Friday, August 27, 2010

More Postcards from the Past

In our memory banks there are places and then, there are places. Looking back, it seems amazing that one city block (exactly 100 meters) would carry enough weight to remain attached for a lifetime. But so is the case for that block of Boullon (Calle 25 today) Between Santa Cruz and Sta. Elena. My world's center for most of the first 15 years of my life.

“Paco… dame una Materva, que me muero del calor”… “Paco, give me a Materva (local soda); I’m dying from the heat!!”

This would be a very common cry during any summer afternoon. The place where this cry was usually heard would be the corner “bodega”(store): combination soda fountain, hangout, quasi bar for the afternoon home returning working crowd and general food store. In Cienfuegos, Cuba in the 1950’s, there were no supermarkets as we know them here; instead, it was the corner store, much like the small towns across the USA. In our case, we had two from which to choose: the store owned by Pedro y Paco, or a similar store at the other end of the block. We were loyal to Pedro y Paco; it may have helped that I could buy stuff and put it on the proverbial “account” to be paid at the end of the month by my grandparents. Also, there were two very cute girls across the street from this particular store. Two sisters, one of whom would eventually be known to the music and film world as Maria Conchita Alonso. Besides these two stores, we had the local butcher as well as the small “quincallitas” (housefront kiosks) where small things could be bought for pennies. My favorite small thing to buy here would be flavored ice cubes for one penny. My bacteria defense was much higher then than it may be now.

This was a one block neighborhood in a small city of neighborhoods, where I lived for most of the first 15 years of my life; in the same house where my grandparents had lived since the 1930’s. I knew all the neighbors: on our left, Carmen and her daughter Maria, then in her 20’s. Maria would come to our house to use the phone, always almost wearing summer light clothing. I would do all I could to make sure she would position herself against the light… It was great viewing, and she knew it; and enjoyed showing off a pretty decent body.

Across the street there was a subdivided old house, where in each room there would be a small family living. The communal water source was at the center of the inner “courtyard” and the common showers and bath were at the end of the courtyard. Always yelling and screaming at each other and amongst themselves (this was Cuba, no?) and also always ready to bring out the chairs and guitars and start a “guaguancó” (Impromptu get together to create music, sing and dance). One of the neighbors in this communal house, occupying the largest room (subdivided) and having an outside, direct entryway, was “Varón”. That was his nickname; he worked at my grandfather’s factory (as had his father) and lived with his wife Martha, his daughter Bárbara and his son Juan, who was my age and a good friend.

Around the corner was Lolita, my tutor. A spinster, around the ancient age of 45 (ah, just in the flower of youth m’lad!!. My, how perspectives change over the years). Every afternoon at precisely 4:20 I would walk down to the corner, turn left and go to the other end, where she would be waiting for me in order to review the day’s learning, homework and all. Every day from 4:30 to 6pm. Of course, everyone was out on the streets at the time either playing or talking, so I would get to see them all and say “Hola”. This daily trip expanded my own neighborhood to that other block as well.

On our right, there were two “next door” neighbors: The outside door was a double entrance, with one door leading upstairs to an apartment and the other one leading to the house directly next to us. In the upstairs apartment lived a mother with her two daughters: Maria and Irma. Both in her late 20’s and with a very checkered lifestyle. We became friends and I believe there is something about them somewhere else in these writings. Needless to say that they showed me more than  I could ever show them at the time.

Our other neighbor lived through the other door with his wife Caridad. They, especially she, became very good friends with us. I slept over there once in a while and shared much with them. Ma. Caridad could have no children and we were handy and very likeable (why are you snickering?). Actually, this friendship did eventually allow us to leave the country, since our next door neighbor had the misfortune to become the president (only one besides Mr. C. himself) of the island under Castro. We were fortunate, having him there allowed me to leave the country; he was not so fortunate. Being the president at the time, meant being responsible for all the failures of the de facto government (Castro) and he paid with his life for this privilege.

One block in a small neighborhood in a medium-small city. A lifetime of memories.

Be Back!! Be Well!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Immigration Issues.

Illegal immigration is a difficult topic. Understanding the hell from which most of these families come, does not help decisions to become easier, either way. Our country is a magnet to many who live in hopeless despair but in coming here illegally, they themselves are contributing to the lessening of the number of opportunities which may have been available here. The legalization of migratory status is a multi-layered issue. Like peeling an onion, every layer reveals other layers beneath and each one provides issues and possibilities of its own.  It is difficult to agree on a course of action which is fair and just to all concerned but we as a people must do so for the survival of our own country and society.

