A Change of Plans

After the incident with my neighbor, I was left feeling vulnerable and somewhat shaken and I began planning to leave the area with my wife and baby.  Disillusioned now with my entire experience I started devising how I would leave as this trip to Bocas, ever since I had taken Pug to live with me  in Baseline, had turned out to be a pack of trouble for me after all. I had been working hard since the first week we got to Bocas under the hot sun, torrential rains and I felt I had recovered my health and strength so it seemed the time was right.

Looking back on that fateful month of January of 1955 when we set out to travel to Bocas Town and Almirante City from Colon, I felt a sense of pride for what I had achieved so far at the Baseline corporate office of that old U.S, United Fruit Company,  It meant, for me, that I had been able to make a life for myself in the real capital city of the whole province as I had gotten to know my way around.

To further recap, I had initiated this Bocas adventure right after the assasination of President Jose Antonio Remon Cantera’s funeral towards the end of January 1955 and we had left soon after I got back from attending the State funeral. Upon arriving in Bocas Town I had wasted no time in finding work.

Pug had been about three or four months pregnant at that time and we really had no place to live. So that, by the month of Feburary 1955 we were able to get into the Carnaval Spirit since I had recently found employment at Baseline.  I continued to work until I could return to Bocas Town with enough money to pay for Pug’s upkeep.  This had facilitated things for us when I requested housing three months later when she started to show into her sixth month.

Now that I was a seasoned worker and proud to have earned enough respect and status to be assigned a suitable housing space, it felt like I had made great progress in that growing town of Baseline, which was the base camp and the main headquarters for the renamed Chiriqui Land Company, a subsidiary of the United Fruit Company.

Since I’d arrived there I had been working overtime hoping to be promoted to a better post in the near future and planning to stay with the company.  My outlook on my own life had started to improve.  But events like the nasty brawl I had just managed to be involved in had placed a damper on my aspirations and now I wanted to leave.

It wasn’t just the brawl with my neighbor but a cluster of things that had happened.  Like the time I had relieved the office manager for three months until he came back from his mother’s funeral.  Everyone had been pleased with my work.  In my attempt to befriend him more closely, however, I had refrained from drinking with him and his friends, which signaled to me that I was odd-man-out.

After the birth of the baby boy in June of 1956, however,  Pug and I had become estranged.  In part, I had still not forgiven her for the events on the boat traveling to Bocas.  Although we never discussed those events, she acted as though I was the father of the child.

That year of 1956 stands out for me in feelings of total frustration.  Instead of being proud of what I had achieved, I was feeling depressed again and I was living with Pug as with an enemy.  She had managed to sour things for me after I’d built up a wonderful network at Baseline and I actually felt that remaining with her would be my downfall.

The whole senario had made me feel more despondent about our relationship than when I was living with my parents. I would gladly go out with friends to the local bar just to avoid staying home with her.  My relationship at home seemed to be going nowhere.

This story continues.

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