A daring memoir of love, magic, adventure, and miracles, Victor Villaseñor's Thirteen Senses continues the exhilarating family saga that began in the widely acclaimed bestseller Rain of Gold, delivering a stunning story of passion, family, and the forgotten mystical senses that stir within us all.
Thirteen Senses begins with the fiftieth wedding anniversary of the aging former bootlegger Salvador and his elegant wife, Lupe. When asked by a young priest to repeat the sacred ceremonial phrase "to honor and obey," Lupe surprises herself and says. "No, I will not say 'obey'. How dare you! You don't talk to me like this after fifty years of marriage and I now knowing what I know!" After the hilarious shock of Lupe's rejection of the ceremony, the Villaseñor family is forced to examine the love that Lupe and Salvador have shared for so many years a universal, gut-honest love that will eventually energize and inspire the couple into old age.
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
Victor Villaseñor vive en California en el rancho donde fue criado. Es autor de numerosos obras editoriales y aclamadas obras, entre ellas Lluvia de oro, Jurado: La Gente vs. Juan Corona, y Â¡Macho!.
Victor Villaseñor's bestselling, critically acclaimed works, as well as his inspiring lectures, have brought him the honor of many awards. Most recently he was selected as the founding chair of the John Steinbeck Foundation. He lives in Oceanside, California.
Read an Excerpt
Was it love?
Had it ever really been love?
For fifty years they'd been husband and wife. For fifty years the Father Sun had come and gone. For fifty years the Mother Moon had risen and disappeared. For fifty years they'd loved, fought, and lived together, and now, here they were standing before the priest once again, ready to renew their wedding vows.
Juan Salvador Villaseñor, the nineteenth child of his family, was seventy-five years old. Maria Guadalupe Gomez, the eighth child of her family, was sixty-eight years old. Salvador now turned and took the hand of the woman standing beside him. Lupe turned and looked into Salvador's eyes.
The priest began his words, and Salvador and Lupe's children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren looked on with love, respect, and gusto. It was a small wedding this time with just family and a few friends, being done in the living room of the great house that Salvador and Lupe had designed and built nearly thirty-five years before.
Sunlight streamed in through the large windows behind Salvador and Lupe as the priest continued his words. People's eyes filled with tears. This was a magic moment, where everyone in the room just knew that God's blessing was with them.
The groom was dressed in his favorite dark maroon suit with a striped tie of silver and gold. Thebride was wearing a beautiful three-quarterlength white dress with intricate lace and interwoven ribbon of yellow gold. Salvador's hair was white and full and still curly. Lupe's hair was mostly gray, too, yet sprinkled with beautiful long strands of black.
The priest continued, and the small gathering of family and friends listened to every word. This time, different from last time, the priest was much younger than the couple getting married. "Juan Salvador Villaseñor," the young priest was now saying, "do you take Maria Guadalupe Gomez to be your wife? Do you promise to be true to her in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love and honor all the days of your life?"
Lupe turned and stared at Salvador's lion mane of hair and the huge, long, white moustache on his upper lip. It moved like a fat worm as he spoke. "Yes, I do," he said.
Hearing this, she realized how different these words now felt compared to last time. When she'd heard these words fifty years before, she'd been so young and naïve that she'd taken his "Yes, I do" to mean so much more than she did this time. Last time, she'd thought these words meant that she would have someone with her through good times, bad times, sickness, health, and there would always be love and honor. What a fool she'd been! If the truth were known, sometimes she would've been better off without him.
Then, she realized that the young priest was speaking to her. "And you, Maria Guadalupe Gomez," said the young man of God, "do you take Juan Salvador Villaseñor to be your husband? Do you promise to be true to him in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love him and honor him all the days of your life?"
At first Lupe didn't answer. My God, this was exactly what she'd done for all these years. But had he? Had Salvador been true to her and honored her? Or, had he ever really even loved her?
Then she suddenly remembered how these words "in bad times" had almost stopped her last time. Even back then, when she'd been eighteen years old, she'd wondered if it was wise for any woman to agree to this statement.
"Say, 'yes, I do,'" said the young priest, leaning in close to Lupe.
Lupe almost laughed. This was exactly what the priest had done last time. Only then the priest had been old, and he'd looked so full of authority that she'd been intimidated. But she wasn't intimidated in the least this time, and so she just looked at this young priest and smiled.