This is a topic which has kept me on an ideological balance beam for sometime now. I am an immigrant, first generation. I was born elsewhere and was accepted to come to this country some 48 years ago. I did not wade into a river, nor did I stuff myself in the back of a cattle or produce truck in order to cross the border. My citizenship was earned by joining the armed forces at a time in which most of my peers were desperately claiming their non-citizen status in order to get away from the possibility of having to go to Viet Nam. In the end I served elsewhere and did not go there either, but the fact that I did serve, opened the doors to my claiming legal status in this country which I love and to which I am grateful.

Other members of my family (brother and sister) have also come and, as I did, benefitted because incoming citizens of our country had (still do) a preferential treatment. As you might know if you have spent some time with the other entries to this blog, due to business I traveled in many parts of the world and have lived in at least three other countries at any given time along the last 29 years. This has given me an opportunity to directly live with local laws and get to know how immigrants are treated in many places, especially those from where a vast majority of illegal immigrants come to the US.

Most of the people who come here, risking their lives to do so, are fleeing from a disastrous economic climate in their own societies. A situation so bad in some cases, that many of them don’t eat a meal every day and have little hope to better their lot in their lifetimes. They hope to be able to find some work here, send money back to their families and eventually (in most cases) return to their country of origin.

Immigration laws vary by country, based on ideology, culture, socioeconomics, personal security and other parameters of daily living. In most “third world” (including most Latin American countries) countries, illegal immigrants are treated like rats, jailed (often being physically abused) and, if lucky, sent back to their country of origin (and not by chartered plane).  Where we are located, we (USA) are directly in the path of millions of people who get up every morning with little hope to do better than yesterday, and yesterday was not a good day. Is this a condition which should allow every one to come here as they please? No it should not. Yes, we are a country of immigrants but, most have come in under the protection of a system and a law, with some order in the process. Those who come in without any kind of legal procedures or protection tend to undermine society, the laws, the process and, in the end, the system on which we all depend.

Do most of the immigrants come to do a decent day’s work? The answer is a definite yes. There are also those (a definite minority) who will try to break down society’s rules even further by living on the “other side” of the law, and in the process give all immigrants truly a bad name.

I know several couples, many with children who were born in this country. They have spent many years here, have built businesses and have beautiful homes. All without legal documents.  Did they take this opportunity away from a US citizen? No, they did not. They did what many US born have chosen not to do: study, work hard and long, save and invest in the economy.

Am I in favor of illegal immigration? No, I‘m not. Am I in favor of sending all these good people back, taking away a lifetime of work and dedication and breaking families? No, I am definitely not. There is a large group of immigrants who have actually contributed to the growth of this country. And not all are Hispanics. There is also a group who in their own countries never respected the laws and they are not willing to do this here either. Do we need them here? No, we do not. Do we need an immigration reform? Yes, we do. The leaders of this country have been wrestling with this for some time now, all afraid to put the collar on the lion. The result is a mixed match of state laws and regional ideas while very little is heard from the central government.

This is a social issue, is a human issue, is a cultural issue and it is definitely an economic issue. You could even say it is a survival issue. It should NOT become a political issue, used only at the convenience of those who are seeking the vote of a segment of the population. As a country, the USA has had very lax immigration laws; this is something that cannot be changed overnight. But change it must. There will be a reaction to the change; there will be difficult times but in the long run, a change will allow our society to stabilize an area of real concern and it will also allow for a more orderly and peaceful reception of those who wish to come and seek an opportunity better than the one they have at home.

And, yes, perhaps the governments of these poorer places can right their own wrongs and restructure their own societies for the better in order to allow the common individual a chance and an opportunity to have a decent and dignified life for him/herself and their families. Then, their own citizens may actually stay put, work and help their own country  grow.

Be Well..  Be Back!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's The Economy, Dummy...

Good people often finish last. I am not sure who coined this phrase but, in these times on uncertainty within  the economic world, it certainly is brought home by stories that are lived by good people who are known to us and close friends. Apparently, they have done all the right things, with all the wrong results.

