by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner
Bosque de Indios Verdes – Estado de México
One Summer In Mexico – Part 20 – August 3, 1970
It was a time with the lives of women and their roles in society were changing radically throughout the Americas and Europe. Yet in that time, it was still the tradition of the Creek People, as taught by my grandmother Mahala, that true love was when the souls of two people blended together. While I was a teenager, she periodically warned me against kissing girls, possessed with demons, because the demons could jump into me through my mouth. I thought my grandmother was being silly until I experienced the transfer of part of a beautiful young lady’s soul into mine.
On the morning after the July 26 Wedding Party, I hopped on a bus, headed to Patzcuaro, Edo. de Michoacán. I explored archaeological zones in Michoacán until August 2. I returned to Michoacán on two later trips to Mexico. Its archaeological treasures will be a sub-series, presented out of chronological order. I have a more immediate problem to fix!
Alicia has become a walking time bomb! I returned home to a raging wildcat, who won’t let me touch her. The week before I left of Michoacán, she was increasingly unpredictable . . . even gulping down three glasses of whiskey. The week’s events made funny stories for the 21st century, but tomorrow the Soto’s are giving me a big birthday party.
Is Alicia going to explode into a big break up scene or is she going to start talking like a porno actress like she did at the restaurant in Colonia Coyacan? Alicia’s family could not understand her English, but there are many Soto relatives, who speak English, including Architect Enrique Quinard’s wife, who is a Gringo.
Well, I have to stabilize the situation before leaving for Oaxaca on August 5th. I have 38 archaeological zones to study around Mesoamerica in six weeks. Readers in the 21st century, who are primarily interested in architecture, will get tired of reading about Alicia’s erratic behavior . . . that’s assuming that Alicia will even be a part of my life after tomorrow.
This essay is an intimate snapshot of social change that you will never see in a PBS documentary. Particularly those women, who were born in a later era, should read it to better understand where they have come from. However, I will have to heavily censor my 1970 journal in this article, because of the website’s status as educational media with general public access on the web. When you see <censored> adults will just have to read between the lines, so to speak.
Shortly, after I returned from the bus station, Alicia’s red Barracuda drove up to the Soto house. Sra. Soto said that Alicia had called several times earlier to see if I had arrived. I looked forward to embracing her. Instead I received a cold stare. When I tried to hug her, she said “¡No me toques!” (Don’t touch me!) “Yes, you don’t go to prostitutes, because you have a Gringa in every city in the Estados Unidos. You sleep with a different Gringa every night.”
I told her, “Not true. I have to work day and night when I am in school. Sometimes I don’t get any sleep and many weekends, I don’t even have time to date on Saturday night.”
Alicia responded, “You are a liar!” As she was racing into Ruth Soto’s bedroom, where I stayed, she added, “Ruth told me that you had many girlfriends writing you and that you were going to break my heart. I didn’t believe her, but while you were gone, I saw the letters.” She went straight to the shoe box, where I stored my mail.
On top was an envelope with a tiger on it. Inside were long letters with tigers on them. Alicia yelled, “Who is Anita Guffin. She has sent you three long letters with tigers on them.”
I answered, “I have not seen Anita in three years, since we graduated from high school. She saw the article about me in the newspaper and asked my parents for my address.”
Alicia threw the three letters from Anita on the floor and picked up several more. “Who is Joyce Flynn from New Orleans? Who is Linda Quick from Jonesboro? Tracy Tribble from Savannah? Betty Zaslove from New Jersey? Barbara Berry from Atlanta? Kate Harris from College Park? “ She threw the letters onto the floor.
I answered, “All of them are former girlfriends. I never went all the way with any of these women, because they did not want to get pregnant. Some I have not seen in years. If I was such a bad person, do you think that they would still be friendly with me? ”
“Maybe, but you can’t lie about this one. She is a Latina, not a Gringa.” She reached into the box and grabbed a post card. “Who is Teresa Torres? On this card she sent you many kisses.” Alicia threw the card on the floor.
Then she thumbed through letters from relatives till she reached the bottom. She pulled out the fat envelope from Teresa. I gulped for I knew what was in them. Alicia began scanning the letter.
“Teresa describes your last weekend together . . . . . She says that she is sorry that she could not say goodbye . . . She says that she anxiously waiting for you to return from Mexico. Teresa knows every part of your body. Alicia does not!”
She pulled out three photographs and threw the letter to the floor. Teresa had paid a professional photographer to take three pictures of her topless with a skinny bikini bottom. The one in the prone position had written on it, “Just think Richard, you could have had this for dessert every day this summer.”
Alicia started crying, “What? If I smoked brown cigarettes, you would make love to me?” (She was referring to the skinny Cuban cigars that Teresa had adopted as an accoutrement.) Alicia started crying. “So . . . you played with Alicia, the stupid little Barbie Doll in Mexico, until you could be back with a real woman, named Teresa?
I told her that I had not seen Teresa since December and that I only had one long date with her. She had been in prison since then and would still be in prison, had not her father given a million dollars to Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign. She now lived over a 1000 kilometers from me and I had no money or time to go visit her, when I returned to Atlanta. For the full background to this story, see “Toys for Tots.”
“I grabbed a Bible and put my hand on it. I swear to you before God that I will be truthful to you in all things. I think that you have never lied to me, but do you swear that you will tell me the whole truth. I also think that you almost never tell me your inner thoughts. Do you swear to tell me the whole truth, not just part of the truth?” She hesitated then put her hand on the Bible, saying, “Si . . . En el nombre del Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo,” then made the sign of the cross.
“Do you know of a place not too far away that has trees, flowers, birds and clean water? A place where we will be completely alone?”
She thought for a moment, “Yes, the mountain forest above Indios Verdes.” “Vamanos,” I said. “Vamanos mi amor,” she said.