Juan Salvador saw her smile, that little smile of hers that was so full of mischief. He grinned, squeezing her hand.
Feeling her hand being squeezed, Lupe turned and looked at this gray-haired, old man standing beside her, and she saw his grin. She grinned, too.
"Okay," she said, squeezing his hand in return. "Yes, I do."
Everyone in the room looked greatly relieved, except Salvador. He'd never had any doubt.
Then it was Lupe's turn to repeat the words of holy acceptance, but when she came to the passage, "To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part," tears came to her eyes. After fifty years of marriage, she could now see that these were the very words that had given her the power to endure all the hardships of the years.
Why, these words "until death do us part" were the very foundation of every marriage. And she could also see that yes, even back then, fifty years ago, she'd had the wisdom to see that these were the words that had given her beloved mother, Doña Guadalupe, the strength to rise up like a mighty star and bring her familia back from the dead, time and again during that awful Mexican Revolution!
She could now see so clearly that these words "until death do us part" were the words that gave each and every woman the power, the vision to accept the Grace of God and gain the absolute conviction of mind...Thirteen Senses. Copyright © by Victor Villasenor. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Table of Contents
|Part 1||Wedding Vows August 18, 1979, Oceanside, California|
|Chapter 1||Such a man and woman aren't measured from their heads to their feet, but from their heads to the sky, for these people are giants--who know the Thirteen Senses of Creation!||3|
|Part 2||Honeymoon August 18, 1929, Santa Ana, California|
|Chapter 2||And so he, the nineteenth child, having come to his mother at fifty years of age, now found his second truelove, and ... they married||23|
|Chapter 3||And so she, the child who'd been conceived on the night that a meteorite struck the Earth, was now a married woman and she was in love!||48|
|Part 3||Moontalking End of August 1929, Carlsbad, California|
|Chapter 4||And so they'd now entered into the Garden of Eden, God's first couple--a man and a woman who of their own freewill chose the way of the Almighty!||71|
|Chapter 5||The Devil saw their happiness, their joy of being in Holy Union with the Almighty, and so he smiled, creeping down from the Tree of Knowledge to intercept them||85|
|Part 4||Suntalking September 1929|
|Chapter 6||And so their mothers had, indeed, taught them both about Love and God, but it was now Life, la Vida, that was to teach them the lessons of el Diablo!||113|
|Chapter 7||And so shedding their outer skins, they now came to know each other as only young lovers can who've stepped forward in the full commitment of matrimony||145|
|Part 5||La Vida Loca|
|Chapter 8||And so the Gates of Heaven opened wide and a flash flood de Amor came pouring forth out over all the land--Bursting with Vitality!||179|
|Chapter 9||The Devil was tired, really exhausted, but still he was a long way from giving up. One way or another, he was determined to slip past that old She-Fox ... but then he heard the Singing of the Stones!||201|
|Chapter 10||Love was in the Air! Amor was Everywhere! The Wilds of Life, la Vida, were now leaping with the Fires of Hell and Heaven Here upon Mother Earth!||238|
|Chapter 11||Heaven was laughing con carcajadas! Love, love, Amor was now Creating a whole new Paraiso on Earth as it was in Heaven!||269|
|Chapter 12||And so Humanity was now being called upon to Sing and Dance and Praise the Second Coming of the Lord!||293|
|Chapter 13||The Devil himself had now come Full Circle and he, too, was anxiously awaiting with Flowers in Hand for the Second Coming of the Lord!||322|
|Chapter 14||God was Happy! Papito was Smiling! Singing "through" every Stone, Tree, Raindrop, Blade of Grass--He was So Moved!||343|
|Chapter 15||Lightning flashed across the land and Thunder roared through the canyons with the Holy Voice of Creation||362|
|Chapter 16||The Devil was Whirling, Swirling, Dancing--he was so Happy! He was still working the Earth, giving choice between Good and Evil, but Now each Night he, too, went to be with Papito Dios!||389|
|Chapter 17||God was Whirling, Swirling, Dancing! His Children were finally Awaking to the Light and Loving each other as much as they Loved Him!||415|
|Chapter 18||And so Adam and Eva stepped forward, not blaming each other but united in Love, Respect, and a Natural Awe for One another--Reflections of the Creator||437|
|Chapter 19||Of their own Freewill Adam and Eva now chose to go out of the Garden, away from their familias, and into the Wilds of the World--for they had absolute Faith in God and in their Amor!||445|
|Chapter 20||In the Wilds beyond the Garden, Adam and Eva now found themselves bringing the Light of God to friend and foe alike--Lucifer and Papito were Working as One once again!||451|
