|George Waterhouse Hayward born in Buenos Aires circa early 1900s
In these early days of January I am being affected by insomnia. It's because as soon as I turn off the lights I begin to think. I cannot stop.
Last night I was about this baby picture of my
father that is in the guest bathroom with other family portraits. While I know my mother was born in 1912, in the family tree she compiled
(in my files), she does not have a date for my father’s birth. While his father and mother were from Manchester he was born in Buenos Aires.
Having been exposed to philosophy at Mexico City College in 1962/63 with Ramón Xirau I do a lot of thinking about time, be it linear or otherwise.
I look at this baby picture and I think, “Father how were you to know that in Buenos Aires in 1966 you would die on Calle Monroe and that you would be taken to the nearby Hospital Pirovano by a police sargeant who emptied your pockets knowing that its contents would have disappeared?”
"Would you know that one day, you and I, would sing on the bed
My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean? Would you
have known, that because of your alcoholism, you would leave our Melián 2770 home in
Coghlan, voluntarily, to live in a pension but that you would often come on weekends
to take me to the movies downtown? Would you have ever known how I looked forward to these visits? I distinctly remember seeing Colt .45 with Randolph Scott with you at a Calle Lavalle movie theatre."
"Would you have known how, to this day, I treasure those trips
on the train to the cavernous downtown Retiro train station? From there we would take the escalators down to the subte that would deposit us at the Lavalle station and all those movie theatres."
"In the great hall you would place a coin in a slot of a large English-made metal locomotive inside a lovely wood and glass case and the wheels would turn and a light would mimic fire underneath on the tracks."
About 5 years I located that locomotive at the museum of the Facultad de Ingeniería. I smiled and remembered you.
"In 1966 travelled to Buenos Aires from Mexico do my military conscription in the Argentine Navy but my real reason was to find you. When my grandmother, my mother and I left for Mexico City in 1953 we never told you we were gone. How you must have suffered."
"I was never smart enough to ever ask you why Julio Cortázar had been your friend. You would offer him you Player's Navy Cut cigarettes. He would tell you that he did not like your English cigarettes and would then tell me, "Alex vé al boliche de la esquina y comprame unos Arizonas (the same brand my mother smoked)."
We chatted on weekends for six months. I remember little about what our conversations were about, but I treasured those visits. One day, Leo Mahjubian, our almost family relative, called me up at my navy office and said, “Alexander, your father kicked the bucket yesterday. He was taken to the hospital by a police sergeant. You have to go to the station to sign some documents."
"I did but I was told that his son had already been there and signed the documents. While my mother had warned me of this, you never told me. And why is it that Enrique looked like you but I don’t? Were you my father? I will never know."
I do think you were my father as I have inherited your talent to write. This is my blog number 5598. I am particularly proud of this one.
"My mother would often tell me that you were her second choice. She would then add that she could not understand why I loved you in spite of your addiction. At age 8, I did not know that my reply would have been, “Mother, you will never understand because you will never be a son or a father.”
"Every time I happen to enter the guest bathroom and I look at your portrait I cannot imagine, nor fathom, that at least 124 years may have passed since you posed for the Lahore Hermanos portrait."
"I cannot comprehend to this day how that photograph of you, is of the man I loved. I can proudly say that you had enough money in
your pocket, when your friend the police sergeant took you to the hospital, to
pay for your funeral. I was a penniless conscript and you helped me even in
death. You had that large sum of money that you had saved by working at a laundry as you were planning to bribe a general to get me out of my conscription and to send me back to my mother in Veracruz."
"George Waterhouse Hayward, perhaps I never did tell you I loved you. I did. And looking at your baby portrait I can write here, “One day I will love that baby when that baby becomes a man and my father.”