Tag Archives: Magnolia-building

The Battle for Honor

This image is from an extremely interesting
site called The Art of Manliness.

The scene was now turned around. As I saw it my honor was being challenged as the challenger made it known to everyone that he was about to pummel two big mouths in one day, the two who had sullied the name of a damsel- presumably my neighbor. So, this was the real issue and I honestly did not want to appear to be fighting over some foolish girl. Continue reading

The Quest for Independence

Magnolia Building balcony- the stories that
unfolded from this perch.

My incessant quest for independence had continued ever since my grandmother returned from her dream trip to Jamaica. It was another sleepy Sunday. Tired of the Bomberos’ same old routine practice run of scaling the hook and ladder atop Magnolia Building while they sprayed the roof with water, I retreated back inside the apartment. The firemen finally rolled up their long thick hoses unto large white wheels, piled onto their big red fire trucks and drove off. Continue reading

Looking for Substance

The lovely Beryl was true to her
namesake. Image.

By now my Sundays had turned into a self imposed ritual of attending Sunday school. As I mentioned before I had definitely outgrown the babyish Sunday school at St. Paul’s and sought a more adult like Sunday school environment. I was finding it hard to find more substantial fare in the Protestant churches as it seemed to me that whoever planned the lessons for Sunday schools only considered the small children and offered nothing anywhere near appropriate for older children such as myself. Continue reading

Back to the Reality of a Barrio Tenement

Image is from the Library of Congress.

This is an image of the old fashioned water closets
of our time. They were pretty efficient but they
made quite an uproar whenever you flushed. Image.

I spryly moved around my grandmother’s living room putting things in order as the urge to find relief hit me suddenly that beautiful morning. I drew my pants up to my waist and slipped into the shirt I had worn the day and night before. The shirt still had the aroma of women’s perfume which made me fondly remember that I had been dancing all night with the beautiful Albina, my “Rosemary.” I couldn’t help but smile as I rushed outside the back bedroom that also served as the kitchen, heading for the back door that gave access to the communal wet areas of the building.  Continue reading

Ana’s Prophesies for a Westindian Boy

Image thanks to license to kill

The fact was that I was receiving instruction in a field of endeavor for which no words of how to perform were needed between my Teacher Ana Sanchez and me- it was all observe and learn for me. Previous to these evenings my thoughts would probably have turned to what I was planning to do with a piece of dental work that presented a challenge back at Clyde’s clinic, without seeking any advise from the men I had known since infancy. So far, however, everything I had been involved in recently in or out of school could not compare to my new experiences with Ana. Continue reading

Working Hard for the Big Fair

This is a shot of Avenida Central, Panama City
around 1950. Image thanks to our friends at

By evening I was still following my tutor’s every move as we combed the city streets together. It was still early and the weather was rather mild. As was usual with me, I began remembering images of my early childhood on Calle Mariano Arosemena as I walked the streets of my neighborhood in Calidonia with my teacher. Teacher Ana had hardly conversed with me as yet and before I could really get into my daydreaming again we found ourselves entering a Chinese Store. Continue reading