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Friday, October 19, 2012

MORE MANTEQUILLA, POR FAVOR

In the early 70’s, Bud & I took a cruise to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  Our travelling companions were a brilliant, interesting & fun couple. Phyllis is a ranked bridge player--I think a grand master--& Bob was a psychiatrist.  I think one of the reasons Phyllis married him was because he was one of the few men who could beat her at chess.  Bob sported the shaved head look long before it became popular.  You’ll see in a minute why this is important for you to know.

We were in our cabin & I was showering in preparation for dinner.  Bud opened the door to the bathroom & asked me to come into the cabin.  I said I’d be out in a couple of minutes.  He said to please come out NOW & to be sure I was wearing my robe.  He was trying very hard not to laugh.  I had left my long “gypsy” wig on the bed along with my clothes while I was cleaning up.  Wigs were very popular at the time.  Everybody was wearing them.  Even more people were wearing them than I’d realized.  Bob was sitting there visiting with Bud, with my “gypsy” wig on his shaved head!  At least I looked better in it than he did.  (I think.)  Maybe because I wore it with big hoop earrings.
(Not me--or Bob)

We stayed at a hotel on the beach.  We tried hard not to be “ugly Americans” & to speak as much Spanish as we could.  Bob really liked butter & at dinner, he always wanted more.  He would say to the waiter, “More mantequilla, por favor." We couldn’t understand why, if he could learn the word for butter—“mantequilla”— he couldn’t remember the much simpler word for more—“mas”.  He DID manage to master the emergency phrase, “Dos margaritas, por favor.  Uno con sal y uno sin sal.”  (“Two margaritas, please.  One with salt & one without salt.”)
Puerto Vallarta was just coming into being when we took our cruise.  When we were checking into the hotel, Bud asked the clerk if there were any messages for him.  The clerk asked, “On what, senor?”  The telephone--& I use the singular form—was a couple of miles away, in town.  Our friends had told us that we had to visit an artist there who did charming primitive paintings, sort of like a young Mexican Grandma Moses.  His name was Manuel Lepe Macedo—he signed his work “Lepe”.  He never attended art school—his only schooling was 4 years of primary education—but he was intelligent, personable & extremely talented.  We found him & bought 2 paintings.  One was $20.00 & the other was $40.00.  We really couldn’t afford the $60.00, but we fell in love with the paintings.  When we got home, Bud framed them himself & they’re still in those frames.

“The Night of the Iguana” (with Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton) had been filmed there a short time before.   Taylor & Burton bought a beach house & put a dozen or so of Lepe’s paintings there after our trip.  That started him on the road to success.  He died in 1984, when he was only 48.  Our $60.00 investment (which was not really an investment; we bought the paintings because we loved them) has increased in value.  It’s a shame that so many artists have to die before their talent is fully recognized.  His work now sells for upwards of $40,000.00—each!  Below are 2 of his paintings.  They’re not the ones we have, but they show his wonderful style.



Mas fishducky la semana proxima (More fishducky next week)

PS--HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JULIANNA!!!!!






14 comments:

  1. Habla Espanol un poco solomente.

    Un grande estore, enjoyde mas mucho!
    Grasias

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  2. I won't attempt Spanish, but the painting are certainly rich and vibrant.

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  3. Lovely paintings. Yo quiero ocho margaritas immediatamente, por favor, and yeah, all eight are for me. I'm not sharing with the Z Boys. Drunk dogs might make a mess in the house.

    Love,
    Janie

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  4. If I had had 8 margaritas, I doubt if I could see the house, let alone any mess in it!

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  5. Dear Fishducky, I find those two paintings of "Lepe" enchanting. I need to see if the Nelson-Akins Art Museum in Kansas City has any of his work. Thank you for introducing us to his work. Peace.

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    1. I hope they have some--you will fall in love with his work!!

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  6. The paintings are interesting :) And I think I should learn Spanish. you know...just in case. ;D

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    1. I think everybody should speak at least 2 languages--my grandfather spoke 7 different ones!

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  7. I love, love, love those paintings. Sounds like a fun trip and, yes, lucky me, I do speak two languages well, and some more not so good. I knew a lot of Hungarians and Austrians in Princeton and they all spoke at least 7 languages too. As you can see, I'm back to visiting blogs and it feels darned good. Thanks for your support with Samson. It has been a scary time, but things are looking up.

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  8. It's so good to have you back!!

    My grandfather spoke those 7 languages & never went to college--he was a peasant in Russia. His family felt it was important.

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  9. Those are really fun paintings! Turned out you made a great investment.

    In the late 60s and early 70s it was falls. Everybody had falls with big headbands. :)

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    1. We probably should have them re-framed!

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Your comments make my day, which shows you how boring my life has become.