A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Clearing The Deck
Saturday, July 13, 2013





 
Alex & Jorge Wenceslao de Irureta Goyena

 My friend Raúl Guerrero Montemayor who died this January was 87 years old. He was the man I often went for advice. One reason is that he always gave me the advice I wanted. “You want to buy this? You think it is going to make you happy? Then buy it!”

Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. was 85 when he died in March. I had seen him a month before. He was losing his brilliant mind but did give me good advice on how to deal with m 15-year-old granddaughter. Another friend, architect Abraham left my world four years ago. I can no longer chat with him about everything and anything (a talent that architects have).

I have now come to the realization that it is absolutely silly for me to seek the advice and counsel of those older than I am. There are few of those and it is certainly a folly to look at myself into a mirror and say, “Alex what advice do you have for yourself?”

My Yorkshire-born friend Andrew Taylor is going to be 69 this coming month. I called him up on Skype yesterday and told him of my problem. His answer was a most practical one that I had not considered, “Have you attempted to converse with those who are younger than you?”

I called up (also on Skype) my godmother/first cousin Inesita O’Reilly Kuker yesterday, too. I told her I was going to be present at her 90th birthday on October 2 in Buenos Aires. I told her I was in that part of my life where I had a strong urge to tie up loose ends. While Inesita’s English is perfect she had never heard of this expression. The strict translation is, “Atar cabos sueltos” (in which cabos is a nautical term for rope) did not ring a bell so we jointly came up with the term “Despejar el altillo” which translates to “clear or empty the attic.” I like the American via British term to “clear the deck”. Before a battle on a wooden ship-of the-line the decks had to be cleared for action. In the American use when a damaged airplane was to attempt landing on an aircraft carrier the decks had to cleared of any other airplanes and debris.


Inesita O'Reilly Kuker
I explained to Inesita that when I left Buenos Aires after my military service, her son Georgito and his then girlfriend (and now wife) Bebi where at the dock. Bebi a few years ago had a brain clot and she has lost her ability to talk and now occupies a wheelchair. I told Inesita that I had to look at her in the eye and try to sense some recognition. This is part of tying up the loose ends of my life.

Inesita understood and she is looking forward to having tea and sandwiches at La Esmeralda, a confitería not far from her apartment. It is on Juramento and when I was a child my mother would buy my birthday cake there.

Up until now I have not been able to find my first cousin, on my mother’s side, Jorge Wenceslao de Irureta Goyena. He does not answer his phone. But I must see him as the last time was 50 years ago. We used to have passionate arguments in which I favoured the music of Astor Piazzolla and Wency would opine that this was not tango as you could not even dance to it. 

Elizabeth Blew
 I have two other first cousins. One is the very dour Diane who seems to be bitter that she never was able to realize her dream of becoming a ballerina and Elizabeth the once redhead who when I was 20 and I faced her at a corner café I fell madly in love with her.

There is a strong feeling of isolation for me now as I understand that what is left of my life I have to almost embark on my own (Rosemary, lucky for me is with me). And of course we must all understand that this isolation finally is resolved by the inescapable fact that we die alone.

Of my blog and of fading and renewing friendship



     

Previous Posts
That Elmore Leonard Girl

Measure For Measure - A Twofer & Nun Nicer

The Dimpled Kitchen

Lauren In Blue Sequins Smiles

Malibu Noir Revisited

Corazón, My Rapid Heart & Harper's Heart

Rebecca & Lauren, Olivia & Joan

Colleen Hughes - My Helga

Recipes For Memories That Linger In The Heart

If You Forget What You Read I'll Remember The Wor...



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7/10/16 - 7/17/16

7/17/16 - 7/24/16

7/24/16 - 7/31/16

7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17