In one of the recent presidential campaigns (believe it was one of the Bushes) the title phrase above became a war cry. However, ever since I have had a memory of things financial, this has been the war cry or, simply, the cry of most people. In the early 1970’s, with the gas crunch (which has now become a constant gas squeeze) the price of gasoline went from less than a dollar to well over 3 dollars. All this, in less than 6 months. We did not know it then, but this crunch was the end of economic wellbeing in general, and the beginning of a very long US economic slump. There have been temporary upswings but on the average, it has been a continuing downward slump which still goes on, despite the claims to the contrary contained in the texts of government press releases.

Our economy had been based on things mechanical for several generations. Big, bigger, lower, wider were the call of the car marketing hypes of the 50’s through the early 70’s; even when these longer, lower, wider body cars were sitting at the dealer’s while the egg like civics were selling faster than they could be brought into the showrooms. US made cars lost sales due to their gas guzzling engines, more and more workers were laid off over the years, factories closed and many related subcontracting firms went out of business. Some of these last might have survived, but the farming out of their potential business to other, cheaper labor markets, did them in. This same behavior was reflected along the length and width of several of the primary economic generators of the US. The overall result has been catastrophic for the average American family.

In the long run, it has taken at least three generations (how are they measured, anyway?) for our economic gurus (read: shakers and movers) to finally accept that our structure needs to be retooled, redone and re-launched, despite the political cost it may carry; I personally believe that the political cost of having done little or nothing over the last 25 years should be accounted for, and the price collected from those elected leaders who should have responded. The changes being attempted now will be late for many who have lost everything along the way; it may also be late for those who are in their last throes, trying to salvage what little they may have left in order to maintain a semblance of a life, as it may have been known before. Many regular, normal every day families have been victims of this downturn and, unfortunately, there will be many more before an honest upswing happens.

A couple, friends of ours, who came from abroad several years ago are a typical case. As many who have come over, their goal was to work, accomplish and live the American dream. They had an older child who now is on his own and then had two other children, the older being now around the age of six. The father went to work in what seemed to be a steady position and made enough money to allow his wife to work part time and devote most of her time to care for the children. After years of employment, about a year ago, all that had been done went into a downward spiral. He lost his job, and has been unable to find another that pays him at least as much as unemployment. 

In the meantime, his home mortgage goes into a default mode and they desperately apply for assistance to the different media that supposedly will help them restructure their loan. The bureaucracy then takes over between the bank and the government entity in charge of these issues, and it all goes into a black hole from where it is impossible to get a defined answer. The bank people blame the agency and the agency people, of course, blame the bank. The real issues are actually a lot more ridiculous, including the fact they have been told -in writing- that all is OK and approved, to then be told that it is not. In the meantime, this family has been told their home is in the final stages of foreclosure and that they will have to leave unless the full amount of back payments due is made. The sum is more than what they can put together so we can assume their home, representing years of hard work and much sacrifice, will soon join the hundreds of thousands of other homes which will be dumped on the “foreclosure” market. What about this flesh and blood family? We will all try to help them and make sure they do not end up on the streets. Not the dream they envisioned; it is more a common nightmare.

“It’s the economy, dummy”… It would sure be good and different if some of the so called leaders who issue these “election year war cries” and loudly proclaim them for all who can vote to hear, would tighten their own belts and fight for the changes which might actually lessen these losses and suffering.

Be Well!!   Be Back. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Postcards, Thoughts and Other Issues.

This was started a few days ago...  Heard that one before, huh? There has been much to do and little time to sit at the computer. The first couple of paragraphs were written and left there. This morning the news that a fellow church member had finally succumbed to cancer, gave me some food for thought. So the posting went on, just in a different direction than it might have gone originally.

It’s another warm, humid August day here in North Carolina. Considering where I was born, this type of weather should not bother me much. Interesting how the human body adapts and then “un-adapts” to different settings, according to the exposure given. I was born and raised for almost 16 years in a tropical setting: warm and humid in the summer, less warm in the winters. There was a time in my early life when, during the winter months, we had to put on sweaters if the temperature went below 82 degrees. And if it ever went to 65 or below (very rarely and usually for a day or two at most), it would be considered freezing temperature and not apt to be braved. We stayed at home. The only problem was that our homes were built to take advantage of the breezes in the summer, and did not provide much cover against the cold weather.

