Sábado De Gloria - Revisited - And A Pancake Breakfast Not Under The Peach Tree
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Today, Holy Saturday, Rosemary, Lauren, Rebecca and I are visiting our eldest daughter Ale in Lillooet. We will probably have had a pancake breakfast. "I want to have pancakes under the peach tree," Lauren told me on Thursday. I had to explain to her that weather will not permit us to indulge as we did last fall. Sábado de Gloria
is such an uncertain day. Will He rise? I wrote the blog below for Saturday, April 7, 2007. Abraham Rogatnick and I are still friends. There will be little of Abraham this Easter. Two Chritsmases ago he gave me some very expensive and beautiful garden tools. I have used all except a small Japanese saw which I gave to Ale. She called a few days ago, "Thank Abraham for that wonderful knife, it is so useful." But it seems that I had forgotten that this is not my second Sabado de Gloria entry. There was another
on Saturday, April 15, 2006!
As I sat in the front pew of St Helen's Anglican Church with Abraham Jedediah Rogatnick yesterday evening I had thoughts of my grandmother Lolita and how she directed the Good Friday activities at home in Buenos Aires when I was a boy.
I had called Abraham in the morning to tell him that an unusual version of Mozart's Requiem was being Performed at St Helen's. The Vancouver Voices Quartet and Vancouver Chamber Players were performing the Requiem with only four voices and accompanied by a string quartet.
Many if not most of the patrons seemed to be parishioners of St Helen's (named after Constantine the Great's saintly mother). And there we were, a Catholic and a Jew sitting there discussing how three of the four singers had faulty Latin diction.
Perhaps my grandmother would have been shocked at it all or perhaps her anti-semitic stance was only Spanish 19th century upbringing. On Good Fridays I was not allowed to turn on the radio and sometime around 3 pm we would kneel on the living room floor in our Coghlan home and she would take us through the stations of the cross in Latin. I distinctly remember her telling me how the evil Jews had crucified Him. When describing people's faces she would sometimes say, "She has the map of Jerusalem on her face." Or she would switch to her alternate, "He is one of Jesus' countrymen."
But she never ever uttered a critical word about my best friend who lived across the street on Melián 2779. He was Mario Hertzberg. He, Miguelito (I have long forgotten his Calabrian surname) and I were inseperable and we were known as the inglesito (the english boy) el tano (the Italian) and el judío (the Jew).
Mario had two brothers but he once showed me the photograph of a third who looked much the same as he did except he was fatter and wore glasses. "That was my older brother but he died at a place called Auschwitz."
At age 8 I did not have enough curiousity to pursue the subject any further.
One day Mario and I went to see a Tarzan movie at the Saturday series sponsored by our local Capuchin monks who were building a very large new church next door to the little community center and movie house. They charged us a token fee but we knew our money was going to a good cause. As we left after the show we were approached by a chubby Capucine who asked us our names. He asked me to what church I went to. When he questioned Mario, Mario replied, "I don't go to church I am a Jew." I will never forget the Capuchin's smile as he placed his hand on Mario's arm and told us, "We share the same God and that is what is important." I thought about that for the rest of the day but I never confronted my grandmother with what to me was a clear difference of opinion.
I lost track of Mario Hertzberg when I was 20 but when I am with Abraham, even though he is 85, I find in his warm companionship, traces of that boyhood friendship that I miss but that somehow have come back.
It is appropriate that I write of this today. In Spanish, we call today Sábado de Gloria
. It is an important day in Catholic liturgy as Catholics meditate on Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday is the most important feast day of them all. If the Man does not come back from the grave tomorrow it is all words and nothing more.
In my own little way I discovered last night as Abraham and I heard the lyrics:
tuba mirum spagens sonum
(the trumpet will send its wondrous sound)
of a friendship reborn.
La Azotea De Edward Weston
Friday, March 21, 2008
I have such a vivid memory about reading this article on Mexican photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo
on December 16, 1993 that I even remember it was a Thursday!
