|The bed was upstairs - Photograph - Andrew Taylor|
Beds have been in my mind these days because we ( Rosemary and I, plus
the cats Niña and Niño) have been spending a lot of time on our
lovely Stickley bed. Most important is
that Rosemary in our 52 year marriage always wanted a bed with a headboard. We
bought the Stickley four years ago and,
yes, it has a headboard. It was our first one.
Saint Isidore of Seville (570-636) was a bishop and a Doctor of the Church. He wrote just about everything from medicine to a book about the classifications of heaven’s angels. He attempted to catalogue what was then known to man in 20 books called De Los Orígenes (Of Origins) and he wrote the first encyclopedic dictionary. He divided his Of Origins into 20 books each on one category:
1. Grammar 2. Rhetoric and Dialectic 3. Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy 4. Medicine 5. Laws and time 6. the books and laws of the church 7. God, angels and men 8. the church and sects 9. languages, races, kingdoms and the armies 10. words in alphabetical order 11. man and monsters 12. animals 13. the universe and its parts, or cosmology 14. the earth and its divisions or geography 15. cities, fields and roads 16. minerals and metals 17. farmers and gardening 18. war and games 19. ships, buildings and clothing 20. Food and its tools.
For our purposes St. Isidore figures here for two very good reasons. He was the first to coin the word in Spanish cama (bed) from the Latin camba for a narrow bed used for sleeping or, as the Romans so much enjoyed, for eating.
Because it was St. Isidoro (Spanish for Isidore) who was really the first human to attempt to compile all human knowledge, Spanish scholars have declared him to be the patron saint of the internet. I would offer no objection seeing that this man knew about everything and beds, too.
|Rosemary and Ale not far from the Herodoto bed|
By my count Rosemary and I have been connected to 8 beds plus the Stickley.
When we met in the waning months of 1967 I was staying at my friend Raúl Guerrero Montemayor's apartment in the Zona Rosa on Elba Street. It was Raúl who had led me to teach at a language school (I did not know what to do with my life) where I first saw Rosemary.
In the photograph you see here (taken by my Yorkshire-born friend Andrew Taylor) you see a wooden spiral staircase. That staircase led to Raúl’s upper attic room where I slept on a mattress on the floor. It was on that mattress that Rosemary and I got to know each other a little better.
My mother was living in Veracruz. I took Rosemary in my VW to show off my blonde prize. We were given two rooms (I oiled the hinges of both of the bedroom doors). It may have been then, in Veracruz that our firstborn daughter Alexandra Elizabeth may have been engendered.
We finally got married after several attempts where the Mexican authorities found all reasons to deny us the marriage document saying that since I was no Mexican and neither was Rosemary this could not happen. A bottle of good cognac to the judge finally solved the problem.
We moved to a tiny little apartment on Estrasburgo in the Zona Rosa that was no wider than 8 feet. Here by my count we had our fourth bed. From there we moved to Herodoto which was larger as Ale was born. Ale cried a lot and when she did we put her little crib in the bathroom. This was our fifth bed.
With the financial help from my mother we bought a little house in the outskirts of Mexico in Arboledas, Estado de México. We somehow managed to find time for nice siestas. From our bed (we did have a TV in the room) we watched La Odisea del Espacio (Star Trek) which was dubbed into Spanish.
It may have been then that our marriage had some rough spots and Rosemary went to Ottawa to visit her mother. When she came back (what advice did her mother give her?), at the airport she was wearing a dynamite short dress (yellow and orange) that showed her legs to perfection. As soon as we got home and Ale was put to bed I was sexually assaulted (in a very nice and passionate way) by Rosemary. I am sure that this incident marked the 9 month later appearance of Hilary Anne. This was our sixth bed.
The seventh bed was in our first home in Canada in Burnaby BC, on Springer Avenue. All I remember of that bed is that we had to put buckets in a corner because the roof leaked. Our two daughters watched Gilligan’s Island in another room that did no leak. I could not figure out why Captain Kirk appeared in Super Valu TV ads.
The eighth bed was in a very nice room in our grand old corner house (with a huge garden). The bed was very comfortable but we had to rest our heads on openings to two leaded windows. This was not comfortable. The bed became, beginning in 1986, a school-on-a-mattress. Rosemary helped Hilary, then Hilary’s two daughters Rebecca and Lauren with their math. This was the bed where a generation of cats shared it with us.
Now in our little Kits house we sleep on a grand bed with a headboard and we are accompanied by our two orange and white sibling cats, Niño and Niña.
Because of my 78 years, the only fireworks on this bed (certainly not anything like it was on the sixth) I find that I enjoy exquisite pleasure in holding Rosemary’s hand or passing mine on her cool back.