I remember where I was when I first heard this story.
I was playing outside on our back porch. It was Spring. There was a decent breeze blowing and it was mild. Mother had the windows open and I can remember how the sheer curtains looked as they were blown about by the wind. I could hear the weights sewn into the hems hit the wall in that familiar thud as the sheer panels floated back to their straight positions.
I could also hear my mother sitting in the living room with my Aunt Rinna.
Mom was close to her sister in law. They were pretty close in age and had known each other before mom married Daddy, Rinna’s older brother.
Now I have to segue here in to just who and what my Aunt Rinna was all about.
As far as the late 60’s social mores go, Rinna, I suppose, would’ve been considered by some to be a ‘wild woman”. Certainly, a painted lady. But Rinna was just different. She did things her way and her own terms. But, there’s always a price involved with uniqueness. Rinna loved her wine and her Scotch. She could cuss like a stevedore. This bon vivant was an accomplished artist, a poet and a world traveler. She and her husband were jet setters and almost star-like. They were the closest thing Karnes City, Texas ever had to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
All of this was compounded by the fact that Rinna was a pretty woman; dark hair and dark eyes and dewy porcelain skin. She loved her false eyelashes and dark red lipstick. It worked on her and she worked it, too. Every morning Sunday through Sunday, she’d get up and first thing, she’d put on a full compliment of makeup…eyelashes…lipstick. You never saw her without her public face. That only added to her fiery “kitten with a whip” nature. Men loved her, women loved to hate her. She was the hit of every party and turned every party into a hit.
My uncle Dan was an ambitious sort. He worked hard at his construction firm to keep Rinna in the extravagant lifestyle in which she’d grown accustomed. This lifestyle included stunning six karat solitaire wedding ring, her Jaguar, her beautiful six bedroom home and a live in housekeeper/Nanny.
Conchita was from Guatemala and worked hard at keeping Rinna’s house in order and money constantly flowing back to her family in her home country. She did everything…she cooked, cleaned, shopped…folded clothes, took care of the kids, washed the dogs, serviced the cars, made sure the swimming pool was clean and chemically perfect. She ran that house from top to bottom.
OK, now for the gist of the conversation I overheard between Rinna and my mother that morning.
Earlier that morning, Conchita approached Aunt Rinna as she sat at her desk paying bills.
From what I could tell from my eavesdropping, the conversation between my aunt and her housekeeper went something like this:
“Señora, excuse me. Please we have little talk a minute?”
“Sure Conchita, what can I do for you?”
“Well Señora, I want ask you for more money. I want 2000 more dollars a week.”
“Conchita, are you high??? Don’t be absurd. I simply will not pay you an additional 2000 dollars a week!”
“You have enough money to pay. You have nice car, big house and a ring que es muy bonito. I want 2000 more dollars a week!”
“And besides, Conchita I don’t like you’re attitude–not one bit!! Especially lately. You seem to think this house is yours. Well, it’s not. It’s mine. I’m your employer and you will do as I say and I will pay you as I see fit. And that is 60-dollars a week and frankly, you’re lucky to get that!”
“But Señora, it not enough. I need make more. I deserve more. Two-thousand dollars a week. Because I better at everything.”
“Si, es verdad! I know I cook better than you.”
“Oh please, Conchita! I took lessons at a Culinary Institute and graduated at the top of my class. I’m a gourmet cook. Who on God’s green Earth would tell you that you’re a better cook than me?”
“Your husband. He also tell me that I clean better around house.”
“Yes. I also be told that I’m a better lover than you are.”
“Oh, that’s just great! And I suppose my husband told you that as well?”
“No, the gardener did.”
Now everything made sense. That explained everything.
Two weeks later, Conchita quit working for Aunt Rinna, though she chose to stay in Karnes City. I remember thinking that was rather odd.
Well, a few days later, my scout troop was on a clean up excursion in an alley way between some buildings adjacent to downtown. I looked up and saw a beautiful brand new Porshe parked in a vacant lot. The car was just 20-feet away so I got a good look. Yep, it was Conchita sitting behind the wheel with the car seat semi-reclined. It had personalized license plates that read, “Chita 1”.
Wow…nice ride. I remember thinking, “With scratch like that, man I want to be a maid when I grow up!”
She looked up and waived at me, then smiled, with this weird expression…like her eyes were rolling back in her head. She then quickly moved her head from side to side while making these noises. I think she was screaming something. She threw her head back and then quickly sat up in her seat a little. She pounded the steering wheel a few times like she was trying to make a point or I guess. When she did, I saw something sparkle in the sunlight. Was that? Was that? Yep, she was wearing a huge diamond ring that even at a distance, looked a lot like Aunt Rinna’s.
She sat there a second, breathing heavy. Then, as best I can tell, she removed this big purse from her lap. I mean it was a HUGE purse that might have been made of some kind of strange looking hair.
And a men’s blue polo shirt.
Now that I think about it, that purse looked a hell of a lot like my Uncle Dan.