My Place Under the Sun - Part 1
My Place Under the Sun - Part I
Marta Graciela Sanchez Rivera de Moritzky
She weighs less than 100 pounds and doesn't even come up to my shoulders. She has a nice personality and most everyone likes her. I'm happy that she still loves me. Not long after we were married and Karla was still a baby, a police officer in the State of Mexico made the mistake of stopping us and trying to extract the famous 'mordida'.. As Chela held the baby in her arms, a crowd gathered as she gave the police officer more hell than he had ever bargained for. Finally he was pleading with me to take her away. I shrugged my shoulders, helplessly threw up my hands and replied, "I can't do anything with her", enjoying every minute of it. It was a rare occasion.
Maybe it all started one night around 15 years ago. I was returning from Tecate, Mexico (a little border town in Baja, where they make the beer). I was on one of those old two lane back-roads, in a hilly, sun-baked, desolate part of Southern California. In those days I was single, in my mid-fifties, and usually drove an old Cadillac or pick-up truck, dressed in jeans, an old Stetson and western boots.
It was time to get something to eat, so I stopped at a country restaurant with a few trees around it. I was enjoying my meal when something happened that I have never forgotten. A rancher walked into the restaurant. He was maybe in his early seventies, tall and gaunt, blue eyes, and pinkish white skin , like it had just been scrubbed. He dressed like an old rancher; blue jeans, white shirt buttoned at the neck, and a western style hat. I don't remember whether he was wearing boots, but probably he did. He looked healthy and well cared for, and despite his apparent age, he looked like he could still do an honest day's work…and probably did. At his side was a Mexican woman, somewhat matronly but attractive, and perhaps 20 or 30 years younger than he. They were quiet people. I was profoundly struck with what seemed to be a sense of dignity, and respect, love and caring that they shared. Maybe it was because I had been married and divorced twice and was lonelier than I realized, but I have never forgotten them.
Later, in more-or-less the same period of my life, I decided that I needed to get married again and try to do something right, for a change. I dated a lot of women (which was out of character for me) both Mexican and American, and in the process met Chela. She was a lot younger than I and all my friends thought I was crazy when I decided to ask her to marry me. But I was in love with her, and when I cleared my head and thought about it, I figured that she was the only one who could cope with the Moritzky character over a long period of time and an uncertain future. I don't always make good decisions. It looks like I did that time.
We have been married almost 15 years and have five children. The other night, as I held her in my arms, she said, "I think I love you more than anything in the world". If it came right down to it, I guess I would do anything, rather than lose her.
Night before last we watched a video together, " Fools Rush In". (It isn't as dramatic as it sounds.) It is about a young guy from New York City and a Mexican girl working in Las Vegas, who finally, after a lot of traumatic experiences, get married. I recommend it . It says a lot, as well as being entertaining.
I guess there are about as many different personalities as there are people. People ask me what it is like living in Mexico. I know what is like for me, but could only make a wild guess as to what it would be like for someone else. The same is true about marriage. It seems the first thing to do is to try and know yourself. Then try to know the other person. Then think about it. And, if you do get married and want to stay married, it takes a lot of love and understanding. I think that is pretty much true with any marriage, regardless of nationalities or cultural traits.
Try to find the video.