The preceding, meaningless paragraph was brought to you by “Boredom, Inc.”, a subsidiary of “Apathy Corporation”. You may assume that it has not been a great day today. I have honestly tried to work and get things done; either the people I am calling are not in, or no one wants to talk to me this afternoon. Also, we are (temporarily, I hope) down to one car and, after having the use of two cars for sometime now, the scenario is complicated since both my wife and I work in sales and out on the streets, not in an office. Obviously, if you guessed that she has the car at this moment, you guessed right.

A couple of days have passed since the beginning of this post-to-be. I read it and there is not much worth the virtual ink that will be used to post it. On the other hand, it may turn out to be one of those pieces that start weak and gain strength as the words come on… then again, maybe not.

A fellow member of our church has died from cancer today. This was not a surprise yet, it is still the loss of a life; a life which has been shared with us at one time or another.  Some have shared it more; in my case, we had discussed the ravages of cancer and I had given her my best wishes and prayers for a healthy recovery. As time went on it was clear that the illness was taking its toll on the person, and that it would ultimately win this particular fight. She went back into the hospital some 3 weeks ago for a check up, and was not let out again. When we heard this, we knew that the end was near. Last week, she stopped the chemicals that were killing her inexorably and went home, to die in peace and in the midst of her immediate family.  At this point, my prayers changed and asked for a peaceful, speedy passing; free of any more pain. This morning, the news of her death reached us. We will miss her, but in a way this early death is better, since she was suffering most of the time and I understand in a very frail condition.

Sometime ago, as a VA patient, I was asked whether my organs would be available in case of clinical death. My wife is not in agreement with the concept of organ donation, I am and signed the card so stating.

I do believe in the fact that there are others whose organs are in worse shape than my own and who will be benefitted from receiving whatever of my flesh fits them. At that time I will no longer need any of it anyway. Death is a reality. In fact, it is the only guaranteed reality we are handed at the time of birth. Some believe that in denying this fact, death might be avoided (not!!) or delayed (neither!!). When it is time to go, tickets have been paid on your behalf, punched and ready for the one way adventure. I am actually much more afraid of not living a full life, mistakes and all, than of death. I hope that as Yolanda did, when the inevitable time arrives, I will have the strength of character to forego any chemicals and machinery, accept the moment and go in peace.

Anyhow… one bit of news that changed the course of whatever nonsense was going to be written originally.

Rest in Peace, Yolanda.

Be back!!  Be Well!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Of Commitments... II

I am not sure there is a defined end to this post. However, it is better to cut it where it is rather than running the risk of having it become an exercise in self pity. Now THAT would be totally unacceptable. We all  have moments or even periods of time during which we live and deal with a feeling of insufficiency  or insecurity. My best guess is that this and the previous posting are the result of one such period of time, or collection of moments. It's done!! Over and out!

Eventually, we do come that which may be defined as personal commitment to a life partner. This is a whole different story and perhaps the most complex and difficult to even begin to understand. A willingness to commit that is not born of blood, family, creed or reason. Instead it is born from an attraction initially stemming from curiosity, and then blooming into a deeper feeling. It may be explained in many different ways, but a feeling that has never been truly understood. It can strip every shred of acquired intimate personal knowledge and exchange much of it for acceptance of someone else’s ideas and, sometimes, even mores.

Is it real? What is this commitment? Is it born of personal need? Wants? Is it infatuation for another person? It may actually last a lifetime; however, within the last couple of generations or so, it seems this type of commitment is becoming more and more conditional and based on personal convenience and goals. The concept of personal sacrifice is going more and more by the wayside. It is even looked on as “foolish”. In any event, to really have a chance at becoming, it has to be total and complete mutual commitment, coming from both sides of the relationship.

What happens when one side is unable to truly commit? Can the other partner carry on for both? There can be more than one valid reason for the inability to commit. Upbringing, culture and, in many cases, circumstances which may have damaged the “goods” along the way. There is one vital, totally necessary ingredient in order for this commitment to be able to exist: trust. And trust is a highly susceptible emotion (not, it is not reason or logic that creates trust, it is a pure emotional issue) to those circumstances, often not controlled by the person. When it is broken, damaged or lost along the way, especially if this happens more than once, it becomes a very difficult feeling to reconstruct and give unconditionally anew. Without this ingredient, full commitment to another is not possible, for there will always be empty spaces where there should be a continuum. If the other person is willing and able, there will be bridges built over these spaces; life will go on but knowing that the bridges are only constructs and that the empty spaces below are gaps which exist to be avoided. Sooner or later it will tell on the relationship.

