Q & A: Tina Cruz 

click to enlarge Cruz and a portrait of Ram by Robert Tatum at Limelight. - STEVEN GILMORE
  • Steven Gilmore
  • Cruz and a portrait of Ram by Robert Tatum at Limelight.

Before we get into the whole Ram Jam thing, do you have a problem with the annual Rammy Awards organized by the Current?
I don’t really … I was just upset because I wasn’t warned about anything and I don’t find it fair at all. It’s bad on all families. It’s bad. Frankly, I started the whole thing, and now, it’s like …

The Ram Jam? Or the Rammy Awards?
The Ram Jam and Taco Land. When I read about the Rammy Awards I didn’t know what was going on. It doesn’t upset me too much.

OK, let’s talk about the Ram Jam and Taco Land after Ram. Your son Eddie told me you never talked about this before.
I never talked to any reporters or anyone. I usually send somebody to speak. When Ram was murdered, I sent Frank Duarte outside [of Taco Land] to talk to the reporters. They wanted to talk to me, but I never came out. Never. This is the first time I talked to anybody.

Why me?
I don’t know. My son said that “there’s a guy from the Current,” and I said, “I’ve met some people from the Current, who is this man?” That’s why you came to my attention.

So tell me, what’s the problem with the Ram Jam?
I don’t know how to tell you, or what you’re going to write, but it’s not fair that Ram and I started all this and … He worked at night, I worked during the day. When I met him, he was a projectionist.

He was a projectionist? Before Taco Land? Where?
At the Mission [4] Drive-in, that was the main one. He [worked] at several places. The kids [Mark and Eddie] used to go to the drive-in and stay there on the roof. You know, it was hard for any man to approach me because of my brothers, but Ramiro was very friendly, you know.

He was a projectionist already?
That I can’t remember. I was 15 years old and my mother and his mother talked, or something. I do remember it was on Winnipeg Street. I don’t remember the correct house but it was on Winnipeg Street. That’s how I met him, through my mother and that lady. Southwest, I guess. That was my mother in law’s house. That’s where we met.

[Tina changes the subject and jumps straight to the Taco Land years]

When the companies started closing, like the Pearl Brewery, The RC Cola … all those companies near Taco Land, we couldn’t sell food anymore. It was going down. No more food. We had to get rid of the tortilla maker, some waitresses, even Rudy the cook.

Because there was no people around.
There was nobody [there] to eat. It was a restaurant. And we closed early, because all the business was in morning, noon, and that’s it. By three o’clock it was closed. There was nobody there no more. Everybody would get out of work and go home. They wouldn’t eat supper there, just breakfast and lunch. By three o’clock it was closed. So when the companies started closing all around there, Ramiro was working at the drive-in, always, because we didn’t have any money. And my mother and my brother helped us a lot, so all the money came from my family. And that’ why it hurts me and upsets me because it’s like they …

Are you referring to other people using the Ram name and organizing shows called or related to Ramiro?
Yes, it does upset me because we’re not told about what’s going to come up. The # 3 Dinners, they let me know; the Infidels let me know; the Mescaleros let me know, where they’re playing or stuff like that. But Jerry [Clayworth], he really got me emotionally ... how can I say it? It’s really emotional for me because he used me, and then he disappeared.

Do you mean he used you, then disappeared at the time that your side of the family couldn’t prove that you were heirs to Ram? Do you think he switched sides to the other family?
I didn’t know who he was! Actually, the night of the murders I thought he was with the lady that made tacos at Taco Land, that he was her boyfriend. He hung around and took pictures when the ambulance was there, when the murders happened, he was taking pictures in the street and I didn’t even know until he told me. They would hang around together, he was like a leech and so was she, and finally I said, “Where’s your wife?” And he goes, “She’s not my wife. I just know her from Taco Land.” They didn’t even know each other! And that’s how he came into my life. I thought he was Ramiro’s friend. He overpowered me at a time when I was weak. I was weak and destroyed, and [Clayworth] was there when the boys were doing the Ram Jam outside. I never came out, I never came out, the police was there, because there were thousands of people in that little block.

Did you always knew about the other family?
They knew about us, but we didn’t know about them!

So you found out about the Ayalas the same night as he was murdered?
Yes, in the morning, yes!

But didn’t Ram keep pictures of the Ayala kids at Taco Land?
He said those were nephews and nieces.

How many years did you and Ram lived together?
Since the boys were born [in the ’60s]. I mean, before!