The idea that the 91 year-old man (he died when he was 100) would wake up every day and have a coffee, pan dulce
and then go to his studio and photograph a female nude was astounding. What a routine he had! That he did it in a city without snow or cold, a city (as well as the mountains of the dry season) that is ochre (although Bravo's house was called the Blue House) brown, and red, colours that are inviting and not distancing like the greens, blues, cyans and grays of Vancouver gave me nostalgia for my youth in Mexico City. Reading Tim Golden's interview with Bravo I could imagine the smells of earth, water on sidewalks after a winter drought aguacero
and the advent of the rainy season. I could imagine and remember the murals of Diego Rivera and paintings by Rufino Tamayo. But most of all I was grabbed by the last two paragraphs of the interview:
For many years, Mr. Alvarez Bravo used to summarize the philosophy of his method on a piece of paper tacked above the developing pans in his darkroom. "Hay tiempo," it read, "There is time."
When asked, he can't remember exactly what happened to the manifesto. He thinks it is back in the house, just up the crooked street from the blue wall of his studio. he isn't sure. But he smiles as he says this, and his meaning is obvious: there is no longer any need for such reminders.
It was around 1993 that I first read the Daybooks of Edward Weston
with special emphasis on the first volume. 1 Mexico
. But I skimmed through them without giving Weston's words much thought.
Of late I have given those words much thought and I have read them over and over. It was only a few years ago that I realized, that between 1962 and 1964, when I lived in an apartment on Avenida Tamaulipas in Mexico City, that I was but three blocks from Avenida Veracruz 42, corner with Durango. It was in this house that Edward Weston lived for a while in 1924 with some of his sons and his mistress the Italian photographer Tina Modotti. When Modotti was later expelled from Mexico for her communist views she sold one of Weston's 4x5 cameras to a young Manuel Álvarez Bravo. Weston had noticed Bravo's photographs
and commented on his talent.
Ona Grauer in my studio, (right)
On a March 12, 1924 entry Weston writes:
From the negatives made of Tina lying nude on the azotea, (Weston's photograph from his azotea, above left)[a Mexican roof, complete with laundry hanging to dry next to large water tanks] one very excellent result which I have printed: it is among the best nudes I have done...
Or his entry for March 16. 5:30 [Morning or afternoon?] ...Some criticized my latest nude of Tina reclining on the azotea because of "incorrect drawing," but [Jean] Charlot did not mind it: he tells me that Picasso got his "inspiration" to use false perspective from amateur photographs. Diego [Diego Rivera] had another interesting note on Picasso, that he was never influenced or went to nature for inspiration, always to other "schools" of art.
And there is this torrid one, March 23, Sunday Evening:
After a day of loafing and napping, it is well to let the world slip by occasionally in indolent indifference. The twilight was spent in Tina's room and in her arms, for she had sent me a note by Elisa, "Eduardo: Por qué no viene aquí arriba? Es tan bella la luz a esta hora y yo estoy un poco triste. "Why not come up here? The light is beautiful at this hour and I am a little sad.
There is a certain inevitable sadness in the life of a much-sought-for, beautiful woman, one like Tina especially, who, not caring sufficiently for associates among her own sex, craves camaraderie and friendship from men as well as sex love.
There is one entry that mentions a very young and beautiful "starlet" called Dolores del Río. But my favourite is one that sunk in with all its loveliness of a father's affection for his sons, in this case Neil:
March 3. It so happened, Neil, that last night I dreamed of you. I held you on my lap, kissed your broad forehead, and you cuddled close, and asked for stories. We talked long together, of fierce fanged Aztec Gods, of white rabbits in clover fields - and we recalled days of long ago. How it used to be at bed time you would climb upon my back for a good night ride out under the tall black trees, waving farewell to Lady Moon, listening to the little pines whisper, or maybe, picking loquat blossoms fragrant in the night fog. Now you are there[California] and I am here, and perhaps you are so big a boy I could no longer ride you so. Well it came to pass that in my dream your dreamed too...All quiet now, only a distant mocking. I watched your sleeping face, as I looked down upon you, you became not only Neil, but the symbol for all in life of tender hopefulness. They will flout you, insult you, lynch you, but I will protect you, for I have masks that you shall wear, a horned and grinning devil, a sharp beaked bird, a ram in solemn mummery. I have them, I shall keep them for that hour when it must be you shall need them to hide behind and keep inviolate, untouched, the spark within which is yourself. They shall be my only legacy to you, carboard, painted masks, thicker than your thin skin...
|Yuliya Kam'yanska in my studio|
As I read and re read Weston's diary and look at the icy cyan sky of the North Shore mountains I remember that I have a warm studio on Robson Street. It is either cold or very hot. There is no in between with that steam radiator. And I have my photographic assignations with some beautiful women who consent to my photography with no fixed purpose except to take pictures, to explore what they are and or what I think they are. I happily send them (after all this is the 21st century) digital contact sheets (of negatives scanned) and print up photographs that smell of fixer which almost smells of Mexico City earth.