Why all this? During these days, being alone and “on vacation”, I have done a lot of inner reflection. I consider my life to be blessed despite the many mistakes made along the way. However, in talking with several who lived through similar issues to those I lived through as a growing child and then as a young adult, there seems to be a continuing thread amongst us: the inability to completely commit. I fully understand the roots of this issue, we lost too much of ourselves before we were ready to understand why; but knowing this, does not make it any easier to repair the damage. It has taken some good people to help patch these holes along the way; and although these patches are worn thin sometimes and the frustration escapes through, the strong reinforcement received over time has managed to help  hold on to the sometimes threadbare connections.

I guess these reflections were brought on by the news of the death of an acquaintance. I could say friend, but this would be a stretch. Nonetheless, it was a kindred soul who shared much of what went on 48 years ago in Cuba and Miami. The news of the death in of itself brought sadness but the fact that this seemed to be a death self inflicted, brought reflection. I believe I have received many blessings along the way; help, counsel -earthly as well as spiritual-, friendship, love and, yes, hurt also. But a normal everyday pain which, in most cases is brought on by our own mistakes. Not everyone has been this lucky.

Once again, decisions made (whether by us or others on our behalf) and roads traveled as a result, bring us to who we are and where we are now.

Enjoy!!  Be Back, Be Well!!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Of Commitments...

Why do I get into these areas? I truly do not know. It has been an integral part of these postings to often sit and begin to write without a defined idea, letting the "cursory pen" take me where it may. This is a very personal topic; I am not sure as to why it came out now. In fact, I was not sure I would post it and still have the second half left to ponder. Anyhow, since there are not many of you out there reading, perhaps it is simply a personal reflection looking for some inner clarification.

The concept of commitment is usually expressed (although not necessarily understood) at different levels within our psyche. There is the simpler everyday commitment that is related to the work we do: deadlines, payments, food, clothing, work in general. This type of commitment is easily understood and managed. It allows the daily routines to exist and, in being so, to maintain some basic order in our lives.

There is the commitment to follow a cause, religion or creed we may choose as the one to spouse and trust. That commitment is a little more complex, since it will have to be expressed as a way of life. Not all of us can successfully achieve –and maintain- that change in our daily living. Those who honestly can, will attest to a peace of mind which is difficult to rival. But, that is also a defined commitment. Yes, more complicated to achieve and maintain, but also “followable” once it is identified and defined. The path is there and it can be walked, if so chosen.

Then, personal commitment comes knocking at the door. This type of commitment can be taken to more than one level as well. Friendship is the simpler, yet complex level. One commits to another individual who has been known and trusted for some time, usually a number of years. With this person we have shared good and bad moments and there has been mutual, unconditional support when needed. Seldom is this level of commitment challenged.

Commitment to one’s children; this one is born of the blood and impressed genes. It is also unconditional and it will last for a lifetime. It is almost like it has a life of its own because, no matter what happens, it will persist. Does this mean that there will be no failures of support or follow up? No, definitely not. Sometimes in that chosen life road, there will be moments when this commitment will be temporarily put aside out of circumstances and/or necessity, yet always maintaining that real or imagined umbilical cord which somehow manages to keep us informed as to the wherewithal of our children. In this, mothers are more defined than fathers. Perhaps an inborn trait, gene or radar scope; who knows?

Blood family has a line of its own here. These are brothers, sisters, cousins, parents (not always the same level of commitment goes up than comes down the parental line), aunts, uncles, etc. This is born from having been raised within the circle of a family and of the bloodlines which exist in that family unit. It is not guaranteed and often, as the years go by and we become adults, it loses strength and in some of the more distant cases, it may even disappear in the distant past. What is usually true under this particular heading, is that the further the blood line goes from the central unit, the thinner it is and the weaker the commitment becomes. 

Final thoughts tomorrow... maybe!!
Be Well!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Moments in Time...

Life happens... it barrels along and we, who sometimes think might be in control, are merely passengers on that train. Often, decisions are made; decisions which deviate from the ones usually made. When this happens, we look upon them as merely "doing something different". However,  oftentimes that deviation sets us on a different path than what might have been. And we will not be aware of this until much later on, as we look back on that time and that decision.

