Alex's Ramblings

By LITI Editor Alex Mendoza

Mis queridos compinches y compinchas, 

Of the many opportunities in the last thirteen years that I have had rambled in front of you; today is the one that feels the heaviest. 

We lost la Chapparita de Oro and I know it will take me some time to find resignation to the fact. Hope you had a chance to read the NALIP Tribute to Lupe Ontiveros that was published in this newsletter. I had the honor to have designed it. I also hope that many of you had a chance to attend any of the ceremonies and reception that formed her memorial services. I was extremely fortunate that when I called a close friend, that I knew was close to the family, to offer my help in any way I could, I happened to call into one of the first meetings of the recently formed organizational committee for her services, at the precise moment they were discussing the need for design and signage. My friend, Bel Hernandez: "Cara..., Alex, Lupita te esta mandando. Seguro te dijo 'Anda Pendejo, que estamos necesitando signs!' (Damn, Alex, Lupita is sending you. For sure she most has told you, 'Come on, you fool, that we need some signs!')". For those that don't know, I own a studio specialized on handling the graphic image of events. So, by the hand of Lupe, I was invited to the organizational committee, in the middle of the closest of circles of friends of Lupe. As I answered to a reporter at her Rosary, "Yes, I'm a very close friends of Lupe, and she considered me a close one too, but, if I'm optimist, I may be the 475 or so...", so you can image my honor.

Much it has been said about Lupe in these few days after her passing, I know, just within 24 hours of it, I collected 80 pages of FB, Twitter and Tumblr comments to create the Word Cloud that served as a background of the NALIP tribute and that later was adopted as the key art for the services. And after more than a week of her passing we continue and will continue for many years to come, and if we get away, it may be for eternity. Instead of focusing on all her attributes I want to share with all of you my thankfulness for having this unique and extremely special opportunity that I wish all of those that loved Lupe, and I know for a fact that we are thousands upon thousands, could have gone through too. So, I share with you extracts of my communication to my fellow members of the committee, lead by her son Elias Patricio Ontiveros, the day after the memorial services.

"My beloved Lupefilos (en Espanol), 

First and foremost, my deepest gratitude to Elias and the rest of the committee, for allowing me to pay tribute, in a completely unique and intense way, to that one that deserves the only thing that David missed in the message below [he had suggested tributes on the ALMA Awards, Emmys, Academy Awards, SAG, AFTRA, etc. A scholarship named after Lupe. Inclusion on Chicano studies programs across America. Naming a school after her. Someone else had already suggested the Walk of Stars, so the only thing missing was]; Sainthood. I was being interviewed outside of the Rosary by Ch 22 when I used, what ended being the most often used quote yesterday by me, "La mas picara de Todos los Santos. (The 'Impish-iest' of All Saints)" I'm dead serious, if we really start looking within the tens of thousands of quotes and tributes [Five 30x40 portraits of Lupe were fully covered by messages left by attendees to the services alone and that doesn't count the net] we will find the clues that will show us the miracles she did, give me a couple of verifiable ones, and I will make it my purpose in life to elevate her. Remember, Saints don't know they are doing miracles at the time they are doing them, they just do...

... So many other things to give thanks for: 

I'm eternally thankful to God and Lupe to have waited just enough for me to have had the opportunity to say good bye to her while still alive [We have calculated that she passed away short 4 minutes after I left her room], and to Elias for having had the, once again, generous gesture to authorize security to let me in so late in the evening. Again, Mijo, I owe you so much. I can't image feeling worse that I am now, but I'm certain that without that opportunity, I would have been.

I'm thankful to all of you, for the opportunity to mourn her still thinking of her 24/7 (literally), but being so busy that I just didn't have the time to cry. It was cathartic and "cataract-ic" being able to do it all in one day. I believe I have never cried so much in so little period of time. During the video tribute, my daughter got worry when she heard me whimpering, something I do not remember doing in my adult life.

I'm thankful to Marlene, Dennis Leoni and Jose Alberto Hermosillo, for accompanying me in having our last tequila with Lupe standing next to her coffin at the cemetery. I had two flasks to share with the members, but I blew it in waiting longer than I should, couldn't find any more of you at that moment. And forgive me, Elias, I "blessed" the coffin with a sprinkle of it, just a little. She would have come back to jalarme las patas en la noche if I would have, what she would have considered, wasted much.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to have been a small part of what has to be considered the most moving, emotive, beautiful (on spirit and, may I say so myself, on sight), AND (in her honor) the must fun of burial religious ceremonies... ever [Besides laughter provided by the unending funny stories of her wit, charm, love for life and suave delivery of an unmovable strength, the ceremonies counted with the music of the Mariachi Estrella de Jalisco, Marcos Loya and Susanna Guzman].

I'm thankful for the opportunity to have been a small part of facilitating, the many communities her love touched [huge contingent of the hearing impaired, of AIDS assistance, Civil Rights, Women and Gay, organizations, besides Entertainment Industry], with the most successfully effective and most appreciated massive therapy support group session... ever [the Reception that followed the burial, where we danced in her honor to the music of Johnny Polanco and Mariachi Divas and then later spent more than three hours sharing an open mike telling stories, giving her eulogies and crying and laughing to our hearts' content]. A guest commented, "F..., this is the first funeral that I go, that last 50 hours!" and she was joyous while saying it. Gang, mission accomplished.

I subscribe to the idea of making this a permanent committee to work on perpetuating her memory [We are open to any help offered]... ... And I wait for that cause that will unite all of us working together for it. I hope is not only to memorialize friends, but I have given specific instructions to my wife, that if friends want to help her with mine, I want all of you on it, if you accede. Don't you worry, mine will NEVER attract that size of a crowd [I have never been in a funeral of this size, and I am old, and have seen my share of them. The low estimates added to about 800], you could handle it with your eyes closed now...

... Unido de por vida con todos ustedes en nuestra pena, y rogando para su familia y todos nostros, pronta resignacion,

Alexito el Bonito"