I was about eleven years of age when my family decided to go visit my paternal aunts who at the time were living in a quiet little town near Tepic Nayarit, by the name of Xalisco, the town elevation is approximately 3,280 feet, with a mild Summer temperatures of low eighties during the day, and cool nights on the middle fifties, plus abundant Monsoon rains during evenings, that give away to clear sunshine days, with rainy nights, this weather it is more favorable than the low lands on the coast, just fifty miles away, were it is very hot and humid and you do not get the advantage of cool nights to give you a respite.
We spend two, or maybe three weeks in that town that at the time seemed to me a paradise, you could walk without no problems thought the middle of the cobbled streets without being afraid of passing cars, and you could walk almost anywhere to the Plaza, the Church, the Market, or the old big movie theater in just a few minutes, the whole town was for us a playground, we took a friend with us and the presence of my older cousin made the town a great treat for my brothers and our friend.
The town has a cute legend, they claim that the Aztec tribe in search of Tenochtitlan when stopping at Xalisco, a woman who was doing laundry work, threw a rock to the Eagle on top of the Nopal, therefore the Aztec didn’t settle for good in Xalisco. According to the legend the Aztecs left the legendary Aztlan n search of power, and greatness to settle at  a place were an Eagle in the middle of a lake, on top of a cactus will be devouring a serpent, they found it now days Mexico city after a long and arduous pilgrimage who lasted generations.
During our visit we stayed at an old house my aunts rented, and I can’t remember a time were we had more fun, when not playing in the town we did small outings to nearby villages, and springs, the luxuriant green vegetation, with the Sanganguey Volcano as a background to the Valley of Matatipac was extraordinary.
A few years ago forty-two years since that Summer in my way to Puerto Vallarta I decided to stop briefly in the town to bring back old memories, it was  a beautiful day in November I had arrived early in to Tepic and took a small transport to Xalisco, the town only a few miles from Tepic wasn’t far to reach, however some things had changed during those years…
To begin with Tepic now seemed a big unrecognizable place from the days when my Father and I used to come frequently and stay at the Sierra de Alica Hotel, new wide boulevards, and heavy traffic  made the yesterday quiet small city a noisy, and estrange place, also there was no clear division between Tepic and Xalisco, Tepic had grown so much that Xalisco seems just a neighborhood of Tepic.
Also to my growing horror, realized that the then quiet little town of Xalisco a virtual cul-de-sac was now vivisected by the very busy highway that goes to the bustling tourist resort of Puerto Vallarta!
Buses, Heavy trucks, and many other vehicles bust through the middle of the town on their way to Puerto Vallarta making Hidalgo street a veritable place to be avoided at all cost if in search of peace, and tranquility!
To my delight once a couple of blocks away from Hidalgo street I seem to recognize the old town of my memories, but wait a minute, what happened to the beautiful old houses? Here, and there new, and ugly modern monstrosities pop up amid the old houses deforming the town looks, by chance later I found out that the many of the immigrants of this then idyllic town in look of a better living North of the border had formed a drug cartel selling black-tar heroin all across rural America! Looking for the reason of such changes later at home I read:

“Xalisco County begins a couple of miles south of the state capital of Tepic and spreads across 185 square miles of lush, hilly terrain. A highway curves through it to the tourist resort of Puerto Vallarta to the south.

The county seat, also named Xalisco, is a town of narrow cobblestone streets and 29,000 people. For many years, dependence on the sugar cane harvest kept the county poor. Houses had tin roofs, and few had proper plumbing.

Xalisco ostensibly still depends on sugar cane. But it is now among the top 5% of Mexican counties in terms of wealth, according to a government report.

Enormous houses with tile roofs and marble floors have gone up everywhere. In immigrant villages across Mexico, people build the first stories of houses and leave iron reinforcing bars protruding skyward until they save the money to add second stories. Often the wait is measured in years. In Xalisco, homes go up all at once.

