Gary’s Birthday 5 – 1-2015

September 2, 2015
Alfonso Anaya and Gary shared the love of horses and the image of charros, the real Mexican cowboy. Queenie (my dog) came along for the ride.

Alfonso Anaya and Gary (left) shared the love of horses and the image of Charros, the real Mexican Cowboy. Queenie (Gary’s dog) came along for the ride.

Chapala. In its heyday Chapala was a place where the rich and famous came to vacation. The waterfront is lined with mansions. The lake is certainly not the most beautiful in Mexico but Chapala has the charms of a small Mexican town, and for me, it holds some of the most memorable times of my life. I was about 10 when my mother and stepfather moved there to retire along with other expatriates. They rented a huge home a few blocks from the main plaza; four bedrooms, two verandas, maids’ quarters, stable, fruit trees; all for $48 a month. The maid came every morning, swept and watered down the cobblestone street in front, did the wash by hand, ran errands for my mother and was paid $5 a week.

For my part it was the life much as I imagine that of Tom Sawyer. The old town and surrounding countryside was my backyard. I had a dog, a horse and a burro. I learned Spanish with the other kids on the street. We made our own slingshots, played marbles and tops and other games that have been replaced today with video games.

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Gary and his friend Steven were preparing for an over-nighter in the hills outside of Chapala, their backyard. Gary’s burro, Poncho, carried the load.

A movie was a nickel ($) and you could eat dinner at any of the taco stands in town for a quarter. The Nido Hotel across from the church had a great swimming pool, and conveniently, it was a place where most of the American and Canadian locals hung out in the patio or the bar where mariachis were entertaining.

After 2 1/2 years of this idyllic life my mother decided to move with my sister and me back to California to continue our education. She later returned to Chapala to retire and write. She helped start the Little Theater and the American Library. When she died in 1969, at her request, she was buried in the Chapala American Cemetery near the lake and the people she loved.

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Gary says: Queenie, my Border Collie with more intelligence than most people I know and my best friend for 16 years, shared my idyllic life 24 hours a day in the quaint fishing village of Chapala.

Following a quick visit with my childhood memories, birthday celebrations conti-nued uninterrupted. In the small town of Ajijic a few miles down the lakeshore, (I used to ride my burro there.), an old acquaintance of ours invited us to enjoy his beautiful home. Unfortunately he and his wife were away, but his gardener and maid welcomed us. We spent a delightful four days in the luxury of this little paradise, taking advantage of the gourmet kitchen, doing some tourist shopping in the town center and taking a deep breath before heading off on the next stage of this birthday adventure, searching for the winter home of a few million Monarch butterflies.

11 Responses to “Gary’s Birthday 5 – 1-2015”

  1. Shannon Thomas liked this on Facebook.

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  4. Congrats Gary! You´r as much Mexican as your dog Queenie and my wife Nancy! We´re not fluent with facebook and all the info. paraphernalia but have been following you during your adventures.

  5. We may be in the US one of these days and will look you up. Abrazos!!

  6. Flor Lubin liked this on Facebook.

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  9. Let us know! We are toying with the idea of returning to South America. Let’s get together before we all get too old!

  10. Paul Graham liked this on Facebook.

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