The RAE dictionary like this one is something we wish we had in the library. Image.
Our holiday at the beach was brief and my companions from Abel Bravo dropped me off at the stairway entrance to my building at the close of the day. I found my mother in good spirits, for a change, and talking with some of the neighbors about her son in “Abel Bravo College.” It was, in fact, the highest level of public education accessible to all humble households throughout the province of Colon at the time, as I explained before. I started taking note of the differences between Abel Bravo and my former school, The Instituto Nacional, in small and large ways. Continue reading
Scene from La Playita today. It is sad how very few changes have ocurred in Colon as in Panama City in terms of recreational places for the people. All of our governments have been guilty of total neglect. Image thanks to almanaqueazul.com
The first girl to show up that day from our class was a Chinese-Panamanian girl named Lily. She had come with our youth group who’d met her at her house and marched all the way to the beach. The whole group of us finally met up with the other West Indian boys and girls in our class who were now arriving at La Playita. Continue reading
La Playita today but, 60 years ago there were fewer houses and more scenery. The water was great. Image thanks to almanaqueazul.com
Colon Province has always been known for its beautiful and alluring beaches which I still hadn’t had time to explore. Turns out the guys in the class planned a beach trip one day just a little bit before the start of rainy season. “Hey Riri, let’s go to the beach this afternoon after school,” said Tito Johnson, “Everyone in the classroom will be there.” “Sure,” I said, “but, let me see if I can get some bathing trunks.” “Don’t worry about that,” said Johnson, “I’ll loan you a pair if you can’t find anything appropriate.” I was thrilled at the invitation since the girls from our class appeared to be eager to go as well. Continue reading
Bobby Grant at age 95, a few months before his death. God bless him.
The mysteries surrounding the care and treatment of women that I had learned earlier on in my life from that terribly pragmatic pimp in Marañon were working like a charm. I was keeping the beauties of Abel Bravo at bay and clinging to my studies as I had never done before and, what’s more, my mother seemed to respect my apparent alone-ness although genuine conversations between us were quite rare. Continue reading
The following week was a good time to adjust and to get to know more people intimately at The College. The school had become my main focus of interest and I was infatuated with the idea of being able to attend classes right alongside the girls as I remembered doing in elementary school. At the National Institutee, it was all boys. Undoubtedly, I was still thinking about the girl who had given me her photo and handkerchief, and her boldness even though I was doing my level best to avoid girls this early on in the game. Continue reading
View of the City of Colon from the northern point. Image thanks to wikipedia.org
Tito, I soon learned, came from Westindian Panamanian parents who had the physical characteristics of the culizos. Culizos in Panama bear the racial attributes of East Indians and my new friend had that distinct swarthy skin color, chocolate-brown, with a slight curl to his mostly straight hair. These features all combined in Tito to make him a good looking guy although he was a little shorter in stature than me.
We walked in silence towards the center of the city where we both lived when we were suddenly met by another guy, a mulatto in appearance. “Hey, this is my friend Riri who came here from Panama,” says Tito gregariously. Continue reading