And a good time was had by all:

The Zocalo is still occupied by the teachers. Hundreds of new booths have sprung up around the center, clogging streets and walkways. The governor appears to be helpless to control the violence in the countryside. Everything seems to be going to Hell in a handbasket. What are the gringos doing about it? We are partying down!

August, coming as it does between the July Guelaguetza and the patriotic celbrations of September, is usually pretty quiet around here, a time of rest and regeneration; but not for us, not this year. This year, we celebrated Diana’s 90th birthday.

On the 17th of August, we gathered – over 75 friends and family – at Restaurant Santo Sabor – conveniently located next door – for five hours of food, music, testimonials and fellowship. The photos in this issue were culled from hundreds taken by others. Enjoy!

[This was our party invitation.]

 

R.I.P., Aaron and Louise Bindman:

Sad news reaches us that old and dear friends Aaron and Louise passed on recently.

Because of health issues, they had returned to their home city of New Paltz a few years ago.

Lifelong progressives, being with the Bindmans was like being home, and  every time they closed up their Oaxaca (rented) house for the summer it was like a piece of us went with them. Through them, we met many of our elders: radical activists, also down for the winter, with histories of being jailed and vilified by congressional commities and the FBI for their refusal to conform. Aaron and Louise, who lived in Chicago in the 50s, were at the center of the desegregation of their neighborhood, and at one point held their ground while a howling mob threatened to burn down their house with them in it. To read about this incident, go to www.chicagoreader.com and search for “South Peoria Street”.

[Daughters Maya and Tamar, grand-daughter Tisha, daughter-in-law Irene, and great-grandson Aidan purchased and created the flower arrays, of which this happened to be my favorite.]

Aaron put himself through college working as a carpenter and union organizer, and retired decades later as the head of the department of Sociology at SUNY New Paltz. Louise worked as a teacher, school counselor, and social worker. After retirement, Aaron returned to his first love, sculpture, and his wood carvings were much praised. Louise, along with Diana, worked to raise money for the Casa Mujer (women’s house).

[Our neighbors Luz Daniela and Jaime led the crowd in the traditional Mexican tune “Las Mañanitas”, sung at birthdays and other celebrations. Dani was born after we moved in here so we’ve known her all her life. We had a door-prize drawing, and she won the spoon…]

Aaron and I were the SRO act for a Saturday or two of Helen Hines’ “This is Not a Library event”:gatherings on the IAGO patio that went on during the “Season”. We talked about the state of political and cultural life in Oaxaca. Mostly, we answered questions, and disagreed much. It was fun.

Of the characters or characterizations mentioned herein, many have preceeded Aaron and Louise. I guess I’d better get back to writing my memoirs…

[That’s daughter Maya on the right, and Maya’s daughter Tisha. It seemed like everyone had a camera. All in all, there were twelve family members present…]

Time to call it a day:

After 18 years of writing and publishing the Oaxaca / Mexico Newsletter, I’ve had it. It’s been fun, it’s been tedious, it’s been financially useful, but most of all, over the last few months, it’s been tedious.

I will no longer accept new subscriptions, nor will I ask for renewals. I will honor all outstanding subscrptions: 12 issues, no matter how long it takes.This will be the last e-mail issue. All new issues will be posted directly to the website, and anyone who wants to can access them, including current issues. Those whose subscriptions have not run out will continue to receive an email notice when something is posted.

[Cousin Nell, her husband Michael, and Dr. Alberto “Doc Box” Zamacona provide some down-home music. Grandson Ben joined them as well. Nell and Michael are from Nashville, and play in “The Shelby Bottom String Band”. Check them out on youtube.]

In addition, I will soon discontinue my weekly “Orientation” sessions: 20 years of answering the same questions…

I do hope to finish my update of “Letters From Oaxaca”, and my expanded memoirs, and I will think about some ways I might still be useful without feeling trapped.

[Tony, our friend, neighbor, and host with the most, delivering hors deouvres. I think he had more fun than anybody. Along with Juan the chef, and their staff, he delivers delicious desayunos and comidas every day but Sunday. Special thanks to Susana Trilling for the main course estofado de pollo, and to Juan at PAN a.m. for two marvelous cakes]

Diana and I are grateful to all of you for your support, and to many of you for your friendship. Eventually, we will organize our photos, writings and scribblings into a permanent archive. You will be notified.

 

Thank you. Happy trails. Don’t forget to have fun.