Tag Archives: San Miguel

A Time-Honored Parade Route

Image is property of our friends at LatinOL forums. Lucky Strike Building in Panama circa 1949.


The parade started in the street in front of the National Treasury winding up two blocks on what is Avenida Peru today. A left turn and we were on the familiar Avenida Central marching down the section known as Perejil. Before I knew it we were marching by my old primary school of Pedro J. Sosa in the neighborhood that had become so familiar to me, San Miguel, with Magnolia Building at its center.  This is the neighborhood where I had started my adolescent life in the renowned National Institute. 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

Seeking Models of Values

The ever elusive “ton-a-money.”

By this stage in my life I was aware that these were special times for me, a turning point, if you will. I had seen life with my parents, aunts and uncles, and now I thought that my life was not turning out any better. My parents’ divorce seemed to have left me feeling captive in a type of upbringing full of hate and family conflicts which I’d been subjected to and forced to accept for many years. Continue reading


An image of Reverend A.F. Nightengale Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Panama.

An image of Reverend A.F. Nightengale
Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of

It was on one of those nights that I sat beside my grandmother when we attended what for me was my first experience with any type of spiritual education or lecturing at one of the evangelical churches that my grandmother loved to visit. I say “visit” since she was ever wary of “organized” churches and preferred to visit all the many and sundry expressions of the Christian religion and the other unconventional ones like the “bush” churches which I will get into later. Continue reading

Magnolia Neighbors to Remember

This is Magnolia Building today, in its restored version. My grandmother’s
two-room apartment was on the third floor where we’ve marked it with blue
stars. It extended, railroad style, all the way to the arched entrance also
marked with a blue star.

For the youth of the entire Westindian community of the district of Calidonia, the Barrio neighborhood comprised not only that enormous and most visible edifice with the strange name of a flower no one had ever seen in a Panama at that time, but the entire neighborhood surrounding that imposing building which for us youngsters came to be associated with the name “Magnolia.” Continue reading

The Language and Nuances of the Putdown

I now lived in Casa Magnolia with my two aunts and my grandmother, Fanny.

I had, at the time, just started living with two of my paternal aunts and grandmother in the now famous “Casa Magnolia” one of the largest structures of its time on the corner of “P” Street and Mariano Arosemena Street of the San Miguel Barrio. The building was situated not far from where I had grown up until the age of nine years surrounded by loving playmates and adult neighbors we had known since we were very small kids from Colon. Continue reading