Childhood's EndThursday, August 17, 2006
Rebecca is 9 today. When I photographed her by the Asian elephant in the Morelia zoo, a few days back, I was thinking for how long Rebecca will be interested in cuddly toys such as George the monkey. I would have been around 8 when I converted a crate in my Buenos Aires back garden into a car. I put a plank over one end. A broom stick with a paper plate was the steering wheel and two bricks propped over another brick became the gas pedals and the brake. I drove Fangio's races with great excitement. One day the car stopped being one and reverted back to the crate. I tried hard but the crate refused to become a car. Sometime in 1949 Robby Miranda ( distant cousin from Manila) moved with his family ( here with his mother Fermina now 94) to Buenos Aires. I remember vividly the first time I ever saw him. The door of my front garden opened and, with a big smile on his face, Robby ran in. He was two years older. He had experienced war under the Japanese in the Philippines so he taught me with toy soldiers how to "play war". We used firecrackers to make explosions. It was lots of fun. I counted the days when Robby would come to the house. He liked to come on Tuesdays as our housekeeper Mercedes made the best milanesas (breaded veal cutlets) in the world. Or I would go to his house in Belgrano and play there. One day Robby lost interest and I was never able to play toy soldiers with him again.
A couple of days ago we stopped in Houston on our way back to Vancouver to see Tia Fermina who is my favourite aunt and is a bundle of energy at 94. Robby was there (here with Tia Fermina) and I mentioned the toy soldiers. It was Robby who got tired of my complaining that I would never be a photographer in Mexico because I didn't have the proper equipment. One day he took me to a photo store and plunked an American Express card on the counter (at the time he was selling those new-fangled French Tefal frying pans) and asked me, "What do you need?" I am a photographer only because of Robby's help and faith.
Today, Rebecca is 9. Will she keep her interest in George and Chippy (the Canadian beaver, made in Indonesia that she bought in Sanborn's in Morelia)? Or will she grow up?