Monday, January 02, 2017

New Neighbors

"Happy New Year!"chirped Lucy yesterday when she walked in the door, sparkly rhinestone earrings dangling almost to her shoulders. "It's Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," commented several of the party-goers, smiling with delight at the personable and pretty new neighbor.

Later while cruising and nibbling at the goodie-laden kitchen island, I chatted with her husband Sal.
"Have any siblings?" I asked.
"40 or more," he replied.
Of course, I thought I hadn't heard correctly. "Did you say 40?" I repeated, almost choking on a slice of salami.

He went on to explain that his father was a polygamist in Guatemala city—the polygamy had nothing to do with religion (I immediately thought - Mormon) or life style philosophy. When talking about his father, Sal shook his head and said, "He was a piece of work!" Sal wasn't certain of exactly how many children his father had because the various wives (there were more than 5) lived apart and were, in most cases, unknown to each other.

I kept re-positioning my hearing ear as Sal told his tale. I thought surely I wasn't hearing him correctly as the incredible story rolled on. Sal would meet kids at school with the same name and after probing a bit would find out that they had the same father. As he described his father, I could see the disgust and contempt he had for the man. Later, fortune turned bad for his father and Sal left home at 14, because "the resources began to dry up" and he started to walk north.

He walked and walked and walked—he didn't explain how he survived, but he did manage to make it across the border at 17 years old on April 30th, 1975. He walked into an army recruitment office and discovered that Saigon had fallen that day. He was too young, undocumented and the army didn't want him. Fortunately, someone took him in....that's another story. He was cared for, educated and protected and created a life for himself. He's only in touch with three of his siblings who live in Montreal—all have successful lives. Interestingly Sal refused to have children as a sort of slap back at his father.

Sal and his wife flip houses and have lived in 10 homes over the past 16 years in San Diego County.
I hope to learn more about these interesting and charming people.

1 comment:

  1. We've got to meet them!!! He sounds fascinating and Nancy would be interested in the Guatemalan part of the story.