Becoming a Writer – The Early Years, Diversity

28 Sep
San Miguel de Allende, Street musicians

Becoming a Writer – The Early Years, Diversity San Miguel de Allende, Street musicians

I remember waking up one morning and hearing a car drive up outside of my apartment. Having had the only car in the place up to now I got out of bed to look. Outside, parked on the grass was a newer model, white car, and two black guys standing beside it. For San Miguel that was new. Getting dressed I went out to say hello.

One guy was short and thin, and wore glasses. He seemed to be taken aback by my outstretched hand. The other guy was tall and thin, and seemed to be amused at something. We chattted a litle about where we were from in the States. They were from Chicago, and had driven to Mexico by way of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas. (This was 1962, remember.) It had apparently been a traumatic experience for them, especially the little guy, who was trembling as he remembered it. A nervous type.

The next day the car was gone, and I was surprised to find the tall guy sitting outside his apartment the next day. He told me that his friend had left for Chicago early that morning. He’d had enough traveling. Wilson, as he introduced himself however, felt a great infinity for Mexico and asked me to show him around town.

We started out in the centro, and I filled him in on the restaurant choices available, pointed out the various churches and impressive civil edifices. The we sat in the jardin and people watched. People were very curious about us both, but especially him. One little girl came up to him and ran her finger down his face to see if the color came off.
Several people greeted him with “Cubano“. We found out later that the Mexicans thought maybe he was a famous Cuban movie comedian, El Negrito Cucurumbey, who they had heard on the radio. (Older Mexican people believed that radios had tiny little people inside them who were actually singing and speaking to them).

We had lunch one day in the Patio restaurant, the only Restaurant-Bar in San Miguel in those days, and I couln’t help noticing that Wilson was loading up on the mustard, ketchup, and sugar. I couldn’t help myself, I had to ask him. “Its FREE man,” he whispered, with complete sincerity.

After a few days of wandering around Wilson heard that Mexican cemeteries dug people bodies up after five years if the rent on their graves wasn’t paid. Yes, we found out, that’s true, and the bodies were just thrown into a corner of the cemetery. So we had to go look, “I want to get me a skull,” said Wilson so off we went. We found that it was true, and a pile of skeletons, rotted clothes still hanging off their bodies, were indeed piled in a corner. Wilson took one look, turned nearly white and headed for the street. He told me that he had been profoundly affected, repulsed by the sight, and shivered every time he thought about it.

The next day, he was gone. I never saw him again.

San Miguel de Allende, San Francisco street

San Miguel de Allende, San Francisco street

One Response to “Becoming a Writer – The Early Years, Diversity”

  1. Heather September 28, 2012 at 10:24 PM #

    Mexico is an experience of contradictions! Heather


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