So then all of a sudden he’s killed, and then you’re dealing with this news?
Yes! That’s when Jerry grabbed a hold of my brain. When Ram was murdered, I went to the Spurs championship. Everybody did. After the game, I asked my friend, “Do you want to stop at Taco Land for a beer?” We were bumper-to-bumper [on the freeway]. And she said, “Yeah” and I said, “Naahh, let’s just go home, I’m tired of this bumper-to-bumper.” As soon as I got to my mother’s house — because my mother had passed away and I had to go to that house, not my house — I get a call. So I get straight to Taco Land and the police tell me “You can’t go in,” and I said, “I’m his wife,” and they told me, “Well, you need to go to the hospital” And I said, “Well what’s going on?” and he said, “Your son is with his father.” My son had gone to the hospital.

No, Mark. And then I got there, and then Edward got there, and Edward had a motorcycle accident so he was all banged up, but he made it anyway. And I went to the hospital, Mark was already there, and then Edward showed up.

Eddie told me that you and Mark were too distraught to see the body.

But you did go.

And you saw the body.
Yes, all three of us. And they gave me his clothes, and later on they said they wanted the clothes back, and I said “Fine,” so I gave them back to them. And in the courtroom they showed the clothes and all that. But all three of us were there at the hospital, and I didn’t know about the other family until the morning. After the hospital we went to Taco Land because the police didn’t lock it up, so we locked it up and we stayed there just like, shocked.

It was you and who else?
Mark and Edward. And my little brother Raymond, who’s [got] Down’s Syndrome. Then in the morning, somebody knocks on the door and I say, “Who is it? It’s closed” And the guy says, “Well, I’m Ram’s son,” and I said, “I don’t know who you are. I’m not opening the door.”

Who was that? Manuel?
I don’t remember who he was. But there were some guys out there. And I said, “I don’t know who you are” and I called the police. And the police told them if the lady doesn’t want you in here, you can’t come in here. This is a civil matter.” And that’s what happened. Then people started coming, dropping flowers off.

You go to the Ram Jam every year, despite your reservations. Why?
Every year I go, and I go straight up to [Clayworth] and I say, “You need to stop.” And he introduces me to everyone, “This is Ram’s wife,” and they give me this, they give me that, and I say, “You need to stop, Jerry.”

But what is the problem? Unless they’re doing something wrong or they’re stealing money or something like that, what would be the problem if they continue doing their thing and you and the family do your thing?
To begin with, he’s not a relative. And the second part, he’s not a friend.

He never said he was a relative. All he said is that he did go to Taco Land, starting in the ’80s, and even showed me a video from the ’90s, and Ram didn’t act as if he didn’t know him.
Yes, because [Ram] was the type that didn’t care. He didn’t care about what anybody did, he didn’t care who played.

Well, in that same video, he’s always yelling, “Hey you, get the fuck out of my club!” and stuff like that, you know? In his way, like joking or whatever. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Ram was the type of guy who, on the one hand, didn’t care, and on the other he cared a lot. Meaning, he’d let you do your thing, but at the same time he’d tell you if you’re full of shit. Right? “Hey bitch, you pussy, get outta the fucking way!”
I’m the one who started with the “pussy” thing.

Oh? How was that?
When we got Taco Land, it was us and another guy. I don’t remember his last name. His name was Rudy, the cook. An older man. And I told [Ram], “We need to buy him out ’cause he’s getting stingy with the food.” There was a complaint with this lady who wanted meat and potatoes and she only got one potato. She was Anglo, and she wanted potatoes and meat, and the partner that we had gave her one little potato and she said, “Can I speak to you?” I said, “Sure,” and she says, “I wanted potatoes and meat and look, I only got one little potato,” and I said, “I’ll take care of it.” So I took it back. So [I told Ram], “You gotta get rid of this dude.” And Ram said, “Well, Rudy says we have to make the tacos like this because we have to sell.” And I said, “You know what? You’re a pussy. You’re a pussy. You’re nothing but a pussy.” Every time he’d agree with that man, I’d get upset and leave. I’d leave. And I would tell him, “You’re a pussy, man. You need to buy this guy out!” “I don’t have the money!” “We’ll get the money!” And my mother and my brother put money. They both died, and I don’t think we ever paid [them] back. Where would Ramiro get all this money from, if he had a family to support over there?

