Three startling books emerge from disparate epochs of Susan Salguero’s life – The GACHÍ from the defiant flamenco dancer, LIGHTEN the LOAD from the empathic bereavement counselor, WHEN GOD CAME WALKING from the single parent and impassioned seeker of enlightenment.
Born and raised in white middle-class Southern California, Susan Salguero grew up goaded by gender bias, speaking Spanish as her second language, and driven to eradicate prejudice and nurture human kinship.
At age 14, Salguero witnessed Carmen Amaya’s flamenco fury which inspired her to study Spanish cultural history at Cal-Berkeley. There she brought supplies to her activist friends leaving on “freedom trains” for the South and wondered why she lacked their conviction. Embarking for Europe, she protested through Flamenco, the audacious music and dance of Spanish Gypsies.
She studied in Seville, supported herself as a Flamenco dancer in shows all over Spain, married into a Gypsy family and bore a son. She returned to California to finish out her dancing career at the El Cid on Sunset Blvd, the Matador on West Pico, the Santa Barbara Lobero Theatre, and to teach Flamenco theory for UCLA Extension.
She emerged from a life-altering three year stay in an ashram in India, to settle with her little boy in Ojai, California. Achieving a Master’s Degree in counseling psychology towards her second career as a bereavement and elder-care and hospice counselor, she worked for 27 years with the community non-profit agency, HELP of OJAI. Her experiences and insights, shared in over fifty articles in the Ojai Valley News, were gleaned from counseling families, facilitating support groups, teaching hospice volunteer trainings and public education courses.