Sometimes I wonder what is it that keeps me coming back to sit at this cantankerous old laptop and write about french fries to go… or some such thing. Much like my car it is old (as comps go, about 7 years!!) and slow; much unlike the car, this is one baby I will trade in as soon as possible for a newer, longer, lower, wider, more powerful version.

Actually, what does bring me here to fill this virtual paper in, are issues that happen on a daily basis. As my remembrances may allow and when current issues are not that important (to me, that is), sometimes I go back down memory lane into some half forgotten page in that graying old book, hidden in the mind’s recesses. In reliving those pages, moments which should not be forgotten completely are dusted off and, for a while at least, brought back into present focus giving it a different slant, or a different viewpoint. All these put together often give that moment a new meaning and, on more than one occasion, have made me realize just how important whatever happened then was to be in my future life. 

One afternoon, in June of 1972, I was freshly divorced, out of my first marriage. Yeah, there has been more than one. I was then living in Greenwich, CT and working at the local hospital. No, I was not a neurosurgeon; I just kept tabs on what those guys did from my perch within the confines of the “Record Room”. Back then computing was in its infancy and most records were physically kept in big’ol folders, color codes and all. It was, frankly, a very boring job but nonetheless it helped pay my rent. At the local YMCA, no less. Actually, as these hostels go, this one was pretty cool; I had a big round, turret like room at one end of the building, where I would rest my weary bones for about 4 months in relative comfort and with weekly payments within my budget.

On that fair summer afternoon back in ’72, I was sitting in the room with not much to do. It was a midweek day, the work was done and the heat numbers somewhere around 95. Being alone after 5 years of marriage, I was enjoying the solitude and the ability to live my life as I chose. What should I do today? I asked the guy staring back at me from the mirror. Honestly, I have never truly had (since leaving Cuba) many friends; people I might be able to call at the drop of a dime, much less stop in on them unannounced. I think there is an emotional backlash there somewhere; maybe for another post.

Anyway, in the midst of my two image, one sided conversation with the guy in the mirror, it was decided that it was a good time to go to the beach. So, I packed my briefs (not the legal kind), a sandwich, a soda, the suntan oil and took myself to the beach in Old Greenwich. Paid my parking fees and drove into the lot. Usually I went to the first lot, since there were bath facilities near this area. For some unknown reason, that day I chose to go to the second lot; still to this day, I do not know why. Went in, put my briefs on and went to lie down on my Winnie The Pooh towel (no remarks please…). During July and August afternoons, especially in still days, there are a lot of gnats at that beach. I guess they have little to do as well, and there is a lot of flesh lying around within easy picking.

As I was lying there, these little pests kept diving at me. Actually, their bark was worse than their bite, since the most bothersome issue with them was the kamikaze diving sound they made when coming at me. The sound was that of little planes dive bombing on my body. At some point I got fed up and this, being 1972 in Greenwich, CT., should be a time when not too many Cubans would be lying around me; so, a typically Cuban expression came out:  “Coño!!! Como joden estos mosquitos!!” (loosely translated: “Damn!! These gnats are bugging the hell out of me!!”). Much to my surprise, to my left, an older lady laughed, looked at me and asked: “Eres Cubano?” (“Are you Cuban?”). As I could not deny this reality after that exclamation, we proceeded to talk and, as it turned out, we had many things in common, including hometown and friends; she even knew my mother and her nephew had been a classmate of mine. I was invited to come over to her house later in the week to have rice and beans, picadillo (typical Cuban ground beef dish), fried bananas and flan (my favorite custard dessert). And, oh yes, her daughter would be there, just coming back from a study year abroad.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, we never know at any given point in time what the consequences of any decisions (or chain of decisions) we make, will bring unto our lives. As it turned out, my going to the beach that day (I had not gone to the beach in over a month at that time) and my parking in the second lot and not in my usual first lot parking area, brought me to the side of this great lady who, 5 months or so later, would become my mother in law. That marriage eventually dissolved but it left three great children (now adults) as a legacy. So not all of it could be all that wrong.

Bloody gnats!!

Be Well!!! Be Back…

Doña América and other memories.

I know she has already been mentioned somewhen along this line of sometimes unhinged memories as they relate to moments of my life , but y...