|George Waterhouse Hayward - far right - Carabobo Street 1965|
I was in Buenos Aires for Christmas. I belive it proper to place this blog that I am writing today 9 January 2022 in memory of my father.
My mother used to always tell me, “Alex, you will never understand because you will never be a mother.” It was only after she died in the presence of my Rosemary and me in 1972 that a few years later I figured I could have told her, “Mother, you will never understand because you will never be a father.”
My father George Waterhouse Hayward was a flawed man I adored. He was a terrible alcoholic. He left our home voluntarily around 1952 to live in a pension. By then he might have lost his job as a journalist for the Buenos Aires Herald.
It was in those years before he left home that he would disappear. I would ask my mother about his whereabouts. She would answere,"He wrote something about Perón for the Herald that Perón did not like so he is spending a few days at the Villa Devoto prison."
He would come regularly on weekends to take me to the movies. If he arrived drunk (that was the case sometimes) he embarrassed me when I was playing with my friends in our Coghlan garden.
We would take the train from the Coghlan station (named after a British railway engineer) to the cavernous Retiro Station. We would then descend in mechanical stairs to the underground “Subte” and get off at the Lavalle station. From there we had a couple of streets of movie house next to a movie house. After a couple of swashbucklers or Westerns my father would take me for pizza at Las Cuartetas on Calle Corrientes and from there for an ice-cream soda at the Roxy.
|la gomería - the tire shop|
My mother who was a tad cold with affection (“Love is doing, “she would say) could not understand my warm relationship with my father. In spite of everything I adored him.
In 1954 my grandmother, my mother left Perón’s Argentina for Mexico City without telling my father.
In 1965 I returned to Buenos Aires for two reasons. One was my then patriotic idea that I had to serve my country as a conscript in the Argentine Navy and the other was to find my father. Find him I did.
For reasons that escape me I have no memory of our weekend conversations. The only photographs I took of him are here. A gomería is a tire repair shop and the car, a Morris Oxford was put together in Argentina as a Siam Di Tella. His friend the policeman will have a bearing to this account.
Sometime in 1966 my not quite uncle Leo Mahdjubian (an Armenian who was in the famous Black Watch during WW-II) called me up at my navy office and said exactly in these words, “Alexander, your father kicked the bucket yesterday on the street. He was taken by a policeman to the Pirovano Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. Because of the police intervention you will have to go to the police station to sign documents.”
I did and to my shock at the police desk I was told, “This is irregular as the dead man’s son was here a few hours ago to sign the documents.” It was then that my mother’s account that I had a half-brother was confirmed.
The next day I received a phone call from the policeman (the one in the photo) who told me, “I was your father’s friend. I took him to the hospital and emptied his pockets as their contents would have disappeared inside the facility. Your father was working at a laundry making money to bribe a general so that you could be sent back to Vercruz, Mexico where your mother lives. There was a considerable amount in his pockets.” The policeman and I met for coffee and he gave me the money. With that money my father paid for a modest funeral and was buried for a 7 year limit at the municipal La Chacarita (where Juan Domingo Perón is buried).
I carry fond memories of my father and I believe I may have inherited four of his qualities:
1. He was a good cook and so am I.
2. He was a journalist. I believe I am not a too bad a writer.
3. I inherited the Hayward stomach. If I get sick I only throw up that which made me sick.
4. I don’t gain weight.