From the Nazis to Amazon

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IN THE EARLY 1970s, when I was married to my first wife and had a toddler, I bought a VW Bug convertible. It was so much fun! Totally unsafe, but who cared?

Airbags? Nah! Viable seatbelts? Nah! Padded dash? Yeah, right. It was hard steel. But we really enjoyed it, especially with the canvas top flipped down.

One afternoon in a summer rainstorm in New Orleans I was driving alone up Magazine Street (driving up, not down. There’s a difference.) and the puny wipers were doing their best. Janis Joplin was singing Me and Bobby McGee on the radio.

It was the first time I’d heard that song, and I still associate it with the interior of my Bug convertible in a sweltering New Orleans afternoon deluge. I gave the car to my wife after we split up, and she rapidly ran it into the ground. Sad.*

The world’s last Bugs were manufactured only in Mexico over the last few years, but that has come to an end. Sad again. And the only place the final cars will be sold is on Amazon Mexico. You can pay the full ride, or you can fork over 20,000 pesos for a layaway.

That’s about 1,000 U.S. dollars. Layaway is alive and thriving in Mexico.

Now, let me return to that rainy afternoon in New Orleans when I’d only been married once, had a cute little girl named Celeste, and I drove a white Bug convertible.

Imagine the rain.

* My second ex-wife scored even better. I gave her a house! Voluntarily. Or stupidly if you subscribe to my mother’s point of view.

Beds of our lives

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King of the Hacienda.

THEY SAY THAT, as you age, you require less sleep. Oddly, over the past decade, I have morphed from a seven-hour man to an eight-hour man, defying that rule.

I do not know why.

Lights out between 10:30 and 11 p.m., and I usually wake up at 7. This morning I woke up at 7:30, becoming — at least for a day — an eight-and-a-half-hour man. I was refreshed!

Being worry-free helps one sleep, and I have little to worry about. Sleeping with a young, beautiful, Mexican babe puts one at ease. I got it made.

That’s our king bed up top, had it about a decade. It’s the first king bed I’ve ever owned. Grew up on twins, then doubles — called matrimonials in Mexico — and then upgraded to queen on landing down here. Finally, after being married quite a spell, we got the king.

You enjoy lots of space on a king, which you likely know because I suspect most people have kings these days. At least people of the age that hang around my edge of the internet.

In a recent post, Confessions of a Cracker, I briefly mentioned sleeping as a kid at my grandmother’s house near a window where I felt breezes and listened to crickets. The bed on which I slept was an antique, wood, spindle bed, I think they are called.

That was the very bed on which I was sleeping in my Houston home before my second wife tossed me out onto the street unceremoniously. I had inherited that bed.

In my new bachelor digs in a downtown Houston high-rise, I slept on this bed.

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A happy bed for a miserable man.

I may have been miserable during that time but, by God, I slept on a happy bed! I had painted that bed myself due to being a Renaissance Man.

My daughter owns that bed now. Unless she doesn’t.

I renewed bachelor life, involuntarily, in 1995. For a year or two, I was not an eight-hour man. I was lucky to get four or five. I was a Valium man.

A few days ago, the wood, spindle bed came to mind, and I emailed my second ex-wife as to its whereabouts because I had left it there where it stood when I segued from married man to miserable bachelor man. I asked if she still had it.

Her brief reply: Long gone.

Damn! But so was I. Long, long gone.

Photographic memories

I’VE LABORED the last few days switching photos from one internet provider (SlickPic) to another (Flickr). There were over 500 shots, so it took quite a while, especially since I passed some of them through a service that gussied them up.

I reduced the 500+ to 425 but only 248 are visible to the public. You can see them here.

When my second wife kicked me to the curb in 1995, I left behind almost all photos taken during the 19 years I spent with her. And when I moved to Mexico in 2000, I culled even further. Most photos I have now were shot since I moved south.

But not all.

There are lots, and almost all are digital, i.e. online, nowhere else. One reason I moved to Flickr, which is far better than it used to be, is that it’s free (up to a point), and the photos will not vanish one year when I fail to pay. That could happen when I’m dead, and I want my child bride to have access to them.

During this process I came across some photos I’d not noticed in years, and I’m going to show a few to you. The first was taken in Mexico City in the 1970s. I was sitting with a French friend I’ve known since we met in the Air Force in 1963. He is a legal immigrant.

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Atop the Torre Latinoamericana in Mexico City.

That’s me on the left, of course. I weighed about 225 pounds. Nowadays, I weigh about 165, making me rather skinny at 6′-3″ tall. I prefer the adjectives svelte, lean or trim. Skinny doesn’t sound good. I trimmed down around 1980 with a bit of effort.

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Felipe in drag.

And here I am beardless, a bit earlier than the above photo. I’m in the French Quarter of New Orleans, an extra in a movie titled Octoroon. The movie won no Oscars. Quite the contrary. It went straight to drive-ins. I was only in the first scene, walking down a sidewalk.

Oddly, I’ve always wanted to be an actor, and would have done theater work in New Orleans or Houston except for the fact that my newspaper career always had me working evenings, and that’s when theaters present plays. I never had a chance.

Thwarted by fate. I coulda been somebody!

And here is a photo of me and my mother that was taken during a visit to Georgia shortly after I relocated to Mexico. She died in 2009 at the age of 90.

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Now let’s look way back to 1956. Here I am in, I think, the 7th Grade. I’m the kid in the middle. The boy on the right is Larry. A few years later, he lost a leg in a grisly highway accident during a nighttime hayride.

Are you old enough to remember hayrides?

Another boy, a friend of mine, was killed in that same accident. I had been invited to go, but I didn’t, and I don’t remember why. Luck, I guess.

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Look at those multicolored loafers I’m sporting.

It’s been a fun few days looking at the past.

The early anniversary

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Just after returning late in the afternoon. Note brown grass of Springtime at left.

WE CELEBRATED the first stage of our two-weekend, 17th anniversary on Sunday by driving clockwise around the lake and stopping at the German restaurant.

I had German sausage and sauerkraut, and my child bride went for trout a lá pistachio. Both were above average. Next weekend, we’ll repeat the route to celebrate again but at a different joint. Lots of restaurants to be found out there, especially if you drive clockwise.

Seventeen years is a long time to be married, especially if it’s a third marriage, which it is for me but not for her. She’s not a repeat offender. I was married to my first wife a bit over five years, to my second a tad over 10 years though I lived with No. 2 about 19 years.

So we have another two years to top all relationship records for me.

I like being married. My head drifts and my heart cracks when I’m single. I tend to lose my mind.  If I’d done it right in the first place, marrying a Mexican, my entire life would have been different. I highly recommend Mexican wives.

Mexican husbands, nah, not so much. I hear things.

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Photo I like, the various elements. Stone, brick, color, mushroom, clay tile, Nissan tail light.