Timeline of MY life!
The first thing I remember from my baby life was standing on my porch wearing a cute, little Mexican dress. I also remember moving to a lovely house with ivy on the sides! My mother always tells me the story of us walking into the house with the real-estate agent, me climbing up the stairs, and promptly falling down. Apparently the look on the agent’s eyes was hilarious!
I don’t remember much of my toddler life in class with Ms. Jantzi, other than that I loved it! In primary (Mrs. Barlow and Ms. Centeno) I had three best friends and we were inseparable! They were called Sydney, Kate, and Callista. During my time in primary, my parents divorced, I don’t really remember much, other than that it didn’t really bother me (even though my mom and I moved apartments every few months before settling into a great one!). Lower El wasn’t the best for me, but I learned how to do work and complete it on time! Upper El is where it started to get fun again! I was in Ms. Sherazade and Mrs. Frank’s class and we had a lot of fun!
Because my family is from Mexico, and my grandparents and cousins live there, I visit them every few months. Mexico is where my mother and I met David Ravelo and his daughter, Carla. Carla and I have become very close and have become almost-sisters! Just after this time, I found out that I loved acting, I started out at KD Studio, and have moved on to NC Studios, where I currently am, and love it!
Middle School is great because I have made a lot of new friends, and have become close with people who were once acquaintances! I really like my advisory, we always have a lot of fun. What I enjoy the most, is musical in the third trimester. It’s a fun way to hang out with friends while being crazy, acting, singing, and dancing.
This Christmas was really weird. My mother and I stayed in Dallas (we usually go to Mexico), because my grandfather had gotten sick and was in the hospital in Germany. We had fun, though! While my mother and I were stuck in Dallas, I ended up learning a lot about her/my family history. Because my grandparents had decided to sell their house in Germany, and they had a ton of family history (artifacts and photos, mostly), we asked them if we could have the photos and military artifacts. They said yes and they are now in my possession (I will put pictures of the artifacts and pictures up on this site, along with history)!
What do I value in myself and others?
Honesty- This is a big one, because I really don't think anyone likes being lied to, it's just not great.
Creativity- Pretty much just the fact that they are their own person with own ideas and beliefs is what I find really cool about someone.
Perseverance- Not giving up when others do, basically.
- Manners (if the situation calls for them)- Because, let's face it, sometimes, manners are just annoying, and sometimes, if you don't have them, YOU are the annoying one!
WARNING: Very, very lengthy.
1. What was it like growing up? What did you enjoy doing, playing, and reading?
From birth to six years old I lived in Mexico City in its glory days. I had cousins to play with, and I also played with the children of the Help in our house and the neighbors' houses. We played games, dolls with the girls, sidewalk games, hopscotch. An uncle of mine lived next door and he had a wonderful train set and he and I would play with that. I had a bike and biked around the big garden My parents divorced when I was two and my mother rented out the dance studio she had in the ground floor of our house to make some money. She rented it to a kindergarten, so I just had to go downstairs to get to school! Needless to say I was usually late because I did not want to go!
Then we went to England, and lived in London for the first two years with my mother's new husband. It was a big change, a new Dad and a new country. The kids made fun of me because I said "flashlight" instead of "torch" and "bathroom" instead of "lavatory", and they spoke funny. It was exciting to have my first ride in a red double-decker bus and the "tube".
Then we bought a big old (parts of it four hundred years old) house in a really pretty country village outside London. Everything was perfect for a while. I went to a local school, had friends at home and at school. We climbed trees, rode tractors, rode our bikes in the country lanes around the village, played with our dogs. I read all kinds of books - but there were adventure books by a British author called Alistair Maclean that I remember well. He wrote about World War Two and the Cold War, mainly, and the books were fun then. They were in a similar vein to Ian Fleming's books about James Bond.
BUT, when I was eleven I was sent to boarding school and I did not like it. The kids were mean and so were the teachers. I slept in a room with thirty other smelly boys - yuk! But the school was in a really beautiful place, right inside one of the biggest and loveliest cathedrals in the world, in Canterbury, and it was at The King's School, which is more than one thousand years old (yes really!!) that I first started reading about economics and politics and I have loved those subjects ever since. I did have some good buddies, and we would hang out and complain, mainly! I played squash, rugby, did a lot of cycling, some rowing and one night escaped over the cathedral walls, they were closed every night at six, to go to a rock and roll concert, which was forbidden, and then we climbed back over the wall and got back without being noticed. We thought we were just amazingly and utterly cool. For a while I was a real physics wiz.
