by Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner
Calle Begonias – Colonia Nueva Sta. Maria – Mexico, DF
One Summer In Mexico – Part 21 – August 4, 1970
Guadalupe (Lupe) Quinard de Soto was the grand-daughter of a French officer under Emperor Maximillian and one of the most beautiful women in the State of Nuevo Leon. The French officer wisely chose a long life with a beautiful Mexicana to a Mexican firing squad.
For her era, Lupe was a rebel, just like Alicia. She had to be! When she was courted by her future husband, José Soto, he was a member of the Mexican Communist Party and an acquaintance of exiled Russian Bolshevik, Leon Trotsky. Trotsky live in Colonia Coyoacán until assassinated by an agent of Joseph Stalin in 1940. Jose had to resign from the Communist Party, do all sorts of penance and then crawl up the steps to the Shrine of the Virgin Guadalupe in order to get back into the Roman Catholic Church to have a “church” wedding for Lupe. Lupe didn’t care, but her parents would not pay for the wedding fiesta otherwise.
The Sotos and I instantly hit it off, when I became deathly ill from salmonella food poisoning, the first night in their home. I was quickly treated as the “free thinker” son that they always wanted. Their two daughters were far more conservative than their parents. Lupe also instantly liked Alicia, because she saw in Alicia a younger version of herself. However, initially Lupe was very concerned about me because I neither drank hard liquor, got drunk or went to brothels.
Lupe really liked my legs. I have stout Native American legs. Most of the light complexioned Mexican men had skinny legs like the Spanish. One of the ways that I paid my room and board was entertaining Lupe’s friends at various cocktail parties and coffees. She would ask me to accompany her to the events, wearing shorts, so the women could admire and rub their hands across my legs. In that era, Latin American men never wore shorts, except at the beach.
Lupe became unconcerned about the brothels, once she realized how emotionally and physically close Alicia and I were at my August 4th birthday party. After then, she intentionally would arrange for the entire family to be away from their house, so Alicia and I could have “quality time.” In early 1971, Lupe offered to help Alicia escape her family and fly to Atlanta to live with me. There was still the problem with my consistent sobriety. Alicia also had that problem.
From my Mexican Journal
Tuesday August 4 – mostly cloudy, except during the party – later light rain
Well, today was the day. I turned the magic age of 21. Alicia and I walked around Revolution Park near her house for at least two hours in the early afternoon . . . just holding hands and talking . . . our relationship was reborn yesterday afternoon. She is no longer desperate to prove her femininity, but also does not have to worry about being PG. She never knew such an option existed. It is a very peaceful love now. That is the only way I can describe it.
Lupe Soto threw a birthday party for me in the late afternoon, so people that worked could come. Guests included all of her extended family, some neighbors plus Gionella’s new boyfriend Gabriel. She ordered a big rectangular birthday cake, plus made ham & cheese sandwiches, plus several types of small tortas (pies), lots of different types of fruit, snacks, etc. She created this unbelievably delicious tropical fruit punch, primarily for Alicia and me, since everybody else, except Cella, a sister of Lupe, about our age, were drinking whiskey or tequila cocktails.
Gabriel just doesn’t get it – trying to stereotype all people in the United States as the “Ugly Americans.” He immediately got into the Vietnam War thing, not knowing I was a Naval Midshipman. Heck, most of my Naval Officer professors are against the war too! We were taught something that the American public doesn’t know – Ho Chi Mein was originally a American ally and worked closely with both the Navy and CIA. Some stupid people in the Truman administration drove Uncle Ho into the Russian fold. One of my officers, a Riverine Warfare LtCDR, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor, told us to avoid service in Vietnam. He was my instructor for Independent Command Tactics and survival training.
Gabriel then started bashing modern women, particular those who wanted to get university degrees, have careers, plan their family and be active in politics. He point blank said that any woman, who used birth control pills, was a whore and going to hell. Fortunately, Alicia joined the conversation and chewed him out. He was scared of her and soon wanted Gionela to leave the party with him. She wouldn’t leave so he left by himself.
Lupe kept Alicia’s and mine cups full of that delicious punch, because she said the sweet tropical fruits would ferment, if not drunk that day. Lordy it was habit forming. Who needs booze, when God had created such a wonderful beverage for man?
The punch was spiked! That sneaky Lupe! It hit Alicia first. She started running her hands all over me and telling me how much she loved me. But is was addictive. Both of us kept on drinking it. Next thing I knew, we could barely move. We plopped down on the couch in the family room and sat there grinning, while rubbing each other’s knees. I have a feeling that we eventually did more than that, but don’t remember. Soon I couldn’t move at all – they don’t call it stone drunk for nothing.
When we woke up, it was dark in the room and we were cuddled up lengthwise on the couch. We didn’t even know where we were. Soon Lupe opened the door and the light of the living room blinded us. She said we were a beautiful couple and that she wished that it was possible for Alicia to stay the night, but her mother would not understand. Lupe said that she had called her mother to tell her that Alicia was helping her clean up after the party. A little later, she brought us cups of coffee and signaled to Alicia with her hand to pull down her blouse. Oops!
Now how many of you guys would have loved to have had a mother like Lupe?