Afterward, Alicia meekly picked up the crumpled letters and envelopes on the floor and put them back into the shoe box. She then, with her head slightly lowered, walked over to the kitchen to apologize to Sra. Soto for making a scene. Alicia told her that she had been very lonely all week, but felt better now.
Fifty years later: We are all wiser. Alicia had many new feelings swirling in her body that also made her insecure in her new role as a novice lover. It never dawned on her that my profound attraction to her was her brilliant mind and off-the-wall wit. She certainly was quite “sexy” and her innocence was part of my attraction to her – but she didn’t realize that either.
Instead, she had been led to believe by her peers that she was about to lose me to a more experienced woman and that I was like many Mexican men, who considered women to be primarily sub-humans, created by God for men’s pleasure and procreation of the species.
She had absolutely no one to talk to about those feelings. Her mother and aunt hated men. The men in the family deluded themselves into thinking that they lived in a medieval tribe, somewhere in the Middle East. I strongly suspect that Alicia’s affluent friends, who had already transitioned into womanhood had uniformly bad experiences that bordered on rape and probably involved alcohol.
If I had been her father, I would have said that she and Richard seemed to be a great match . . . certainly, he was desirable because of his lack of exposure to STD’s . . . but both were too young to marry. I would have urged her to make an appointment with a doctor for counseling and to obtain reliable birth control measures, but I was not her father and this was feudalistic Mexico in 1970.
HOWEVER, Alicia’s jynxed planning and total control over her transition to womanhood was an entirely new theme, almost unknown in 1970. It certainly is now part of 21st century women’s desire to have control over their own body. Indeed, I would dare say that most Gringa women I knew back then preferred to blame their transition on a man’s forcefulness, so that they didn’t have bear any guilt.
Treaty negotiations along the way
The first thing I told her along the way was that was “technically” a virgin until Teresa invited me into her house last December. She had read the letter, so I didn’t have to say any more. Alicia laughed, “At least it was a beautiful, rich Latina, who made you a man, not a prostitute, like our Mexican boys . . . but I don’t understand, when you kissed me the first time, electricity ran through my body. I never felt anything from a Mexicano, and you know many ways to kiss me that made me feel so good. ”
I responded, “Well, it was not quite her making me a man. I already knew all about women, if you know what I mean, but my earlier girlfriends were not on the pill and did not want to be pregnant.” Then I vegetated about the situation some more.
“Ah-ah” I thought, that’s the source of her misperception of my supposed worldliness. “See Alicia, Gringo boys and girls start having contact when we are about 12 or 13. We start kissing then, so over the years learn many ways to have a good time with our girlfriend or boyfriend without danger of being mamas and daddies. You went to an all girls’ school with Canadian nuns as teachers. Your mother knows nothing about men, except that one helped make you. The boys in Mexico get their experience from prostitutes, who want the visit to go as quickly as possible. Also, most prostitutes won’t let a man kiss them, so that produces Mexican men, who are kiss virgins. “
Alicia laughed, and said, “That is the truth!” For the rest of the drive, she didn’t want to talk about herself. Instead, she repeatedly asked me questions about the girls I had dated, particularly Teresa. She had a list of their names in a her pocket book.
Implementing the treaty
We found a beautiful grassy meadow on a mountain crest overlooking the Valley of Mexico. We could see tourists or campers coming from a long distance, so basically, we could do anything and not worry about public exposure.
I asked Alicia if there was anything that she did not like about me.
First, she said, “Nada,” then looked pensive and said, “Well, I promised to be totally truthful. I don’t like that you stop kissing me and then go back to the Soto’s house. Everything seems unfinished. I ache inside and get nervous. Sometimes I can’t sleep. When you were gone to Michoacán, my body filled with electricity. I am still that way and feel like I am going to explode. All I can think about is wanting to <censored.>
I told her that there are things that she can do for herself. She looked shocked, “You mean <censored>. The church says that it is a sin and I don’t know how to.” I answered, “Yes, and your priests have also molested millions of boys through the centuries.”
She said, “Yes, we have heard these things, but no one does anything about it. Can you teach me how to <censored> ?” I said, “Yes.”
Alicia then said, “Now I ask you a question! What can I do to make you feel as good as I feel, when I am with you?” My answer was <censored.>
I then asked her, “Thursday morning, you said that I could do anything that I want to with you and you would love it. Did you really mean it? I have only done things that you asked me to do because I wanted you to know that I respected you.”
She quickly responded, “Yes, anything.” I kissed her and asked her to lay down in the grass. <censored> About a half hour later, she sat up, shivering uncontrollably and said,”Ay -yi-yi-yi.” You have magic hands. You healed me. Now I feel sweet again, but I also feel like part of you is now inside my heart, but we have our clothes on. How could that be? ”
I told her that I felt like part of her was inside of me too. She said that she felt wonderful and now that she no longer was mad at me, wanted to buy me a special birthday gift so that no matter what happened in the future, I would never forget her. We drove down to the Indios Verde Artisan Market. She bought me a mahogany plaque with three jade Maya leaders on it. She called it, Los Tres Indios Verdes.
From then on, our relationship got better and better, because now we totally trusted each other. Unless her mother was in the house, I would caress her until her electricity was discharged. (so to speak. That was a very small request on her part.
Our relationship became so natural and peaceful that soon she would unthinkingly change her clothes, take a shower or go to the bathroom right in front of me . . . when her mother was in the house! Lord help us if her mother ever walked in on that. Our only fear was that because our souls had intertwined, without thinking, we would start making love before she had protection.
Although I can now remember practically none of the names of women I have gone out with through the years since then, I always remember every detail of my time with Alicia, because a part of her is a part of my soul. And now you know . . . my Creek grandmother was right along.