How was the transition from restaurant to nightclub and punk temple?
It all started with the Mexicans, and we couldn’t handle them because they were always fighting.

Too rowdy, huh?
Too rowdy. And then there was a creek and a slide and they’d slide down the creek and under the fence. We had to pull people out of there because they were fighting and we couldn’t deal with them … I was selling beer. Beer. ’Cause I wanted money. I wanted business. And that’s how the beer started going. ’Cause there was no more food to sell, all the businesses were closed. So I started selling beer in the evening.

Let me go forward to right after the murders for a second. Why couldn’t Taco Land continue?
I closed it. By noon or that afternoon [June 25, 2005, the Ayalas] came back when the streets were packed with people. Oh, that same morning that Ramiro died, [the Ayalas] wanted the jukebox. And I said, “I don’t know who you are.” That’s when I called the police.

You’re dealing with a lot of shit
Oh, God, yes.

How come you couldn’t prove that you were Ram’s wife?
Well we tried, we tried. Because we got married in a house [in Mexico]. And we were drunk, and we would always go to the other side, we always drank at the Red zone, we, it was always a group of guys, me, and a couple of ladies. Most of the times I was the only woman in a group of men. And we water-skied, we did everything. So it’s a shock to me when there’s another family all of a sudden. Let me ask you something: You have a place for 30-something years. You’ve got a wife and kids and they never went to see you? Never went to say hi? Come on!

Maybe Ram said, “OK, I’ll take care of you, but you keep it quiet?” Maybe that’s why [the Ayalas] they never showed up?
No, because after everything happened … somebody asked them how come they never came to Taco Land and they said that they weren’t in that kind of group, that they weren’t in that environment, that they were just completely different. When I met Ramiro, he was a Baptist. So his father was pretty upset about us making it into a bar.

So you turned him into …
A monster (laughs).

He was Ramiro and you turned him into Ram?

So he bought Rudy out, and he took over Taco Land?
Yes, with my mom. My mother helped out. And my brother. Because Ramiro’s father didn’t approve at all, at all, of the place, period.

Did Ram have a stormy relationship with his father?
Jerry [Clayworth] asked me one time, “Did you ever see Ramiro cry?” And I said, “Yep.” Stupid me answered him. Because yes, actually I saw him [cry] twice. When he said that he felt his father didn’t love him.

When did he say this?
Oh, some years back, I don’t know what year, but he told me crying that his father really didn’t love him. And the second time I saw him cry was because I used to get very upset and I would leave. And I wouldn’t let him in. One time he came with the cops. He said, “She won’t let me in. I want to see the boys.” And I said, “Well, you’re not going to see the boys.” ’Cause he was flirting around. “Ma’am, he has a right to see the boys.” So I said, “The boys are at school. Take him to school to see the boys at school. This is no time to be coming over here looking for the boys.”

So at the time of the murders, when you found out about the other family you weren’t that surprised, you were just shocked by the timing?
No, timing my butt! I didn’t know there were that many [kids]! A bunch of them! How do you think I felt? But that’s why I tell you, if you were married and had all those kids, and nobody went to the restaurant or to the bar for 30-something years? Come on! Nobody’s going to keep me away from my husband, nobody’s going to keep me away from his business, at least to say, “Hi, see you later, see you tonight,” or something.

I know from Eddie that he made peace with at least Sylvia and everything’s cool now, but did you make peace with the other side of the family? Do you talk to them at all?
I tried, I tried, but … I think the oldest is Manuel? He was very rude ’cause … They went to Taco Land the next morning after the police told them to leave. Later on they came, and I said, “If they’re going to talk decent, they can come in, if they’re not I don’t want them in here.” My sons said, “We’ll take care of it mother.” My sons were raised the right way, to be polite and not prejudiced, nothing like that. They tried to talk to them outside, and I think it was Edward that said, “It’s not your fault and it’s not our fault, but our parents … [indistinct] So let’s just try to get along,” while Manuel was all bullying and stuff.

What did Manuel want?
He wanted us to close the place up, he didn’t want any people there, and I said, “Edward, you tell him, we can’t stop the people from coming and leaving flowers and candles.” And it was thousands of people. “We can’t stop the people. Those were [Ram’s] family. All those drunks, all those people were Ram’s family.” That’s what I told Edward: ‘You go tell him those people are Ram’s family.’ But going back to the Ayalas, I was cool at the courthouse, and Mark was friendly. The boys talked to all of them at the courthouse, and then even that lady Agnes said, “Mark, Mark, can I talk to you?” And they’re with me and they go over there to see what she wants and that’s fine with me, because they were raised that way. You respect. I didn’t tell them, “No, you don’t go over there,” no. They’re old enough to make their own minds, and that’s the way we raised them. No fighting, no arguing, no nothing, you know. And Agnes called the boys over there to the corridor and they went. I didn’t get mad at them. They never even thought that I would get mad.

