The missing volume that I happily repatriated to the “México” section was “Peregrina,” Alma Reed’s account of her years in México and her love affair with the governor of Yucatán in the 1920s. I discovered “Peregrina” hiding underneath a big coffee table book, “Italian Painting.” If I didn’t know that books cannot teleport, I would suspect that Alma had decided to take a little holiday and placed herself there. Or maybe she had an argument with her shelf-mate Frida Kahlo?
In Yucatán, Ms. Reed is considered to be one of the classic femmes fatales. Governor Felipe Carillo Puerto, by most accounts, had been on his way to an assignation with her when he was ambushed and killed by political rivals. The story of Alma and Felipe can hold its own next to the country’s other mythical romances like: Frida and Diego, La Malinche and Cortez, and Carlota and Maximiliano.
Mexico’s history is peppered with women like Alma. Whether they were born in the country, or arrived as young women looking for adventure, they created a genre all their own. Passion was the warp thread, and bravery, the weft that wove their life tapestries. What made them this way?
I believe the culprit to have been the little gypsy – that quiet but insistent voice we all have inside… the one that challenges us to be more than we are. The little gypsy tells us we should paint, act on stage, or write books or learn to Tango. She doesn’t insist, but if we don’t pay her heed, she makes us feel dissatisfied with ourselves.
When we listen to her, she opens up our hearts and souls, and gives us the unique experiences that we forever after repeat, relive and relish. For the rest of our lives, we are changed.
And the little gypsy loves México. Here, where its warm, where music swirls all around, where bold color is the only kind of color and sensuous textures surround us… she whispers and waits for us to listen and let her out.
Photos: My thanks to Google Images…