The doctor

Morning light
Click on the photo.

I‘ve had three fathers-in-law. They came with my three wives, of course.

The first father-in-law was a serious alcoholic who reformed himself late in life. The second was a schizophrenic who calmed himself late in life with lithium.

I actually knew those two guys. I did not know my third father-in-law, however, because he died long before I crossed the Rio Bravo.

He was neither alcoholic nor insane. He was a family physician and surgeon who toiled in a small Mexican town. Occasionally, he accepted goods instead of cash from patients who often were poor. Chickens or eggs.

He never turned anyone away because they could not pay.

Speaking of poor, that’s how he started life, very poor. But with the help of a better-off relative, he made it through medical school.

He married, and had five children. Alas, the fifth baby killed Mama. She died in childbirth at just 31. Her husband was the attending physician, as he was with all his kids, both before and after.

Left with five kids, including the newborn, the doctor married again rather quickly. He had little choice. The kids needed a mother, and he had to make a living due to having so many mouths to fill.

He and his second wife had five more kids. Or was it six? I lose count. To my mind, the ongoing baby factory was absurd, and he should have known better. You can’t blame Catholicism. The doctor loathed the church.

A heart attack killed him at 61. Probably in the sack.

I’ve mentioned much of this before, but as I passed through the living room this morning, there was sunlight on his photo. It was a sign.

6 thoughts on “The doctor”

  1. I‘ve also had three fathers-in-law. They came with my three wives as well. My first one was an Irishman married to a Sicilian from Brooklyn, who was a functional psychotic. Her family threw knives at each other. He was a former TV repairman, who worked for the State of Florida in the consumer fraud division. He was the only father-in-law I ever met.

    My second father-in-law was a Chinese/Filipino smuggler, gunrunner and politician who died in prison when my wife was 9 years old. My wife was devastated because she was the apple of her father’s eyes. Her mother was a half-Spanish and half-Filipina school teacher. My second wife died of cancer at 41.

    My third one was a Filipino who bugged out when my wife was a baby, leaving four kids and a bad marriage. That probably explains why she really doesn’t like men.


    1. Andres: My, that is quite a lineup. Makes my list look like a bunch of upstanding citizens.

      One line jumps out at me. “My second wife died of cancer at 41.” That saddens me, and I send sincere condolences.

      Actually, two lines jump out at me. That last about your third wife not liking men. My second spouse had precisely that problem. Didn’t become clear to me till we had parted company and a little thinking distance was possible.


  2. As with the rest of your house, nice grouping on the desk. Your father-in-law was muy guapo. Do you ever dust off the typewriter for nostalgia sake? It was your tool-of-trade for many years, I’m sure. I had a more difficult time adjusting from manual to electric typewriter than I did from typing to “keyboarding.” In your career, think of the countless hours you would have saved had you had cut and paste correction capabilities instead of whiteout or correction tape. Still something romantic about the old Underwoods and Remingtons, however. Especially the sound.


    1. Larry: That typewriter, a 1923 Royal, belonged to my grandfather, then my father, and now me. I typed my Mexican citizenship application on it, but now it just sits as piece of the past, a decoration.

      Around 1997, when I lived in Houston, I shipped it to a restorer in New York City, and it works pretty good. It had slipped into a very bad condition before I did that.


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