I sometimes question my obsession
with the undraped female
form. Since I am unable to explain it all in brief here I decided to look for an answer in my copy of The Photographic Nudes of Erwin Blumenfeld.
The book has Berlin-born Blumenfeld's exquisite and classy (tame by today's standards) and it is nicely written by his son Yorick. Of his father he writes:
Women were the truest of his many obsessions and photography was one way of capturing them, of possessing them. The art historian Joachim Gasquet has described how Cézanne symbolically seduced his nudes in his great canvases, stroking them with 'great coloured caresses'. Gasquet wrote: "Nude flesh made him giddy, he wanted to leap at his models; as soon as they came in he wanted to throw them, half undressed, onto a matress...He had found another wasy to adore those nudes...he bedded them in his paintings, tussled with them." To Gasquet's conjectures about Cézzane, I can only add my own about my father. I don't think that his sublimations were all that different, except that he used the intermediary of the lens instead of the brush. Certainly he placed all kinds of separating elements between himself and his models: veils, grids, glass plates, silks muslin sheets...all used effectively to increase distance, to introduce the element of mystery, to heighten the allure of eroticism.
Yorick Blumenfeld has something interesting to say about Edward Weston:
Whatever desires may have been aroused by taking nude pictures were according to Blummenfeld 'sublimated by the lens.' Unlike other contemporary photographers, such as Edward Weston, he rarely focused his camera on the women he loved. He never used his wife, for example, as a nude model.
Of late I have been processing Agfa 400 ISO film after having exposed it to my studio's
window lighting and getting blotchy negatives. I have been using the "wrong" developer to get results (the pictures look like they were taken in the 1920s) that Weston would have gone crazy to eliminate or correct. I have revelled in the use of this window lighting that I have so ignored in my years with my American-made, efficient and ever consistent Dynalites. Above you see pictures of two of my former studio muses, both photographed with window lighting. The first is Ona Grauer
and the second is Yuliya Kam'yanska who really has the presence of the passionate Latin
even though she is from Ukraine.
I have a new subject, Jo-Ann (left) who has indicated she will brave the outdoor metal stairs that hug the wall to my studio roof. It is not a Mexican azotea
. But come the warm days of summer, it just might do!
¡Hay tiempo! There is time!
Edward Weston's Azotea revisited
Thursday, March 20, 2008
I photographed modern dancer Alvin Erasga Tolentino many years ago and he was but the background to a photograph of Grant Strate and Kathryn Ricketts here
. But I finally got to photograph this talented dancer all by himself last Sunday for the Georgia Straight. I have a particular kinship to Tolentino because of his Filipino heritage which is something I share. My mother was born in Manila. I am familiar with the language, the food, the customs and I have long enjoyed watching Filipino folkloric dancers.
It has been exciting to watch those Filipino skills shine in modern dance. Tolentino has a particular talent of ending most dance either in a skirt or with nothing on! I had all the intention of getting him to take it all off and using light and shadow to hide the parts so that my photograph would meet the decency standards of the Straight. But Tolentino gently reminded me that his current work Paradis/Paradise
is dedicated to one of his contributors Larisa Fayad who recently died in an accident in Asia. Something with an Asian connections was to be more appropriate and I agreed.
We took a few Polaroids and soon the picture (10 of them) were in the can. I remembered my grandmother who used to tell me, "There are no more graceful hands than the hands of a Filipino dancer." She was right.
The Ramans Do Everything In Threes - Revisited
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Arthur C. Clarke 1917-2008
The theme of my blog on Friday, May 18, 2007 was precipitated by the near death of my Aunt Fermina in Houston (she subsequently died). It made me think of Arthur C. Clarke and my favourite novel of his Rendezvous With Rama
. For most people he will always be remembered for his 1951 short story The Sentinel
which subsequently led to a four-year collaboration with Stanley Kubrick and the novel and film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
I read everything of Clarke that I could find in the 50s and 60s. I was thrilled at the idea of space and its conquest. But it was the 1973 Rendezvous With Rama
which I read shortly before my mother's death that affected me perhaps more than any other book I have ever read. Below is that May 18, 2008 blog all over again. Reading of Clarke's death today in the newspaper brought to mind a passage in that other favourite novel of his, the 1954 Childhood's End
:...The ship was leaving the frontiers of the Solar System: the energies that powered the Stardrive were ebbing fast, but they had done their work.