|Chapter 21||They'd met Death and they'd found Death to simply be another Holy Opening to the Creator's Corazon--Beat, Beat, Beating throughout the Universe!||464|
|Chapter 22||Adam and Eva now both Knew that it wasn't the Devil who'd ever tempted them--it was their own Mirror that Reflected their Doubts and Fears||475|
|Chapter 23||GOD and Lucifer were Dancing and Mary and Jesus were Clapping--all the Forces of the Heavens were at last working Together once more||487|
|Chapter 24||The Sixth Sun was now arising fast for an All New Day. People would no longer be able to tell where the Heavens ended and the Earth began||492|
|Chapter 25||All was back in Balance, All was back in Harmony and at Peace, generating Wisdom through our Thirteen Senses from Heaven to Earth--All One Song!||497|
Reading Group Guide
IntroductionOne of the most profound moments of insight in Thirteen Senses - a family memoir filled with many such moments - concerns the attempted suicide of an Anglo farmer who has lost his crop and with it all of his savings. Salvador Villaseñor can't believe that a man would kill himself just because he has lost everything. "Most of us live our whole life with having nothing!" observes Salvador. But his brother-in-law, Victoriano, explains: "Among the gringos, most of their lives they've always had something, so nothing is something that they know nothing about." It is the end of the 1920s and Southern California is rapidly growing into a major agricultural and multicultural center. Among the many hardworking immigrants that have settled in the area are the newly married Salvador and Lupe and their families. The young couple is basking in the intoxicating happiness of young love, but they have many truths yet to discover: about marriage, commitment, responsibility, and about each other. Both husband and wife come from a legacy of heroic suffering, having escaped Mexico during the revolution, and both have endured the privation, racism, and hard luck that most immigrants encounter in their adopted homeland. But Salvador and Lupe share another legacy as well - the incredible strength and wisdom of their mothers, Margarita and Guadalupe. Margarita, especially, seems to possess the kind of enormous power that comes from having stared death in the eye, from having survived so much disaster that every day becomes a blessing. It is she who guides her son and "daughter-in-love" through the treacherous waters of marriage, helping them to understand thattogether they are stronger than they are apart, and teaching them how to tap the inner resources of their souls so they may see beyond the here and now. With humor and compassion Victor Villaseñor, author of the bestselling Rain of Gold, follows his young parents as they make their way in a precarious world. Salvador's bootlegging career allows him the luxury of ready cash, but it is also a dangerous way of life, one that could land him in jail at any moment. There are relatives to deal with, from Domingo, Salvador's hotheaded brother, to Carlota, Lupe's somewhat obnoxious sister. And there is the Depression, which threatens the countryside with widespread poverty and crime and ultimately forces Salvador and Lupe to leave their families to flee for Mexico. Throughout this life, money comes and goes, but the love for one's family and God never wavers. Whether they are stranded in the Arizona desert with little water and a broken-down truck or feasting on freshly killed goat at an impromptu family barbecue; whether they are screaming at each other with bloodthirsty wrath, or blissfully wrapped in each other's arms, Salvador and Lupe never question the value and richness of life. As Lupe explains, some people don't know "how to be poor of purse, but rich of Heart. . . All families see hard times. That's just part of la vida." In a world where materialism and ambition can leave us feeling isolated, it is easy to spout platitudes about the power of love and the importance of family. But Lupe and Salvador's life together is a living testament to these truths. Their story is one of passion, heartache, hard work, disappointment, elation, anger, injustice, and forgiveness. It is a story that adds much to the greater story that is America's. Questions for Discussion
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I just finished reading this wonderful memoir by Victor Villasenor and I cannot express how profoundly this book has affected me. This is a must read for everyone...I feel like it has changed my life and my way of thinking. I have the utmost respect for this author and although I have not read his previous books, I am ordering Rain of Gold today in hopes that it will be as incredible as Thirteen Senses. His characters are complex, humorous, and totally inspirational. The female characters are strong and almost magical in their perception. This is a male author who obviously has the utmost respect for women. This is a book that is hard to put down...
I enjoyed the life of Salvador and Lupe and thier life journey. I enjoyed it beacause of the reality it spoke of. We should all be so lucky to retain so much family history.