Tag Archives: war-zone-building

The Standard Bearers

This is an old shot of the Teatro Capitolio. Image thanks to our friends at LatinOL.com.

That early morning light caught me at a time when I was the sole representative from the Magnolia and War Zone Buildings neighborhood.  I stood there like a soldier at rest, a proud member of the National Institute Marching Band drum section. 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

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

Why Are You Letting Them Take Your Picture?

As I stood on the corner wondering who those white men were and what they were doing in my neighborhood, my sister found me and asked, “Juni, what are you looking at?” Before I could even answer my sister’s question I felt a blow to the head from something or someone coming out of the glaring evening sun. I knew it was my father because I could hear him saying, “Why are you letting those people take your picture?!! You get inside the house!” all the while following his admonitions with repeated blows to the head. Continue reading