In 1958 while at my boarding school in Austin, Texas I was a member of the Doubleday Book Club. Somehow through them I purchased H.G. Wells’ The Outline of History in two volumes.
In the early 70s I had them bound in leather by a Frenchman in Mexico City called Millioud. Perhaps in the late mid 90s I bought the complete literary output of Wells which is in 6 volumes.
For years I had admired the man until around 1998 I read
all the Father Browns by G.K. Chesterton. While leafing through one of my many
books by Borges I discovered that Borges was a great admirer of Chesterton. Read link below.
I reread Wells’ The Sleeper Wakes and comparing it with the Father Browns I found that Wells had not aged well into the end of this century.
In 1987 Rosemary, our two daughters and I went to France, England and Spain. In London we visited Westminster Abby. I looked for H.G. Wells place on the floor and I remember stepping on it with vigour and I said, “How are you H.G.?”
That moment has come to haunt me these days. When my mother and grandmother died I arranged the funeral arrangements but I did not go to my mother’s burial. My friend Raúl Guerrero reminded me that indeed I had helped carry my grandmother’s coffin at the cemetery even if I have no memory of it.
My father’s burial also has left a blank in my memory. My father died with enough money in his pocket (he was saving it so he could bribe some admiral to get me out of the Argentine Navy and send me back to my mother in Mexico) for his service. But there was not enough for a tomb in perpetuity. After 7 years his grave was unearthed at the Chacarita Cemetery and somebody else was buried there. A nephew of mine visited where my father would have been buried and picked up a stone. He then came to visit me and almost through it at me saying, “This stone perhaps was there with George.”
We know that the Roman Catholic Church did not allow cremation. In medieval times criminals were drawn and quartered or simply dismembered. The idea behind that is that in Christ’s second coming only bodies that were buried in totality would rise up. I do not quite understand this and I believe that the Church does not prohibit cremation now.
When Rosemary died her shrouded body was removed from our house. I saw it leave. I have not forgotten that image of the last corporal awareness that I had of Rosemary.
And now that I know that Rosemary’s ashes are in a container and my daughter Ale takes it out on windy days to her garden so that some of the ashes follow the direction of the wind. Rosemary loved Ale’s big garden and often worked in it when she went for a visit. Ale thinks this is an appropriate gesture.
I may be old-fashioned but I cannot grasp that when I am on our bed I can feel that she is not there. If I were to go to a cemetery, and had she been buried there, could I stomp on her as I did on H.G.?
I don’t know.