Mexican life

Dream from half a century ago

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Didn’t envision this half a century ago, but here I am.

WHEN I WAS 22 years old, married to the first of three wives, I drew plans for a Mexican-style home I would have liked to have built. I was broke, of course, so there was no way to do it. I thought maybe with cinder blocks it would be possible.

Cinder blocks?

The plans reflected my thoughts of a single-story hacienda (small h, not big H) that was completely enclosed with an open courtyard in the middle.

Nobody in my family had ever lived or aspired to live in Mexico, so where did this architectural dream come from? I didn’t think of living in Mexico either. I simply liked the idea of that type of house. I wanted it there in New Orleans.

I was a serial renter, not buying a home until I was 42 years old, and I bought it in Houston, Texas, not New Orleans. The house was not Spanish-style. It was a Texas ranch house of medium size, not a ranch house on a ranch, of course. Ranch house is a style: single-story, low roof, yard out front and back.

My second ex-wife lives there today, more than three decades later.

But I am living in a Hacienda with a big H. And, like the one I designed half a century ago, I designed this one too. I used graph paper. My child bride assisted with her civil engineering skills, but the design is 95 percent mine.

Perhaps the design would have more closely copied my ideas of 50 years ago except for one thing: I wanted a mountain view, and for that I needed a second story due to the brick wall that surrounds our property, Mexican-style.

So here I am. In the circle of life. What goes around comes around. If you manage to live long enough, stuff happens. And so on.

Maybe I should have been an architect.

* * * *

Color and current events

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With luck, we’ll start burying utility cables soon, but it’s still pretty.

My child bride is abandoning me today, heading to Querétaro by bus for a belated Baptism and 4th birthday party for a niece named Sophie. I’ll be batching it here until Sunday evening. It will be lonely but quiet.

For years I tried to participate in these sorts of family activities, but I’ve given up. I’m not cut out for endless chitchat and peals of hysterical laughter.

Thursday afternoon I was taking a leisurely stroll alone down a back street of downtown, thinking of the above, when I noticed the scene in the photo. I had my camera. Our mountaintop town is changing rapidly.

I do not believe most, or even any, of those houses up there existed when I moved here over 17 years ago. And the city recently began a major renovation of streets and sidewalks around the main plaza. It will take months, if not years, to finish but we will be so pretty when it’s completed. The downside is that it likely will attract more Gringos.

I prefer they stay put in San Miguel de Allende, being all artsy-like.

15 thoughts on “Dream from half a century ago

  1. I so understand your vision of years ago. I too wanted an enclosed home. I could see it in my head (never put it on paper) and dreamed about it. Driving to work one day I saw a realtor putting a sign out in front of an enclosed home. I bought it then and there!! It was my dream home in Scottsdale. Pool, walls, rubber tree, bougainvillea, French doors, it had everything. I now also live in a walled-in home in the country with a garden that I have always wanted. It is as close to an Eden I will ever receive, and I too never gave up on my dreams. Thanks for the reminder that they can happen with some help.

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    1. Peggy: I’m guessing that this Spanish style is not rare in Arizona. You’d be hard-pressed to find it in Indiana, I imagine. As for enclosed homes in Mexico, it’s not only a style but, unfortunately, a necessity.

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  2. Goes around and around and comes around.

    You will assume your short bachelor status graciously and well. Carry on, sir.

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  3. Hacienda-style homes can be found in the French Quarter (should have a Spanish name) since the Spaniards stamped their architectural style in parts of New Orleans. When I was in hellacious Nicaragua recently, I liked the offices of the missions organization that I was visiting. It was, indeed, built as a hacienda with the courtyard in the middle. With a fan, the tropical heat of Managua was almost bearable. Have fun with the batching and the camera.

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    1. YaYa Girl: Based on much of the French Quarter’s architecture, Spanish Quarter would indeed be a more fitting name. As for having fun with the batching and the camera, I’ll have more fun with the camera than with the batching, which I’m not very fond of.

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  4. All that “leave it all behind and come to Mexico” talk may end-up ruining your mountaintop.

    First a little downtown renovation. Next thing you know Costco is just down the street…

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    1. Ray: The come-to-Mexico hubbub does not originate with me, lord knows. Well, with some rare exceptions. (I make an exception for you and the Redhead though I know full well that will never happen.) Other Gringos promote that, and I want them to stop it right this minute.

      As for having a Costco here on the mountaintop, I am all aboard with that idea. Mexicans love Costco and Walmart and Sam’s Club, etc., etc., etc. We’re not dummies.

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  5. My next house is going to be a complex of detached pods for bedrooms, each with its own ensuite and closet. The pods would be connected from the outside by covered walkways all leading to a central structure with the common areas, i.e. family room, kitchen, laundry facilities and a garage with workshop. The arrangement is to accommodate company who visit for overnight stays. Maximum privacy for everyone.

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  6. This is kinda strange. We may have been separated at birth, up to a point.
    In Chicago we also had Mexican dreams and the interior of our house had all sorts of Mexican arts and crafts that we had collected, along with books about Mexican architecture and interiors. When we moved to San Miguel we grew tired of all the Mexican architectural cliches, particularly those adopted and interpreted by foreigners. So we built a house in the country that is visibly Mexican—adobe construction, vigas, clay roof tiles, etc., but also distinctly modern and, I hope, different in a good way.

    We both quit drinking after nearly screwing up our lives. I haven’t had three wives but have lived through more than enough ill-conceived side relationships kept afloat by alcohol. Glad I survived.

    And ever since I was a little kid I had a dream of architecture too that had to be abandoned because I have no knack for numbers and designing anything is 80 percent math. Like you, I guess I’m a man of Letters rather than numbers.

    So other except for your troglodytic politics and baffling affection for our mentally ill leader, maybe we could enjoy several glasses of lemonade or ice tea and shoot the shit for a while.

    alfredo

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    1. PS: Just keep in mind that the witty, well-spoken, sometimes hilarious, entertaining fellow you encounter online bears scant resemblance to me in the flesh. I am not making this up.

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    2. One more thing. You refer to Trump as “our mentally ill leader.” Our? Not mine. Though I like his being in the White House, consider him an immense improvement over what Hillary would have been, he is not mine, not my president. Well, I guess he is, strictly speaking, since I have a U.S. passport, but I have given up on the United States of America. Haven’t been there in nine years, won’t ever set foot there again, and have virtually no connection with the nation. I wish them well. They need it.

      Don’t really feel Mexican either, though I like living here and possess a Mexican passport. In some way, I exist in a sort of strange limbo.

      My president is Peña Nieto. I voted for him too.

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