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Q & A: Tina Cruz

Photo: Steven Gilmore, License: N/A

Steven Gilmore

Cruz and a portrait of Ram by Robert Tatum at Limelight.



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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 …

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