|Burnaby - Springer Ave - 1975|
For me New Year’s has always been a bittersweet event. I never did like going out and then to be suddenly embraced by perfect strangers. And I don’t drink.
|Rosemary & Alexandra Elizabeth - New Year's Veracuz 1968|
Rosemary had adopted, since I can remember being together, the idea of eating twelve grapes before the clock struck 12. This was a Spanish custom in my family. This year I did not have the heart to do this in the solitude of my Kits home accompanied by Niño and Niña.
But I can remember at least two most memorable New Year’s. They were our first, ones, one in 1967 and the other in 1968. In the latter our new Alexandra Elizabeth was with us.
Those first two New Year’s we spent in the port city of Veracruz where my mother in her house on Navegantes taught school to the children of the employees of Alcoa Aluminum who had their headquarters in the city.
In that first 1967 New Year’s it was not our first time there. We had been there before, and if I count back, 9 months from Ale’s birthday in August 1968, surely she was engendered in some hot night in Veracruz where I had carefully oiled the hinges of our two separate bedrooms.
New Year’s in Veracruz, with the hospitality of my mother who adored Rosemary, was a pleasure. Rosemary never did adapt to the humid heat of the port city and took various showers during the day. But I remember those evening walks on the Malecón (Spanish for a seaside boulevard) holding hands and smelling that curiously almost pleasant smell of humidity, the sea, bunker oil and fish. All I could do was to stare at Rosemary’s face and think how lucky I was to have that blonde all to myself.
And of course at midnight nothing beats the sounding of the ship’s sirens. Because we lived in the altitude of Mexico City it was startling to wake up on January 1 to the louder noises that happen when at sea level there is more oxygen.
In that 1968 New Year’s Eve when Ale was four month old we might have taken her on her first Veracruz tram ride. She might have sat with us as we sipped the famous jarocho (Mexican Spanish for of or from Veracuz) coffee called a “lechero” at the Parroquia on the Zócalo. This notable corner coffee and restaurant establishment was tiled in white (it almost felt like you were in a bathroom) with large overhead fans. But we opted for the portales outside where the marimbas played and you could hear the clanging of the trams and smell the sweet exhaust of the liquid gas-powered (all made mostly of wood) buses.
Who Will Be First? May 18, 2013
In spite of all those cold Vancouver New Year’s Eves my memory of the evening has always been of humidity and heat and of holding hands.
With the death of Rosemary on December 9 there have been few events since then that have in any way helped me forget that she is not around. But there was one happy incident which I will write about here so I can finish this 2020 in an almost positive note that the next year will bring some needed joy in what is left of my now unshared existence.
I wrote this blog in which I included a lovely Polaroid SX-70 snap that I took of her in 1975 when we had just moved to our house in Burnaby (Springer Ave). As things go I noticed that the photograph was luminously beautiful. But I could not find the original. I asked Ale I Lillooet. I looked into all our family albums and in those files of family photographs that are currently in disarray in our (my) dining room.
I was desparate as the scan that I had was in very low resolution. I looked everywhere. Then I went to a large armoire in our piano room. There was nothing in the drawers. I opened the double doors where there are some Mexican dresses. On the floor there was the Polaroid staring right at me.