Forty Two Years AgoTuesday, February 09, 2010
Yesterday, Monday, Rosemary requested a specific menu for dinner. On Mondays I pick up Rebecca and Lauren at school at three and I bring them home and cook them a quick lunch. We had quesadillas (I use German Swiss cheese) and made my fresh salsa with tomatoes, cilantro, a serrano chile, Maldon salt and a squeeze of half a lemon. At six I pick up Hilary at work and bring her home and have dinner. Yesterday was different.
Rosemary requested a special menu because it was our 42nd wedding anniversary. We have long ago relinquished the habit of buying presents for each other. Having the family with us is the real delight even though Bruce Stewart (Hilary’s husband always works on Monday) could not come and our eldest daughter Ale has teaching responsibilities in Lillooet.
The menu was roast beef (which I begin on the barbecue and I slather the meat with molasses) with roast potatoes, carrots and onions. I make a special gravy using white wine. Rosemary is in charge of the real treat for everybody which is her excellent Yorkshire Pudding. While the pudding is really good with my gravy Rebecca prefers to eat hers with my homemade cranberry sauce!
After dinner, Hilary and I finished seeing Carlos Saura’s Carmen which we had begun last Monday. I can safely say that this film has ruined for me the desire to ever see the opera again as the film is based more on the original story by Mallarmé than Bizet’s opera. Hilary and I have now seen two of Saura’s Flamenco Trilogy. We saw Amor Brujo and we will finish with Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding) next Monday.
I looked through my early photo files to find the pictures of Rosemary with me and with our two girls. The fist picture was taken by my Yorkshire friend, Andrew Taylor at the Nevado de Toluca in the State of Mexico. The mountains in the background are technically not mountains as they are the inside part of the crater of the volcano called Nevado de Toluca. That edge in the background is at 4600 meters. A sinuous dirt road goes up the outer part of the volcano and through a little canyon you are able to drive into the crates where there is a frozen lake called the Lake of the Moon. Some crazy skiers manage to climb the inside of the crater and ski down in a few minutes to then climb back up in what must at least be an hour!
The car was our first car a blue VW beetle. I am wearing an army surplus jacket that I bought in San Francisco in 1967 (this picture is from 1968). I am wearing a red enameled peace symbol. Not seen in the picture is an enormous darned hole in the jacket. It was about the height of my privates. There is no doubt in my mind that the former owner must have had a terrible death or suffered a much diminished manhood. Rosemary’s hair was blonde and straight. To make it straighter she used an iron and placed her hair on an ironing board.
The next picture was a block away from our first house, a little brick house in Arboledas which was on the outskirts of Mexico City. The place of the picture was called the Bebederos as there was a large cement pool where animals from nearby farms or horses drank. The avenue had beautiful eucalypts. I am stiff waiting for the self-timer of my camera to work. That is little Ale perhaps at age 2 so the picture would have been taken in 1970. Rosemary is wearing a beautiful move knit dress that I had bought for her at el Puerto de Liverpool ( a spiffy department store similar to the old Eaton’s). Ale looks to be 2 so the year would be 1970. She is wearing a little dress that my mother had crocheted for her.
In the next picture, also taken at the Bebederos Hilary is 1. I am wearing a metal belt that was in segments linked by black leather. I still have it but, of course it doesn’t fit me.
The last picture is of our little house. I have no memory of the roses. My mother was living with us at the time and she would have hired a gardener to plant them.
We had a pleasant dinner last night. I took the children and my daughter home. On the way I put on Piazzolla’s Buenos Aires- Hora Cero. Rebecca called it psychedelic. It made me extremely nostalgic for my past. I only lived in Argentina for 11 years and then three more in my 20s. But I felt most Argentine and most Latin. The cold damp of Vancouver left me with melancholy and I again had that feeling of not belonging here. It is my wife and my children that keep put in this gray, green, blue land where the water is always cold.
I will never be able to explain to Rosemary or anybody else that I feel love for all the former women of my life. There weren’t many but I never broke up with any of them. Circumstances of geography separated us and I thought of the what ifs and what would have been the ramifications of my life had I bifurcated in some other direction. As I look at these pictures I know that the direction I did take was the best of all the possible ones.