Saturday, October 18, 2014

Synchronicity ... Again!

"I love you more than
my own skin."
I had two primary reasons for coming to Mérida:
  • swim in a cenote once again … check!
  • do some further research on Felipe Carrillo Puerto … oops! The week slipped away without this happening.
However, this morning, synchronicity tapped me on the shoulder and made me wonder if I need to come back to tie up this loose end.

First, the backstory. About 25 years ago, my husband and I vacationed in the Yucatán and when we got home, he happened on a book on a sale table and, on a whim, bought it for me. The book was the story of Alma Reed, one of the country’s first women reporters in the early 1920s in San Francisco. She reported on the story of a young Mexican boy who was convicted of murder and sentenced to be hung even though he was only 17 and had been pressured by an older man to commit the killing.

Reed took on the challenge of convincing the state to declare him too young to be hung … and won. She was invited to Mexico by the government and treated as a heroine. Because of all this publicity, she was hired by the New York Times and sent back to Mexico to write about a new archeological discovery called Chichen Itza.  There she became friends with the man who was the head of the archeology team and he told her how he was secreting artifacts out of Mexico to the Peabody Museum in Boston.

I loved this guy's hat ...
and he seemed to love having his picture taken.
Reed broke that story and became even more beloved by Mexico. During those days, she met Felipe Carrillo Puerto and they fell in love. There is some discrepancy about whether or not Carrillo was married or a widower, but they had a passionate affair and were going to be married in California. Reed went back to California to make plans and while she was gone, he was executed by firing squad with three of his brothers and eight other friends.

Alma Reed (“alma” means soul in Spanish) spent most of the rest of her life in Mexico where, they say, a song that was commissioned for her by Carrillo is sometimes still played. I loved this story and, living at the time in Santa Barbara where writing a screen play is a rite of citizenship, I wrote one, which went no where. I always wanted to find more information about Carrillo but, at the time, there was no Internet or Google Translate so I always dreamed of coming to Mérida and finding out more. But, I never did … even when I was actually here for a week.

Wall art.
Now the synchronicity: This morning I went to hear a lecture at the English Library here in Mérida and struck up a conversation with the woman sitting beside me who moved here in April. We were exchanging the standard questions of where and why for when she asked me why I was here and I started telling her the Alma Reed/Felipe Carrillo story. About half-way through her eyes got wide and she said, “His grandson is my neighbor!"

It turns out that his grandson Orlando has been active in the museum scene here in Mérida but had a stroke some time ago so his health isn’t great but he had told my new acquaintance about his grandfather. I had a question I wanted to have clarified so she is going to try to talk to him. However, there are apparently a bunch of descendants here so there might be some value in coming back and talking to them.

Most homes have these
tile signs on the wall by their doors.
I wish when the Universe decided to play these games, it would be a little more directive about what I’m supposed to do with the information.

Color, wrought iron and a "frame."

And a question ... why is there a box with
"tomatoes" on it on the street here in Mérida?
I wonder if there's a story here?

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