The Leonardo From LeónSunday, August 24, 2008
Sometime in the early 1920s my grandmother and mother were riding on the elevated train in NY City. They were sitting on either side of a man who had refused to move in the seat for three. My mother got the window seat. She asked my grandmother if she could see (in Spanish) and she answered (in Spanish), "I cannot because the man has a very large nose." The man looked at my grandmother and twisting his nose to one side said (in perfect Spanish), "Is this better?" They got off on the next stop.
My grandmother was a product of an 18th century Spanish education so she was antisemitic in what was the norm of the day for the Spaniards. People with big noses had "the map of Jerusalem on their face" my grandmother often said in my presence. She never did make any comment on my Hayward nose which if the Spaniards are right would indicate that my Manchester ancestors might at one time have celebrated the Sabbath.
For those who might have lingered at the face of Ms. Hernandez, the Mexican lass who hails from León, Guanajuato they might have noticed that she has a nose. It is a nose that must be noticed as it is here in this profile that I took with the window lighting of my studio.