If you had Ram here what would you tell him about this? Do you feel like he lied to you?
He lied to both of us! To both of us! I really feel for that lady. But they’re not like us. They’re more ... We’re more … I’m more like rock ’n’ roll, you know? I’m more of a rock ’n’ roll woman. You know, the bar and pool and all that, but they’re not. And that’s fine! But [the Ayalas] are supposed to be so nice, they don’t even go to the restaurant, don’t even go to the bar, and now all of a sudden they own it? It was my mother’s and my brother’s money!

You seem to be the only person who doesn’t have a romanticized image of Ram.
If you really knew Ram … Ramiro was a son of a bitch. There was me and a bunch of girlfriends. If [Agnes] wants to be the wife, she can be the wife, ’cause she does not know everything. Does she know how many women there were? And there are people who know him that way. ’Cause even at the memorial this one guy said, “You all don’t know Ram. Ramiro era un cabrón.” [Ramiro was a cabrón]

Cabrón could have many meanings … Do you mean cabrón as in “cunning”?
No, no … He was mean. Look what he did to me and that lady. But he did give a lot of people chances to play there. Yes. ’Cause we had earplugs. Yes. He did that. He helped people here play, why? ’Cause the business was booming. That’s why everybody could play any time. He’d go, “Sign the book. Sign the book, sign the book.” We have to find the book, I don’t even know who got the book.

So he didn’t care about the music?
No! As long as we got to sell beer, anybody could play. But these people say, “Oh, he’s so nice, he made the music this or that … ” Business is business. We couldn’t make it with the Mexican bands, we made it with the other bands. There were one too many fights with the Mexicans. The others, no. We didn’t have a problem. ’Cause there were more Anglos.

So what is the good side of him? Why did you fall for him?
What I fell for was that we were always together. We went to Canada, we went to Windsor, we went to Indianapolis, we went to Detroit, we went to Corpus, we went everywhere. We went to the lakes, we learned how to water-ski. But he would give credit to guys who would pay for their drinks elsewhere. I would run them out, and I’d say, “You’re a pussy! Why do you give him credit? He’s drinking over there.” I walked over to the other bar a half a block away, I said, “Hey, do y’all have credit here?” “No.” “You pay for your beer here?” “Yes.” “Well, then why don’t you pay your tab at Taco Land?” So then I go back to Taco Land and here they come like little puppies, paying their tabs. And [Ram] said, “Man, I don’t know how you did it. You’re one wild, crazy woman.” And I said, “’Cause you’re a pussy.”

So you built Taco Land, and then when you sell it you only got half?
I don’t know what I’m getting.

Who got the money?
I don’t discuss anything. I just let the boys handle it … I didn’t open up my mouth [until now] ’cause I [didn’t] want to hurt [the Ayalas]. Ramiro was not around [the Ayalas], and they know it. They know Ramiro was not around. He might have ditched them money, but he was not around. The only time that I can really tell you he was with her was when he had a couple of heart attacks.

How did his death affect you financially?
Oh, pretty bad. Pretty bad, ’cause there was no money coming in no more.

So how did you manage?
The boys, myself ... I taught beading, made purses, and I still do. I still do.

The guy that killed Ram is sitting on death row right now. If you could talk to him, what would you say?
Was it worth it? Was it worth it? As a matter of fact, in court I got up and said, “You did this for 200 measly dollars, pussy?” And I walked out of the courtroom and the court just stopped the whole thing. And that’s when one of the reporters interviewed me and asked me how I felt, and I said, “Well, it’s bad for all families. The Ayalas, the Gamboas or whatever his name is, the shooters, and all, it’s bad for all families. “

Did the family of the shooters ever talk to you?

