Back in the 60’s when I was a little girl… ahem, a VERY little “girl,” my parents used to send us to spend our summer breaks in Mexico City where my aunt lived. My two sisters and I were put on the night train so that by morning, we would be in the city. We could hardly sleep through the night. The excitement of going to the city was too grand to get any rest! As we lay on our bed on the train, we would periodically peek out the window- but it was always pitch black. Eventually sleep would find us in the wee hours of the morning and we would wake up with the extreme halt of the train, finding ourselves in the gigantic city. My Aunt Carmen would be there to receive us. Year after year, the excitement would always be the same. We knew that she would take us to museums, the state fair which had the biggest roller coaster I had ever experienced, and we would also get to spend weekends in Cuernavaca. It was way better than staying at home!
My sisters and I were on our BEST behavior. If we started becoming difficult to manage during our visit, we knew that our chances to stay longer would decrease. My Aunt Carmen lived with her husband, Clemente, and their daughter, Tete. I can understand now that they lived a middle-upper class life and lived in a middle-upper class apartment in Mexico City. But as it is usual in a big city, the apartment was not very big so we were all in each other’s way. In order to accommodate us, we would have to sleep in the living room which was perfectly exciting and fun for my sisters and me.
My Uncle Clemente was a writer and most of his life he wrote radio novels. You know radio novels were big time before TV, before Netflix, before podcasts! One of his famous characters was Kaliman… Google him! Every day we would wake up with my Uncle Clemente blasting opera music. He would say that the music would stimulate his creativity and imagination. He was a massive chain smoker so there would be ash trays all over the house mostly filled with half smoked cigarettes. He would go into a different dimension when he would write. We didn’t exist for him during this time, his mind full of scenes and dialogues. My sisters and I wouldn’t mind waking up with Maria Callas in our ear. To us it reminded us that we were in the big city and that’s all that mattered. We would awaken in the room full of cigarette smoke and we’d quietly get up trying to stay out of his way as he paced up and down through the apartment. The floors were made out of wood so we would tiptoe quietly to a part of the apartment where we would not disturb him.
I wish he was still alive. Now as an adult I can see that he was brilliant with his creativity and very smart, savvy. He didn’t care what people thought of his eccentric ways. He just did what he knew best to do- write! I never told him how these summers around him influenced me, how they inspired curiosity in the artistic process, appreciation for the eccentric and the adoration for the imagination.
We as human beings are a product of our childhood. If you come into the store, you can see me pacing up and down the store blocking out everything around me as I’m narrating my thoughts and emotions to one of my colleagues as she types furiously to catch up with my thoughts.
Who was that person in your life that inadvertently made you who you are?
Write me! Guada755@outlook.com