My Memories Of Liza Longoria, QEPD.
Sunday morning I turned on my computer to find that my friend and former colleague at The Brownsville Herald, Liza Longoria, had died at the age of 35. I was confused, and it seemed that most folks who were emailing, Facebooking and texting me about it — friends and former colleagues — felt the same way.
How could it be that someone so young, who formed such an important part of my memory, could be gone so quickly?
I first met Liza in 2005 when I arrived to Brownsville, Texas to be the immigration reporter and Mexico corespondent for The Brownsville Herald. Liza was one of only a few photographers at the paper, and the only woman, so we frequently worked together. As much as I love this part of my life, having adventures along the border, Liza was an integral part of those experiences. To remember my own life is to remember her presence in it.
Liza and I traveled to Mexico, to San Diego, to San Antonio, Laredo, all up and down the Río Grande together, to all these places for all of these stories at the same time we were growing up. I remember the hurricanes and elections interspersed with the lovers and parties and lessons learned like it was yesterday.
My memories of the 2006 Mexican election, 2005 border wall legislation and investigation of the Matamoros landfills are memories I made with Liza. She’s the one who documented these experiences for me, sharing the only photos I have of myself in these moments. It’s hard for me to grasp that I’ll never have the chance to reminisce about these experiences with her ever again.
Liza was a kind, sweet and fun friend with whom I shared some of the most formative years of my life. I remember going over to her house, she would make dinner for me or show me her latest craft project. For someone just moving to town, it was nice to have a friend who was so accepting and loving. She loved to dance and she loved to be with her friends. Even though we didn’t talk all the time, every time we did get in touch, a small slice of those memories would come back to me.
Even though Liza is gone, she’s not really. I still have her signed photos in my home, the pictures she took of me interviewing Mexican generals and landfill workers. I can still close my eyes and see her house, remember the sound of her voice, how it felt to be young and happy to be her friend. I don’t know the details surrounding her death, but it doesn’t really matter since she’s not coming back. Whatever the case, I just feel lucky that, while she may be gone from this world, she’s not gone from my memory.
Copyright 2012 by Sara Inés Calderon