So do you feel that after all these years you’re coming back as a woman and as a person, and that’s why you’re talking to me? Are you finally ready to move on? Do you feel stronger now?
It’s … not being stronger, it’s … you gotta do what you gotta do. You can’t just get up one day and say it’s over. It’s not over. It’ll never be over. It was horrible. It was something very, very bad. My mom passed away but I was expecting it. She was in hospice [care]. But Ramiro’s death was not expected. That’s why it hurts more than my mom. Because my mom, we knew she was going to die. We didn’t know Ramiro was going to die. There’s a difference.

What’s the last thing you said to Ramiro and that last thing Ramiro said to you?
That same day [of the murders]. We were at my mom’s house. And he said something was wrong with the plumbing. He said, “If you would stay, if you would keep your ass at home, I would get the plumber. But no, you have to go see the championship game.” And I said, ‘I do have to see the championship game. What are you going to do? You’re gonna be at Taco Land.” That was the last conversation. Before that, we were in the living room and he said, I asked him, “How’s so and so?” “Oh, he died,” he said. “I don’t have any more friends. All my old friends are gone. I don’t have any friends.” He gave a lot of people a break to play there because it was business! I mean, some people played horribly. I remember one guy that had long hair that was laying on the floor and I said, “Oh, my God.” It was all about business. Not necessarily liking that band.

Eddie told me they are named Cruz because they didn’t want to be confused with the boxer Tony Ayala, who was convicted of rape. But you have a different story. Why did you change their names?
Because [Ram] was … a man-whore (laughing), a philanderer. What do you call it? He was always screwing somebody.

What did Ram say?
He got mad. He said, “Those are my boys!” and it went on and on and on. He said, “Why did you do that? Why did you do that?”

He was a “man-whore,” yet you were still living with him?
No, because I would leave, I would actually get away, and the last time was because my mother got ill and I brought her into my house. He didn’t like that. He said, “That’s why my sister Gloria aged a lot, by taking care of my mother; my mother almost killed her. And now she’s gonna kill you.” And he was right. My mother made me and my brother age 10 years. I said, “It’s my mom, man, what the hell do you want me to do?” He said, “That ain’t gonna work, blah-blah.” I said, “Well, fuck you, that’s my mom.” And that really put the icing on the cake.

You left but you kept coming back? Or he kept coming back and you let him in?
He kept … yes.

Probably sex, or he was good to me, but then he would screw up.

… But when he had the heart attack he started telling me some things, you know, cause we went to see him, and we took a plant. We went to eat and came back and a balloon was up in the air, and I said, “What happened here?” He said, “My daughter came in and wanted to tear the plant up, and I told her that you were my family and that I was never going to leave you. And he said, “They don’t like me, Tina. They don’t like me, and that’s fine with me. As long as I have you, nothing else matters. The boys are my boys.” And the boys were always at Taco Land. Them people were never at Taco Land, the boys were jamming with their father, they would take friends and drink and stuff.”

Why don’t you just start doing your own Ram Jam?
We are. We want to. If Jerry [Clayworth] lays off.

But who cares? Whether Clayworth continues or not, you can always do your own thing and it would automatically be the official Ram Jam, especially now that both families are supposedly in synch.
Frankly, the other family, I don’t think they really care, because they’re not into it. I think they were more interested in funds, which is fine, we can’t live without money. Us, we wanted to find the murderers while they wanted the jukebox in the morning. Those people, I don’t think they care what we do. If they want to be involved, fine with me, I don’t care. They’re his children. They’re not the sinners. It was [Ram]. I’m not the sinner, Agnes is not the sinner. [Ram is] the one that screwed up. He screwed up two families here.

I get the sense that you have mixed feelings about Taco Land.
Taco Land started fine as a small restaurant for all the businesses around Taco Land, and it ended bloomed into something unbelievable that I did not even know or recognized anymore. I always told him: You need to stop. This place is so isolated, you’re going to get killed. And he’d say, “No, I have a lot of friends.” And I’d say, “Fine.” It just went out of hand, out of proportion.

A Sodom and Gomorrah-type of thing?
Everything. Sex … What do they say? Sex, rock ’n’ roll, drugs …

Sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll.
Sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll. It became something outrageous. Not what I expected. And I am not playing a virgin here, because I am a pretty firm woman, but I’m not into drugs, and everybody knows that. Everybody that knows me knows I’m not into drugs. Everybody. You can ask anybody. I’ll drink (laughs), I like scotch, but I haven’t drank … I don’t drink anymore like I used to. ’Cause we used to drink … pretty much. It’s true! I’m the only one who gives a different version [of Taco Land] because I’m the only one who knows the damn truth. I’m the only one who knows about all that sex, drugs, and rock and roll. [People] won’t tell you about the porno flicks they would watch inside the kitchen, the nude photos. They’ll say, “Oh, it was fun.” Of course it was fun — they were all stoned out of their minds! I don’t care who hates me, it’s the damn truth.