Finally, I went to university in a really nice part of England - a city called Exeter in the county of Devon. Because I had not done so well at school, at University I worked really hard and did well. Every morning I would make a thermos of tea and take it with me to the library. Very British. I rented a house with two other friends (Francesca and Ian) a few miles outside of town in a pretty little village. To get hot water and cook we had to put coins in the electricity and gas meter in our house. Anyway, the really great thing about the house was that it was next door to a pub! I think the drinking age in England at the time was sixteen, by the way. I was a very serious young man and did not do much drinking then, and never have since, as you know, but it is a wonderful story, isn't it! Exeter was ten miles from the beach, and Ian and I gave a beach party toward the end of each spring/summer semester in return for all the invitations we got to other peoples' parties during the year. Not too much swimming though, since I doubt that the seawater ever reached sixty degrees!
2. What do you know about how your parents grew up?
My mother grew up in Mexico City with a brother and sister. For the kids it was wonderful. Her parents had been very poor to begin with, but by the time the kids were born they were fine. I guess my mother, who was very beautiful, had lots of admirers, but she was packed off to an all-girls school in Canada, far, far from the family. I think she had a rather glamorous life though, in general, and later on tried to get into movies.
My real father, Jim, whom you met once when you were little, grew up in Argentina. His father worked for an Anglo British company there called "Duperial" - a joint venture of DuPont from the US and Imperial Chemical Industries from Britain. He went to a public school in Argentina and says he used to play and fight with the local Argentinian kids. He says that the poverty of those kids affected him very deeply, and many years later he and his second wife, Julie, took part in many of the great stories of the civil rights movement in the United States in the 1960's. Anyway, while he was married to my mother they first lived in Mexico (which he did not like) and then moved to Connecticut (which was too cold for my mother). He went to Yale and graduated Summa Cum Laude in Chinese History (of all things!).
3. How much of your family history do you know?
Well, there are two families, of course, my mother's and my father's (Jim's), and then in fact a third - my step-father's - about which I know almost nothing. My mother's family went out to Mexico over the course of the nineteenth century. A man called "Phillips" went out in 1797 and started Mexico's insurance industry, and there is still an "Edificio Phillips" in downtown Mexico City. The Hamers went out in the 1870's and were involved in the textile industry, and later generations built many of the Mexican railroads, the oil industry and ports like Salina Cruz and Coatzacoalcos (which are on the two sides of the Mexican Isthmus (Tehuantepec) and used to transship goods from the Pacific side to the Atlantic side before the Panama Canal was built. My grandfather went out after the first world war (he of pretty nurse chasing fame!) and worked in a silver mine before taking correspondence courses (studies by mail, before there was the Internet) and getting a job as the manager of the British owned cement company that I have already mentioned. Several books have been written about the British in Mexico, of which your family was a big part, and you can read them one day if you like.
I know very little about my father's history, except that he is from New England, where he still lives, and his family claims ancestors who came out to the Massachusetts Colony in a ship called the Arabella, which, to those New Englanders who still think about such things, is considered a spiffier ship for ones' ancestors to have come over on than the Mayflower. On the other hand, so many generations later, presumably all New Englanders have ancestors who came over on the Mayflower, and all New Englanders have ancestors who came over on the Arabella. Jim's mother, Dorothy Lawrence, was from a Christian Science family.
My step-father Brian comes from an Irish family called Leary, but about them, as I say, I know very little. You should ask him one day. So should I.
My Mother's Side
Recently, my grandparents sold their house in Germany and moved to Mexico full-time. In this old house they had kept a lot of family heirlooms, that my grandfather had taken out of his old house in Germany as WWII was going on. Sadly, in the move, they had to sell some of these objects, but they kept the important documents (such as the document that declares that the family is cleared of all Nazi-related things and have nothing to do with those beliefs anymore (I'll attach a picture of this paper at the bottom). They also left us the medals that my Great-grandfather had received during the wars that he fought in (I will attach pictures at the bottom of some of the medals that haven't to do with the Nazis, because I don't care much for those).
In spite of my family being forced to fight for the Nazis (mind you, they only fought in battles, and had nothing to do with the other extreme human rights abuses that happened during that war), I think it is very interesting that during that time, if you were part of the Wehrmacht, you had no choice to back out, and were forced to fight for something you didn't believe in.
Anyways, I found a short Wikipedia page on my Great-grandfather last week, so here is the link:
One of the medals that my Great-grandfather received (from WWI most likely).
The document that removed any allegiance to Nazism.
My grandparent's wedding, almost 60 years ago!
My Grandmother, Grandfather, Mother, and Aunt about to board a plane to Germany.
A family photo of my Grandmother, Grandfather, Mother, and Aunt in Distrito Federal, Mexico.