Sierra Ventana, Monte Altai & The RocketMonday, September 20, 2010
I picked up Rebecca this morning at 8:10 and drove her to school. The purpose was to give her more time to get ready for today’s school picture. It seems that 13-year-olds have to get up early to wash their hair and apply their makeup.
When I was 13 I was going to El Colegio Americano in Tacubaya which was an old working-class area of Mexico City. At the time we were living in the spiffy Lomas de Chapultepec. The school had a bright orange bus that picked us up. Riding this bus was a built-in school of geography. Lomas de Chapultepec had streets named after mountains and mountain ranges. I lived on Sierra Madre. The bus would navigate past Sierra Nevada, Monte Altai, Monte Aconcagua or the strangely named Sierra Ventana. Once we had finished with the mountains and peaks we headed to a woody area that lay in between Las Lomas and Tacubaya. This took us through the old Panteón Dolores with its crumbling moss-covered walls. I could spy the crosses of the larger monuments jutting out past the level of the high wall. I had this curiosity and strange attraction for the place. I vowed that one day I would explore (I never did) this cemetery where many of Mexico’s heroes (Pancho Villa is officially supposed to be buried here), writers and poets lie. I believe that it was on this bus that I first realized that one day I would face an inevitable death. It was spooky and exhilarating at the same time.
I picked up Rebecca. As she left her house she headed in the wrong direction. She is still not used to the fact that metallic beige Sophie has been replaced by the silver (and temporarily until Rosemary finds a name) The Rocket. “Why don’t we call her The Rocket?” “Rebecca we have to wait for Rosemary to warm up to her. She will know what to call her.”
When we arrived at her school, Rebecca posed with The Rocket and I remembered how much more interesting my trips to school were. But then I did not have my grandfather driving me. No mountains, no cemetery, perhaps something else will be embedded in her memory.