Take me back to the day of the murders, when you went to the hospital. I’m just talking to different people, and I need to double-check some facts. What do you remember?
We were meeting outside of the glass door. A huge place with a lot of curtains. So a doctor called us to a little room, where he told us that he had passed on. So we went to see Ram, and that’s when Jerry [Clayworth] wanted to go in, and the other lady that I thought was Jerry’s girlfriend. We were there a long, long time, the boys were crying. I thought, God, this is the first time I see men cry! Men do cry, but I had never seen my boys cry. They were hugging each other and I touched Ramiro’s face and said, “Oh, Ramiro… Oh, Ram.” And my tears rolled down.

And then, after a while, a long while, there’s a guy asking my daughter in law, Mark’s wife, “Who are you?” And she said , “I’m Dianne, I’m Mark’s wife.” Then they let him in and he approached me. And he said, “I’m Manuel.” And I said “Manuel who?” “My father’s Ram.” And he said, “I know who you are.” So I asked him, “What is your grandma’s name?” And he said, “Sarabia,” so I said to myself, “He’s related, or something.” And then he said, “What are you going to do with the bar?” And I said, “What you need to do is go over there and see your father. Don’t worry about the bar. I’m not even thinking about that.” See? That’s all they cared about. The jukebox and Taco Land. That’s when I told Eddie and Mark, this is your father’s son. They said, “What?” I was crazy, but for some reason God gave me knowledge to think. But now let me ask you something about Jerry Clayworth: why are you defending him?

What makes you think I’m defending him? I just can’t understand why it is so important for the family to stop Jerry from doing the Ram Jam. Why doesn’t the family start its own thing?
I’m embarrassed that my mother dishes out $27,000 and then [Agnes] comes around and Jerry comes around, and I’m like, what the hell happened? Ram Jam should be handled by the families, not Jerry. I’d like to ask the other side of the family: did you give him permission to do this? I know I didn’t. And we cannot be having two [Ram Jams]. There should be only one. I’m just going to go back to ‘Bucket’ (Ram used to call her “Bucket”) and kick Jerry Clayworth’s ass out, even if I have to talk to [Agnes]. All in all, I feel sorry for [the Ayalas]. I’m not like, “You, bitch, he’s mine.” No, no. I feel very bad for both families. But I know: Ramiro was a son of a bitch, but he was not a son o f a bitch with me. And that is the truth. Whatever I needed, he was there for me.

Now both families are on good terms, but it wasn’t always like this. Can you tell me what was the Ayala’s position about the Ram Jams and Ram memorials?
With the other family it’s more respect than good terms … I had problems with the other family and they were against [the memorials]. We didn’t call [them] a memorial, we called [them] the Ram Jam. I had to put the Ram Jam because the other family didn’t want us to do anything. They had a memorial with nobody because the cops had the body. The newspaper said “the Ayala family members closed Taco Land.” I closed Taco Land. We tried to be respectful of the other family, but they weren’t. I tried to get closer, until I said, “the hell with this shit.”

You said Ram was “a son of a bitch, but not with me.” What about the cheating?

He was a son of a bitch! A philanderer, a man-whore. But as far as buying me things, fixing [things], building a deck, doing something whenever I needed it, always. And for the boys, everything. That’s why I feel for the other family. He would go and tell me, “I have to go give Agnes so-and-so,” and I would say, “OK, but do it quick.” I only knew about Agnes and one child … He had five kids while he was with me, and in all these years none of them ever showed up. Ram once told me Agnes told him, “You love Tina a lot because she’s younger?” And Ram said, “I don’t have to tell you anything.” He never wore jeans and T-shirts until he started doing rock ’n’ roll at Taco Land. Before that, he wore slacks.

Do you feel any sort of relief when talking about these things?
I kind of feel relieved with you, because something has come out of me that I have never told people or anyone. Nobody knows exactly how I feel. I feel comfortable with you, and you are the only person I’ve said this much to. Maybe it’s time. Or maybe it’s you. Because I don’t talk to no one, I say nothing, I don’t cut the other family down, I … nothing. But it’s about time for me to get something outta here. [points to her chest]




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