Family values — we know that phrase now. It is meant to evoke a variety of symbolic abstractions related to our biological family and all the extensions of it. Looking back on my childhood, my experience is that I was taught these family values, whatever each of us define that as. Ironically, though it might grate on my conservative friends’ ears, Elko back in the day really embodied what Hillary Clinton said much later “It takes a village to raise a child.” Because I knew first I was in a family, and that nothing I did should besmirch the Name of the family. I also knew I was surrounded by a circle of families. So if I visited my friend Les’s house and did something uncool, when I walked in the door back home, my mother said, “I just got a call from Rosie, would you like to talk about it?” Ouch! But such were the boundaries of small-town America, not a lot of wiggle room for bad behavior in the 1950s and 1960s.
So in celebration of my own family, today I’m saying that I welcome, not fear, Friday the 13th and in fact everything about the number 13. I learned it is the Lopez family number, based on the heraldic designs of former times (when royalty and important families, and then everyone, had shields (Spanish, escudos) celebrating their family. Below I’m posting a discussion of the Lopez family escudo that I sent around to my family members with my interpretation of it.
Then, a few years back we were asked by Adam and Chris Starr, the sons of my cousin Elaine Goicoechea Lopez Starr and Jim Starr, to participate in a surprise 30th Anniversary Party for them. We were asked to contribute something, and again, the lucky number 13 helped inspire me, as I recalled from high school and college literature studies the great poet Wallace Stevens and his famous poem ’13 Ways of Looking At a Blackbird’. That became my launching point, and I created my own alternate poem ’13 Ways of Looking at a BasqueBird etc.’ in honor of my cousin, her husband, their Anniversary, and their two thoughtful sons.