Green No More - White It Is
Saturday, January 13, 2024
|Leslie & Magnolia x soulangeana - 6 June 1995
“Too old to be content
with play, too young to be untroubled by desire.” Faust – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Demasiado viejo para contentarme con juegos,
demasiado joven para que no me pertubre el deseo.” Fausto - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Viejo verde llaman al que mantiene o ejecuta
algunos modelos y acciones de joven, impropios a su edad. Diccionario de autoridades –
A green man is one
who does models or actions of a young person, improper for his age.
A viejo verde is Spanish for a dirty old man. I could never
title this blog in English as such as the Blogger or social media police would flag it as
not following their community standards.
My adventure into the topic all began when I was in kindergarten
in Buenos Aires where I would lift up the skirt of one of the three girls
(there were two boys) of the Diligenti quintuplets. Obviously in this century I
would have been locked away.
I must have been around 10 when an adventurous American girl
my age asked me, “Do you want to see it?”
It was around 1960 when I was an alto saxophone player in
the St.Ed’s High School band in Austin that my interest in white underwear
progressed. We played in the school football games. Right by us were the
cheerleaders. Our school was a boy’s school so the girls in the squad came from
the Roman Catholic school St. Mary’s from the other side of Austin. I was madly
attracted to a very short Mexican/American called Judy Reyes. I was keen and
alert to be able to see when she would jump and show off her underwear.
The closest I ever got in my relationship to her was to take
her a couple of times to the movies and to meet her parents. About 10 years ago
I located her in San Antonio where at the time she had a store that sold (yes!)
cheerleading equipment. My guess is that by then the girls would
(unfortunately) wear multi-coloured underwear.
Now at my overripe age of 81 I feel I may be too old to be a
genuine viejo verde. I feel that I am going back to the roots of my youth. In
1995 I photographed the always willing to pose for me Salem in my studio. I
told her that in high school we boys would discuss a fictitious occurrence that
none of us ever tried. This was to slip a little mirror into the slot where you
would put a penny in a penny loafer. You would then walk up to a girl and get
close and then look down. We imagined that this would have placed us in an
un-Roman Catholic heaven.
Looking at these negative scans of Salem which in this 21st
century would be deemed as tame, I glory at the fact that although I am 81, I feel
that I am a young and innocent young boy seeing it for the first time.
Friday, January 12, 2024
|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
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
"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.
The Ritual of the French Press
"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.”
Untransubstantiation & Charlie Parker's Confirmation
Thursday, January 11, 2024
A few days ago my daughter Alexandra asked me if I don’t
feel the presence of my departed Rosemary. I quickly answered that I do not
believe in ghosts.
I have been reflecting on my quick answer. I believe that my
views on religion and politics are private especially in these divisive times
of the 21st century.
But I do believe that religious doctrines (without opining
on believing or following them) can offer intelligent exercises in thought.
Because I went to a Roman Catholic boarding school in
Austin, Texas in the late 50s I received a very good education on what exactly Roman
Catholic doctrine is all about.
Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C., my friend and mentor, taught us
religion without us being aware that his focus was on theology and he brought
Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas and St, Augustine into his class mix.
As an example he told us that the least understood of the
seven sacraments was the one that usually follows baptism and is called
Confirmation. It is too bad that this sacrament goes to young children as it
makes the receiver a defender of the faith which we must know was one of the
titles of the English King James of King James Bible fame.
This sacrament makes the person able to explain their faith
to anybody who might ask. It is not a sword and guns defense.
In my reflection last night of my quick answer to Alexandra
I came up with an idea that is based on my knowledge of Roman Catholic
doctrine. This is transubstantiation in which believers, upon taking a bread
wafer during Mass at Communion, understand and believe that the bread has
converted into the body of Christ.
I like this word. I was thinking of what happens if I go in
reverse? What if I go from body to an opposite direction? What if I go from the
real, live body of Rosemary and untransubstanciate? Do I arrive at some
spirit? Is this why I feel her absent presence on her side of the bed or when I
walk around the block with Niño using Rosemary’s route?
Is untransubstantiation and method of believing in the
existence of spirits?
Of interest to anybody who may have read up to here there
is a not too well-known jazz standard called Confirmation by Charlie Parker. My
friend, Vancouver saxophonist Gavin Walker explained to me that in his youth
Parker sang in a Roman Catholic church choir and indeed the title of the song
is about that almost forgotten second sacrament.
Not Quite Yet
Wednesday, January 10, 2024
For a long while I find myself beginning my blogs with – At my
advanced age of 81…
I cannot seem to stop as my age is a constant in my mind.
I have written, if I include this one, 5995 blogs since 2006.
It is ancillary to my web-page. I began both in January of 2006. Because my blog
is a Google Blogger it works with a powerful search engine. If you put Simone
Orlando, Alex Waterhouse-Hayward into Google you will get at least for blogs
where I mention the former dancer from Ballet BC who is now the Artistic
Director of Ballet Kelowna.
Such is the presence of my blog that I get at least one
email a week asking about a photograph that I have taken and offering me good
money to get permission to use it. The latest is that I am being paid $300
American for a portrait I took of Norval Morriseau. The photograph will appear
in the February issue of the Smithsonian Magazine.
Today I was asked by Ballet Kelowna for a photograph of
Simone Orlando with Jocelyn Morlock. I answered back that the photo they had
seen in a blog with five persons is the only one I have. I thought about it and
scanned two individual photos and brought them together with Photoshop. But it
will be obvious that the photograph is not of them together in fact. I like to
be honest about these things.
As I went into Simone Orlando’s file in my oficina I was
pleasantly surprised by a portrait of Orlando with my granddaughter Rebecca and
her lovely Can Cun purchased sailor dress.
The other supply was a snip from a contact sheet that even
in the darkness of my metal files has gone through a deterioration that I find
striking. I took the photographs of Orlando around 2008 and at that time I was
using Ilford Multigrade paper that processed quickly and ended in a nice shine.
But, and this is important, it was not archival.
Two surprises. And this old man at 81 is not quite yet
obsolete, redundant, retired and inconsequential.
Tuesday, January 09, 2024
|With Niño 2023
|Julio Cortázar & Flanelle
tan solo como este gato, y mucho más solo porque lo sé y él no”.
“I am alone like this cat but more so because I know and
he does not.”
I am not completely sure about Cortázar’s statement
because Niño and his sister Niña are affectionate with each other. They are
obviously aware of their mutual existence. When Rosemary and I brought them
from the Vancouver SPCA about 5 years ago, they had always been together.
My relationship with Niño is especially close. He has
cancer of the intestines and has responded positively to his every-other-day
human cancer pill. The vet has told me that he has at least two more years of
life. Niño is 10 and I am 81. I think, almost every day, which one of us will
depart first. I worry that if I am the one, since both my daughters have cats, I
have no idea who would take care of them.
I also disagree a tad with Cortázar as the company of my
cats does not make me feel completely alone. I take care of them, I feed them and
we spend a lot of time on the bed doing nothing.
|Niña & Niño
Because I no longer have to do anything, I do not feel to
guilty in not doing anything. For the first time in my life I snooze in the afternoon with Niño and Niña (except for our
Mexico City siestas between 1970 and 1975 when Rosemary and I indulged in
siestas where we slept little as we had other ideas.
We are not alone. We are together.