I’m back at the beginning but I’ve lived too many places

Manizales “y” Bogota, my infancy

Manizales, echoing back and forth during the first dozen years, a yoyo of sorts

Bogota, Marina and learning to chew (how could I have been so confused), the green Packard and the chauffeur, my father, boxing and medicine balls, confusion and disappearance, lies and lies and lies, but whose and what where they?

Manizales again, and school; confusion, shifted from place to place; strange people, perhaps dangerous, my sister and me, the Normal, the hotel in Santa Rosa with Blanca and Alberto and the girls from the school there eating lunch in a hotel I can still remember, discovering my body.

Tectonic shifts and a new continent, same hemisphere though: Miami Beach and Miami, my first adventures and misadventures, my second family, the start of exile, displacement, confusion, alienation.  Soup without “seco”, the Tower of Babel, tiny television

Apartment to apartment to apartment; school to school, to school; Riverside Elementary, Central Beach Elementary, Biscayne Elementary, too many others to recall, getting dizzy

Charlotte, the sweet interlude, Wesley Heights Elementary and Southern hospitality, first bicycle, first dates and school safety patrol, the Asian flu, then, yank ….  We were gone, perhaps without a trace.

Miami again, solitude and insecurity, sadness, kisses and comic books, the first real Christmas and dawning of responsibility, more confusion, much, much more

Then back to Manizales, school (“Nuestra Señora”), the Garcia twins, Maria Luz and the rest of the Garcias, Teddy’s hunger strike (of sorts), Pacho and his wonder dog Danger, horrible Hasper, el “Teatro Olimpia”, “Mariachis Mexicanos”, the “Rueda a Colombia”, German friends from World War II, little blond girls across courtyards; old friends turn into strangers, then, poof, gone again, this time for a very long time

New York!  Above the Circle Restaurant, Ozone Park, roller skating, Teddy breaks a leg, Mom looses it and I meet trauma (perhaps terrible), first sloppy kiss, first passenger jet flight ever, PS 124 and Idlewild Airport, Marina returns and again teaches me new things; Rockaway Beach and Rockaway Playland, Boy Scouts and baseball, summer camp, then the merry-go-round goes on …

Somehow, my slightly dead father resurfaces alive, someone has some explaining to do but it’s not done, at least not well, but a new source for confusing threats arrives

Beatings, pretty bad ones, loss of step-filial respect but not of love and affection, more confusion

St. Gerard’s, a Catholic school and a new neighborhood (good Catholic girls cannot date Greek Orthodox boys according to sister Mary Richards), St. Alban’s a new neighborhood, railroad tracks, walking to school in the snow, new friends, always new friends but old ones always lost, seemingly forever; the Mexicans and baseball, and baseball, and baseball, Bert Cuthbertson, where is he now?  Catholic girls shouldn’t date Greek Orthodox boys reaaserted, they might wind up marrying them, confirmation, Patricia Maher, where is she now?  Pubic hair and sex, at least in discussions.  Bishop McClancy High School attained but Jamaica High School entered with old friends, Scott, and new friends, Karen Lockhart, Mary Bakanskas, Johnny whatever his last name was. Sweet Cindy the sophomore, black girls are hot too.  Latin classes.  Then, woops, moved again, but not too far …

Beatings, pretty bad ones, again, more loss of step-filial respect but not of love and affection, more confusion

Queens Village, Hillside Boulevard, first rebellion at a new school, the subway revolution and quest for a career in comic books; the rebellion suppressed, violently, surrender and disaster at Martin Van Buren High School; more confusion

Sanity starts seeping in, boarding school, Long Island, Otto Khan’s summer palace in Fall, the short grey line.  Kaliope Kourinis and first real sexual experiences with someone other than me, complications, the quest for Julia begins in earnest in a trail of slightly broken hearts.  Parades, lonely weekends alone, contemplation, speculation, philosophy, literature, history, football and baseball, spectator sports as well, old friends and new friends, a procession now but some start to stick; interesting.  Many, many girls:  Nancy Murray (several times), Cindy Dickie, Mary Lou, Sue Hooker, Barbara, Chris Reilly, Bernadette, Bridgette, Joan Everly, other Sues, too many names to remember, too confusing, but not unpleasant, just frustrating, none the one though …

In the meantime, “home” keeps shifting but now it doesn’t matter as much, Flushing Arms, then living with Carola in Queens, then another apartment in residential Flushing, this one lasts for years, but then, Pop’s no longer with us.  Something bad happened, never knew what but Mom left very suddenly and everything changed for all of us ….

[1] © Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2007; all rights reserved

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