Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Torture. This is what my first memories of Mexico were based upon. Well, torture and sea shells. I was 7 years old.

My parents, sister and I were living in Northern California at the time. They (the adults) thought that seeing the Baja 1000 would be a fun time. That race had just had its first run in October 1967.

Ensenada in 1969 was not a tourist town. I not sure if it was much of a town at all. Nevertheless, it was my first time in Mexico. We flew from Sacramento to San Diego and rented a car. It seems that we drove half the day, but it could have only been 2 hours. Maybe more as my father had probably had a few shots of tequila and had gotten us lost.

The booze improved his driving skills but did little to improve his personality or scruples.

Anyway, I have only flashes of memories. Cool Ocean breezes, a dead Sea Lion on the beach, my Mother trying to get her silk pillow case back from the non English speaking house keepers and an old gringo that was the first ex-pat that I had ever met. He was a stranger, yet my mom let me and my sister sit with him for hours (it was probably 20 minutes, see above where I thought we drove for ½ a day) while he showed us all about sea shells and how to clean the critters out. I don’t think I had ever spent that much time with a stranger before then.

The torture part comes in from my 17 year old uncle. My mothers kid brother. My parents brought my uncle on the trip to watch my sister and me while the adults went out doing adult things in Mexico and for him to experience Mexico. My uncle had different ideas of what those experiences should be. He teased me by keeping a ball away from me, had me leaping in the air to grab my toys and even went as far as putting me in those Mexican finger cuffs; behind my back. He had also gotten a bull whip at the market and a big sombrero. He chased me around with that stuff too. I know it all sounds innocent, but I was very upset at the time, and probably a bit nervous about being away from home to start with, and to have an angry uncle in charge really did scare me. My mother tells me that it could not have been so bad.

Fast forward 40 years. January 2009 found me back in Mexico again with that same uncle. All I said was “Hey, the last time we were in Mexico together was 40 years ago” and you know what he said? “Chrissy, I regret all those mean and terrible things I did and said on that trip”. So, my memory is not perfect, but my feelings were.

Of course I had long since forgiven him and it was interesting to hear his perspective on the whole thing. Come to find out, he had thought that he was brought on the trip more as a play date for my dad, not a “Manny”. A 17 year old red blooded American boy in Mexico could “experience” a lot. But his sister (my Mom) obviously had more boundaries than he had ideas. He took out is resentment on me.

We shared some excellent times and made new delightful memories in Guayabitos that January and lest you might think this was our first reunion in 40 years, it was not. We have been in each others lives and homes many, many times. It’s odd that this never came up until we were back together in Mexico.

Now the only torture I face concerning memories of Mexico is leaving her.
(Note; I got a new Daddy and he is the best ever!)


  1. What a great story Chrissy. I'm glad your uncle turned out to be a good guy and someone you can now have fun with. Isn't it funny how those kinds of memories are so important and vivid. "Torture" is a great title. Back in the 60's it was very adventurous to go down to Mexico especially in a rental car so your folks were kind of ahead of the times!

  2. This IS a great post. And I LOVE that you and your Uncle were able to come down to Mexico again, to make new memories.

  3. Great story Chrissy. I'm kind of chuckling because I remember similar experiences (not in Mexico) with male cousins. I was always the only girl and much younger, so they'd entertain themselves by throwing me in the shrubs, pelting me with walnuts, chasing me with cane poles or baseball bats, etc.... My parents never ventured beyond any borders with the kids, so yours were pioneers! Our cultural experiences were in places like Chinatown and import stores!

  4. Thanks Ladies, I thank my Mom for her adeventuring spirit. She is a real trooper all things considering. In a Blog coming soon, I will tell you about my 2nd trip to Mexico. Another funny story. It was when I fell in love with the Country and a sneak peek... I refused to leave. Had Keith not made some promises, I would have been one of those homeless airport people.

  5. Just have to weigh in and say, in agreement with all the rest, this was a great post! Thank You.

  6. Thanks Dana. It is such a vivid memory I just had to let it out. There where alot more things, like the restaurant cooking the fish that my Dad and Uncle caught and inviting lots of locals to share it as well. And seeing all the naked Mexican kids enjoying the beach. We were freezing...and well covered. I think they were having the better time. Keith tries to stop me from immating them now.