Off Xalisco’s central plaza are swanky women’s clothing stores and law offices. Young men drive new Dodge Rams, Ford F-150s and an occasional Cadillac Escalade. Outside town are new subdivisions with names like Bonaventura and Puerta del Sol.

Xalisco’s Corn Fair, held every August, is another measure of the town’s newfound wealth. Twenty years ago, the fair’s basketball tournament was a modest affair. Teams from surrounding villages competed against one another in ragged uniforms.

Then “the boys began going north and getting into the business,” said one farmer. “The town just began to come up.”

The tournament purse grew so fat that semi-pro teams began competing. Last year, with first prize worth close to $3,000, semi-pro squads from Mazatlan, Monterrey and Puerto Vallarta competed, each with American ringers. One local village sponsored a team made up entirely of hired players, reputedly paid for by a heroin trafficker.”

At the time unaware of such dark story of rag, to riches wandered around the town looking for familiar places, like the house my aunts rented at the time, I clearly remembered our almost daily evening trip to the movie theater,  and new if I could find the old theater, it will be cinch to find the old house, or so I thought..!

Carrying my neither light, but not too heavy luggage wondered around the town, fortunately didn’t take long for me to find the now abandoned old theater, going down the street I followed the street that for sure will take me to the old house, but damn! The place didn’t look quite like in my memory, as a matter of fact the spot where the house should have been, well, it was not!

Too many new constructions, made the place hard to remember, I keep going up and down, and around for many streets, taking the old theater as a base for my search, it was somewhere around 10:30 A.M. that I started my search, stubbornly I walked for hours, in circles trying to find the place, here and there I would stop expecting to recognize the old house on the next block, just to be disappointed once more.

Finally around 1:00 P.M. tired, sweaty, with a knot in my throat, and almost in tears, I gave up, slowly I walked to the Plaza to Hidalgo street , and stood by the busy road, it took e just a few minutes to flag a Bus to stop, I boarded a bus for Santiago de Compostela, were the next adventure and my clash with memory will meet again, but  that will be material for another chapter, as I sank on my seat enjoying the coolness of the bus and taking some last panoramic looks to the green valley of Matatipac, and the Majesty of Sanganguey Volcano for the last time, I reflected how treacherous memory can be after a period of over Forty years, I was like a migrating stork  looking for a nest it is no longer there…

Back home much later, Jim a friend of mine at work, read me a story about a WWII veteran that flying over Germany  was shot down, afraid of the German population that sometimes mistreated, and lynched the crews of the Bombers who bailed out, he hided his wings of which he was very proud of, making a mental map of the place he buried them in a farm, in the article he was very confident of find them with no trouble, shaking my head I told my friend Jim my search for the Summer of 1964 in a little town named Xalisco…After finishing telling him my story I said: Couldn’t find a house after forty two years, he will be lucky if he can find the farm, if it exist at all, imagine finding some tiny wings buried 66 years ago!

Months later we read the death of the pilot, who two months before his death  went to Germany looking for his wings, although he was treated very well, and coming back home he was given new wings, not surprisingly he couldn’t find his old wings, too many things, and places had changed…


About theburningheart

This entry was posted in Aztecs, Aztlan, Heart, Personal Story, Sanganguey, Tenochtitlan, Travel, Xalisco and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to IN SEARCH OF THE SUMMER OF 1964

  1. Bobby says:

    I’m really enjoying the blog, Brigido. Thank you!!


  2. Faigda says:

    Tio , me encanto la forma en que describiste una realidad global, creo que la experiencia se siente igual en generacion con generacion. Mi hijo nazareno de casi 6 anos, paso por la ompu cuando estaba leyendo y vio la foto de la plaza y dijo: “que bonito lugar , me gustaria que existiera para ir ahi”…… abrazos

  3. macalder02 says:

    I give you my vote because it seems really excellent. Good for you

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