Diccionario de la Real Academia Española
Del lat. materia.
1. f. Realidad espacial y perceptible por los sentidos de la que están hechas las cosas que nos rodean y que, con la energía, constituye el mundo físico.
The above translates to: A spacial and perceptible reality of our senses of what things are made of and that surround us, with an energy, that makes up the physical world.
I remember being a little boy around 5 taking a tub bath and playing in it with a very small little toy of a little person. Somehow I forgot about it so when the tub was draining it went down the drain. I cried and I believe that this is the first time I was aware of the material objects that surrounded me and how valuable and necessary they were to my happiness.
Now at age 79 I am surround by a lot of material possessions. Most are beautiful and all have pleasant memories behind them. Sometimes these memories are not so pleasant when they connect me to my now departed Rosemary.
It was for a about five minutes while at a Catholic boarding school in Austin Texas when we were queried if we might not have a vocation to join the holy orders, that I thought about the benefits. One of them was being able to pack a small suitcase in a short time period with all my possessions obeying an order to go to a mission in Africa.
For the last five years I have been walking nicely with my plastic/rubber Natives shoes. My very expensive leather shoes are gathering dust in the closet. Will I ever wear any of them? Perhaps my lovely black leather brogue shoes which I bought in Sears Robebuck de Mexico in 1971 (they are in perfect condition) I would wear if my daughters plan an open coffin funeral for their father.
What you see here are some of the objects on my living room mantle. These have no connection with Rosemary so they are happy pieces. In the second scan that I will also place here the two objects do remind me of my Rosemary.
Of these objects the most valuable is my father’s Argentine mate (in Argentine Spanish we call the mate tea, yerba and the gourd for drinking it in the shared company with others a mate). I believe my father purchased it around 1940. When possible I drink from it but because the custom is one of sharing the only person who drinks with me is my granddaughter Rebecca. She is now in other pastures and her mate drinking partner is all but forgotten and even with what BC Tel used to call the “long distance feeling”. That makes me sad but I have happily used it in my Argentine nostalgia photographs like this one in link below.
My mentor and friend Juan Manuel Sánchez drinking a mate
The copper heart-shaped ashtray was my mother's who smoked an Argentine brand called Arizonas. She shared this brand and habit with Julio Cortázar a friend of my father’s who would send me to purchase a packet because he did not like my father’s English cigarettes. The ashtray is from neighbouring Chile which has huge deposits of copper. The feline cart de visite statue was given to me by Beth, a student from Dubuque, Iowa I had in the 70s in Mexico City. The third object, a hard wood oriental statuette of a one-armed woman, was given to me by my friend Nora Patrich as she knew I had a favourite one-armed model friend called Pam. Look here.
Of the second objects, the Aztec reproduction of an Aztec god reminds me not only of my life in Mexico with my mother and grandmother but also of Rosemary who I met in 1967 in Mexico City. The jaguar is called a balam in Mayan. Rosemary and I spent three very pleasant holidays in Mérida staying in the Casa del Balam in the city.
If all these objects would disappear I might just cry for the loss of my father’s mate.