Karellen raised his hand, and the picture changed once more. A single brilliant star glowed in the centre of the screen: no-one could have told, from this distance, that the Sun had ever possessed planets or that one of them had now been lost. For a long time Karellen stared back across that swiftly widening gulf, while many memories raced through his vast and labyrinthine mind. In silent farewell, he saluted the men he had known, whether they had hindered or helped him in his purpose.
No-one dared disturb him or interrupt his thoughts: and presently he turned his back upon the dwindling Sun.
Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood's End
The Ramans Do Everything In Threes
My Tía Fermina
95, lies very sick in a Houston hospital. She has a degenerated mitral valve in her heart that has precipitated a double pneumonia. She is too old for an operation and the medication to control the failed valve is not working. Her family called in the priest who gave her Communion and Extreme Unction. He jokingly told her that if she waited for another five years the statute of limitations on the sacrament (not true!) would enable him to return and give her the holy oils again. This seemed to perk her up and while she had had a doughnut for breakfast yesterday morning by lunch time she was demanding food from her favourite Vietnamese restaurant. Food with my aunt has always been the indicator of her health. It was on Wednesday that one of her daughters, Chayo had written to me, "Unfortunately since Thursday of last week she started sleeping a lot and not eating, not even chocolates!!!!"
I was able to talk to her yesterday. She was deaf so our conversation was one-sided. She floored me when she told me that we were in her prayers specially now.
It made me think of my mother who was nickanamed Sarah Bernhardt because she over-acted her health troubles. We thought she was hypochondriac. But in the late 50s she was diagnosed with Meniere's (I believe it is still incurable) which attacks the inner ears. It begins with loud buzzing sounds that destroy the body's balance mechanism so that one is constantly dizzy with with an ever present nausea. And you become deaf in spite, and because, of the loud ringing in the ears. By the late 60s my mother was in despair and she confessed to me that she was losing her faith in a God that interceded in human affairs. He was aloof and thus prayer had no value. I was hard-pressed to convince her that she was wrong.
The reason is that my loss of faith had been precipitated by Arthur C. Clarke's science fiction novel, A Rendezvous With Rama
. A huge craft is detected approaching the solar system.
It parks outside and then approaches the Sun. Earthlings investigate the craft but find nothing of the would be pilots. They find out that the craft, on its way to somewhere else, has "gassed up" with hydrogen from our sun. We humans are no more important than a gnat. The novel left me with a feeling that may have been the same one felt by Europeans when Copernicus revealed to his world that the earth was not the centre of the universe and that the sun did not orbit the earth but the other way around. My mother showed no surprise when I told her of the book.
In the early 70s I had Rendezvous With Rama
bound together with that other favourite Clarke novel Childhood's End
. The French book binder Millioud had a shop in Mexico City and his work was legendary. He never scoffed at the idea of binding my cheap pocket books. When he returned this book he told me it was his interpretaion of Clarke's novel. It did not register on me at all and I just mentioned how lovely the cover was. It was only this morning that I caught on. Millioud must have at least read the last few sentences of Rendezvous:
And on far-off Earth, Dr. Carlisle Perera had as yet told no one of how he had wakened from a restless sleep with the message from his subconscious echoing in his brain:The Ramans do everything in threes.
Tía Fermina is better today and her daughter Carmencita is now worrying of the problem of finding an extended care facility for her. I warrant that the priest will not be called for another five years.
Here is Tia Fermina with Rebecca. I took this photograph last year when we visited her in Houston on our way back from Morelia. I think we need her to keep praying for us.
Paul Grant & Margaret Gallagher - For The Arts At The CBC
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Margaret Gallagher, 41 is a contributor to CBC Radio Ones The Early Edition
and as an arts reporter. Paul Grant, 59, is a CBC national arts reporter and host of the jazz program Hot Air
. If you never have seen them but heard them, you would find their voices pleasant and welcoming (rare in radio today) and that they convey an interest and enthusiasm in what they do (rare, too).
Both ride to work. Gallagher is her 50s Firestone, which she calls The Rocket, and Grant in a $300 custom Chinese-made Bhodisattva ("seeker of enlightenment").
