, two of the original Balagia daughters (always “Aunt Nena” and “Aunt Frances” to me), and various cousins: Sharon (Frances’ daughter), Jamie (Frances’ son), Melody (Nena’s daughter), lots of grandchildren, and, schlepping his way from the metropolis of Creedmoor, my turned-Texan brother James. I noted that it had been seven years since I last showed up in Austin, and I was warned about Dire Consequences should I not show up again before 2015.
Anyway, that was the night that was, and we wrapped it up just in time to keep from drowning out Hank & Shaidri Alrich on Threadgill’s stage.