Coatepec and Rain October 1/22

A return to that beautiful town in the eastern Sierra Madres of Veracruz state, and the amazing Contreras family. Jim and I met them when we went there in the early nineties — we had just picked out the town of Coatepec at random — up in the mountains above Veracruz — and rented a hotel room while we looked for someplace to rent. One day during the almost-daily rain Jim ducked into a doorway and Elvia (biology teacher, escuela segundaria) opened the door and said ‘Come in and get out of the rain’! This story has been told many times.

There are four brothers and a sister, all of them very accomplished —Julio the architect, Elvia, a teacher, Jaime with his doctorate in Electrical Engineering and Fermin, also an engineer, Jose Luis who has gone into insurance (I think). And Ramiro, also an architect, who died twenty years ago RIP. At any rate, back then we were all in our forties and fifties and now we are all in our sixties and seventies. Such a great reunion! They know all our family, we know all their family …I flew down with my stepson Jim Jr. and DIL Nadine

Dinner and Luz and Julio’s house —Luz in in orange, she’s a dentist, and Elvia to far left.

They had been many times to visit us in San Antonio, and this was a time when Jim and Elvia and I drove out to west Texas and ended up spending Christmas eve in the Catholic church in — I think — Van Horne — no it was Sanderson… the priest was Vietnamese and incomprehensible and I kept asking Elvia, is he speaking Spanish? many years, many crazy adventures …

Elvia and the brothers’ dad was alive when we first knew them and we ended up going to sit at his wake… a wonderful man..

Elvia inherited the Contreras villa and lives there now, Julio (the architect) designed this beautiful library and stairs for her

(Library above — Elvia with our picture below)

And their kids have grown up, our grandkids have grown up, all starting families of their own — Julio and Luz’ kids, Mariana is a lawyer and married with two kids, Julio Joven is a veterinarian working for Pfizer in Canada, also married with two kids, Cecilia is the principal of an elementary school in Coatepec … time has gone galloping on like a racehorse. Jaime’s daughters — one is in England and married to an Englishman with a new baby, the other is in banking — they were tiny when we first met them. Jaime worked on Mexico’s only nuclear power station at El Farallon, this was 20 years ago, we got to visit him there, very interesting, great people.

But, back to this visit — I got to stay in the beautiful Ortiz villa (Luz’s family) just across the street from the Contreras villa and Mariana told me the most delightful stories about the place.

This is it— repainted and reconditioned except for the second story which I will get to directly.

This was my room — so restful!

Here’s Julio, at the Ortiz finca. Julio Joven and I rode out of there twenty years ago up into the mountains, on a couple of lovely Arabs, pictures of which I will include another time.

This is Orizaba in the background — 19,000 feet, volcanic cone, exceptionally beautiful.

And Elvia found this picture of me in an album which I am including because it is so flattering and I am a sucker for flattery. There. I said it.

More tomorrow on the mysterious and ancient Ortiz Villa, The Pink Palace, which Luz and Mariana insist is salmon and in fact it is indeed salmon!

Beautiful Gala, Mariana’s oldest daughter. She was waiting while we were getting some coffee ground. It’s like a Vermeer painting.