Before I first met Gallagher she told me, "Expect a short Chinese woman with lots of hair." While she denies being a dragon lady, she says, "I like strong women. I once had a catering company called Komodo House. Southeast Asian women are thought to be named dragon ladies after the Komodo dragon."
Grant, like Gallagher, is from that rare species who are Vancouver-born. With his brother and father (who was the Light Keeper) he lived in Point Atkinson in the 60s. "It was like living in a fishbowl. People would climb the cliffs and look into our lives. I can still remember the hurricane of 1962." His brother became an inspector for Agriculture Canada and Grant a producer and agriculture reporter in Prince Edward Island. Grant is not only an expert on potatoes but also on soft pretzels. He sold them from a wagon at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
When Gallagher was 11 she made a pretend hour-long radio show on her Radio Shack tape recorder from her bedroom on Chilliwack Mountain. Gallagher sings classical Indonesian music very well and is a passionate but not very good ice-hockey player. If you were to give Grant a Blindfold Test (as he gives his guests in the 61 year-old Hot Air
program and then asks them to guess the performer) he would hope it would be the saxophonists Ben Webster and Campbell Ryga.
The above can be found as hard copy in the March, 2008 issue of VLM (Vancouver's Lifestyle Magazine). © 2008 VLM/Alex Waterhouse-Hayward
Bach, Bernstein, Dracula & A Goodfellow Persists
Monday, March 17, 2008
How we listen to Bach is a problem more of our own circumstances than of his. We must, for example, learn to accept the instrumental sounds of the eighteenth century: the small orchestra, the high trumpets, the Baroque organ, the harpsichord, the clavichord. Bach (late in his life, to be sure) knew the piano, but it does not follow that we may listen to his keyboard works exclusively on the piano; the special characteristics of the other keyboards are too intrinsically a part of his music. And we must scale down our hearing (our ears have been stretched by too much sound) to hear his music in proper sonic perspective
James Goodfellow, Stereo Review, December 1971
Sometime in the late 70s I read a short story in Penthouse Magazine
in which an LA music honcho producer is able to bring, with the help of a time machine, composer Domenico Scarlatti into the 20th century. The whole idea is that the producer will then feature live concerts with the famous virtuoso harpsichordist and make a killing. To the producer's dismay Scarlatti soon tunes in and drops out from the "classical" scene and adopts the wonders of the Moog synthesizer and branches into heavy metal and forms a band.
While I never cut out the story and I have not been able to find it since, I did keep an article on Bach from the December 1971 Stereo Review Magazine
. The writer of the fine article is the oddly named James Goodfriend, a musicologist of note at the time who has been almost swallowed into anonymity, courtesy of the Google algorithms which do not have much stuff "up" to find. It is as if the man never existed. The essay included the interesting woodcut by Jacques Hnizdovsky that you see here. Goodfriend was my first help in appreciating composers that seemed remote and difficult.
By 1970 I was convinced that Johann Sebastian Bach was God. My mother had convinced me of this. There must have been few opportunities for my mother to listen to Bach's music being played live. Her exposure to Bach came from being taught to play the piano as a small girl. Until a few weeks before she died she would sit at the piano to play Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms. Her opinion of Bach's genius must have come from her ability to read his music.
I don't seriously play any instrument. I abandoned the alto saxophone after I left high school. My ability to read music has faded away. But unlike my mother I have gone to many live concerts featuring Bach music and I have heard countless records and CDs and concerts on the radio. I would believe that I have heard more of Bach's works than my mother. This has helped me not dampen my enthusiasm for the man and his music. I have been attempting to transfer it to my granddaughter Rebecca.
Rebecca and I have listened to many many baroque concerts and I have made the mistake of thinking she knew a bit about Bach from simply going to them. I was entirely wrong. But it was not all a lost case. Recently I took her to the Vancouver East Cultural Centre to see the Satchmo Suite
which features a cellist playing Bach's first suite for unaccompanied cello. A day before we went I played a Casals recording of the work. She was familiar with it when it was played live at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre performance.
A couple of weeks ago we watched a lively VHS film featuring a little boy and Handel set in Dublin. It is called Handel's Last Chance
. The film was so popular not only with Rebecca but with her mother Hilary and my Rosemary. We sat this Saturday evening to watch which is part of the Bach's Fight for Freedom
part of a DVD series involving composers Composers' Specials
distributed by Sony.
