Tuesday, June 11, 2013

MEMORIES

SWMBO and I went shopping today for some posters for wall decor.  I had a large blank space over the desk in my den.  No more.


This takes me back to the period of my life from 1987 to 1991 when we lived in Mexico during my "first" retirement.  Mexico was a much safer place then and we loved the experience.  Full exposure: we spent most of our time with other expatriates from the United States and Canada.  So our command of Spanish languished in the lack of use.

We lived first of all in a tiny village on the north shore of Lake Chapala - Ajijic.  (Pronounced - ah-hee-heek.)  But in those early days we found we were traveling the 30 miles or so into the city of Guadalajara whenever we wanted to buy anything.  There were no supermarkets at Lakeside, as the area is called, at that time.  True, we did shop at the weekly street market for all kinds of fruits and vegetables at what we considered ridiculously low prices. And we bought some things at the local mercados and farmacias.  But for furniture and other things with which to furnish our home as well as groceries we had to make the trip to Guadalajara.

About the time we got our house furnished, the landlord came by and told us he was putting it up for sale so we'd have to show it to potential buyers.  With that we decided to move into the big city.  (Guadalajara with an estimated population of 4 to 6 million people is Mexico's second largest city.)

We found a place we moderately liked, signed rental papers, then went back after dark to take a last look before heading back to our home at the lake to begin packing.  In the darkness, before I could reach a light switch, SWMBO tumbled down a flight of stairs, landing on a marble floor resulting in multiple fractures in one arm.  We were new to this area and had no idea where a hospital might be located.  I helped my now disabled wife into our car and drove a few blocks until I found an ice cream store.  I went in and made the young employees know I needed to call for medical help.  A woman at the counter heard me and told me she was a doctor and asked where my wife was.  I took her to the car and she gave her a quick once-over, formed a collar out of some cardboard from the ice cream store for her neck, then said: "Follow me!"  We did and she led us directly to a nearby hospital, helped get us checked in to the emergency room where we were met by a grey-haired, smiling gentlemen who turned out to be an orthopedic surgeon.  When we asked us how we got there we turned to introduce him to our "good Samaritan".  She had left without us ever learning her name.  We told the doctor our story and he just smiled.

SWMBO (I don't know whether I've ever divulged her real name but it's not She Who Must Be Obeyed . . . it's Judy) spent a couple of nights in a hospital.  She was amazed that the doctor came in and rubbed her feet one day while he was asking her about her arm.  And when he found that we liked to dine out, he told us there were many good restaurants in the city and even suggested that we should come to his house for an evening once she had healed.  For her, it was a painful but heartwarming experience and she still raves about the care she received in the hospital.

As a result of her injury, I did most of the moving with some help from a couple of local guys I hired.

There are more stories to tell but that's enough for one day.  Suffice it to say that even though it seems to be a much more dangerous country now than it was then, I still have a warm spot in my heart for that sunny land beneath the border.

And I think my new poster warms the room that I spend 90% of my time in these days.  (Not that it really needs warmth in the way of heat these days.)


17 comments:

  1. Looking good there in the world hq of Oddball Observations. Hearing that story again, just gives me the creeps at how it could have turned out.
    You were living right to find such great samaritans-and good restaurants in the process. Heck of way to get dining tips though!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a great story. I really admire your adventurous spirit. San Antonio is about as close to the equator as I want to visit, much less live. Stories like this make me wonder just how badly my prejudice is backfiring on me. I'd like to hear more of your stories....please? ;)

    S

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've often wondered about your years in Mexico and I'm glad you're now discussing them. I had a grandmother who spoke fluent Spanish. She disappeared down in Mexico for a year or two at a time and there are those in the family who believe she had children down there. This was my "partying grandma."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I knew a few partying grandmas in Mexico back in the day. But most of those stories will stay hidden in the shrouds of the past.

      Delete
  4. Thank you Bruce for that lovely story. I had to be verbally hauled away for breakfast! I am enjoying developing an experience - once removed so to speak - of Mexico that is very different from the one I have acquired from TV and films. Looking forward to yet more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tom, I shall try to comply. And not to keep you from your breakfast!

      Delete
  5. Enjoyed the story. I was on military leave in 69 when I spent a very long weekend running around Baha with a friend and my brother. Last time I visited Mexico. Some good memories, some I can't remember.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you can remember the 60's, you weren't there. :)

      Delete
  6. Fascinating! I'm glad such a scary experience turned into a warm memory.

    And I love the poster - it's perfect for that space!

    ReplyDelete
  7. That was an interesting a fun read about your experience in Mexico. That must have been a frightening evening for you and Judy both.
    Now, about how clutter free your desk is....what's up with that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, once the lady doc took over and got us to the hospital, it became somewhat pleasant.

      As to my desk, I try, Judy, I try.

      Delete
  8. I loved Mexico and the Mexicans are wonderful, generous people as your story so well illustrates. There are not so many places where such spontaneous and personal help would be offered, with no hidden agenda.
    Yes, things have changed in Mexico (as everywhere else) and not for the better, but I think the people will always be like those you and your wife met.
    Great story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Natalie, your views match ours exactly. We had only one or two bad experiences in over 4 years in Mexico and they could easily have happened anywhere. We, too, loved the Mexican people and their generous attitudes.

      Delete
  9. A young French student of mine went to live in Guadalajara for a year - her IUT in the small Breton town of Lannion was actually twinned with the university there, so there are quite a few students from Brittany there. The year turned into quite a bit longer as she couldn't tear herself away, and when she did it was with a Mexican boyfriend in tow!

    ReplyDelete

Sorry for the comment moderation but the spammers have been giving me fits.