Ted Dykstra plays Johann Sebastian Bach, working at the court of Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Sachsen-Weimer. Before we even see Bach he is painted as a terrible monster and we were all ready for it. We were pleasantly surprised when Dykstra appears. He is young and handsome (and does not wear that wig all the time!) and soon not only charms the little boy who helps him escape the Duke's clutches but also charmed us.
As soon as the film finished Rebecca asked me, "Do you have any of his music?" I immediately put on one of the featured pieces from the film, Bach's Toccata & Fugue in d-minor for the organ. Rebecca was impressed and asked me, "Would Dracula have played that?" She then asked, "He was the composer who wrote those cello pieces we heard at the Cultch?"
I now know more than ever how important association can be to learning and appreciating music. The film helped Rebecca connect the Satchmo Suite, Bach, Pablo Casals and the next time she accompanies me to a concert she will know a bit about the composer.
And both of us, thanks to Bach's Fight For Freedom
will see the composer who loved life, loved his family (a picnic scene helped us understand this) with new eyes. The wood cut and the other pictures circulating of Bach don't help us appreciate him. But it is all not fun and games. Leonard Bernstein in my little music bible The Joy Of Music
writes of Bach:
...For Bach, all music was religion; writing it was an act of faith; and performing it was an act of worship. Every note was dedicated to God and to nothing else. And this was true of all his music, no matter how secular its purpose. The six Brandenburg Concertos for orchestra were technically dedicated to the Margrave of Brandenburg, but the notes praised God, not the Margrave. Every last cello suite or violin sonata, every prelude and fugue from The Well Tempered Clavier praises God.
This is the spine of Bach's work: simple faith. Otherwise, how could he have ever turned out all that glorious stuff to order, meeting deadlines, and carrying on so many simultaneous activities? He played the organ, directed the choir, taught school, instructed his army of children, attended board meetings, kept his eye ot for better-paying jobs. Bach was a man, after all, not a god; but he was a man of God, and his godliness informs his music from first to last.
My mother would have agreed with the above even if I would have not considering that I thought Bach was God! For those who may be reading this I would suggest sampling Bach in an intimate surrounding - a church. The following all-Bach concert will be performed this April 11 at St Jude Catholic church on Renfrew. A couple of the performers are Paul Luchkow and Michael Jarvis
. And there is Glenys Webster
and Nan Mackie
For many years even though the first ever version of the Brandenburg Concertos that I ever heard were some early long playing recordings by the Dutch Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
, my favourite has been a 60s recording, Pablo Casals - Marlboro Festival Orchestra - Bach Brandenburg Concertos.
This recording directed by Casals is lively and spirited and it has a version of the No 2 Brandenburg played in quick time (the trumpet player must have clamoured for oxygen) as if there were no tomorrow. But the No 5 in D Major
which features the flute, violin and keyboard is played, (alas!) with a piano. To be able to listen to Michael Jarvis on his harpsichord with a small orchestra in a church should be sublime.
Lauren & Papi Remembers Andrew's Cat
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Yesterday was a fine day with our granddaughters. Rebecca and I went to the Arts Club Theatre on Granville Island to see the play Derwent is Different.
We both ate too many donuts and felt funny afterwards. But it was a specially good day with Lauren. Before we all went for a walk in VanDusen I read to her and we wrote some numbers. I taught Lauren to start her fives with the straight vertical line and then go to the almost closed circle and then to finish with the horizontal line. I had to explain to Rebecca that this is the efficient way as you are ready to go writing on the right hand side of the number.
Lauren surprised me with a fine drawing of a cat. She brought the original and I was hit by nostalgia. The plush cat was a gift to Lauren's aunt, my daughter Ale, when she was around 5 which happens to be the same age as Lauren. Ale got the cat from her godfather, Yorkshire man, Andrew Taylor.
We have managed to stay in touch with Andrew and his wife Ilse since we left Mexico in 1975. In 2005 we saw them in Guanajuato, Mexico with Rebecca. In 2006 we visited Paricutin volcano in Michoacán. You can see Andrew here in what was left of the church after the birth and eruption of the volcano in the 40s.
Perhaps we can all (with Lauren) visit the Taylors who live in Guadalajara soon. Ilse Taylor is an accomplished painter. Will she give Lauren, and Rebecca some lessons?