Penthouse playmate


WITH ABOUT 85 percent of one’s life lived, it’s easy to focus more on the past than the future. I tend to do this especially at 5:30 in the morning.

Two periods in my life stand out as being particularly tasty. During both I was living in the Latin world, and during both I was living with Latin women. I married the second, but not the first though I considered it.

I drank a lot.

The second, of course, is my current, third and final wife who is Mexican and was a civil engineer. The first was Argentine and was a hooker. I rescued her from a life of sin. She found work as a legitimate waitress, and we cohabited in a penthouse atop a five-story apartment building overlooking the sea in Old San Juan in the early 1970s.

Readers who’ve hung around here for a spell have heard all this before — do forgive — but the focus today is the top photo, which I do not think I’ve posted previously. I could be mistaken, but no matter.

I have the memory of a tree trunk.

I do not recall who snapped the top photo. We rarely had visitors there on the roof. There was no elevator up the five floors and the stairwell risers were not uniform, making it an arduous ascent.

We tended to go out no more than twice a day. Once was to go to work — mine at the newspaper and hers at the restaurant, both night jobs — and then there was the second descent for whatever, groceries, lunch.

The likely photographer was Luis Muñoz Lee, a good friend and the son of Luis Muñoz Marín, the “George Washington” of modern Puerto Rico. Muñoz Lee was an artist and he also worked with me on the newspaper out on the John F. Kennedy Highway.

Luis, like me, was quite taken with the Argentine who was not your typical ex-hooker. She was very bright and incredibly rebellious.

She was just 20, and we fussed a lot.

In the top photo, the door to the left was the entrance from the stairwell. The door I’m leaning against, wearing my knockout bell bottoms, was the living room door. I was just inside that same door facing the opposite direction in daylight when I snapped the photo below.

Things come back to you at 5:30 a.m. If you’re lucky, you have photos.

And if you’re really lucky, you have people who will listen to you ramble on about them 40 years later.


18 thoughts on “Penthouse playmate

  1. Those were the days my friend…we thought they’d never end…a good time to be alive…I wish I had some pics, but my ex chose to discard ALL of them before I could rescue them…what a world…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Re “WITH ABOUT 85 percent of one’s life lived, it’s easy to focus more on the past than the future.” Hadn’t looked at it that way though I have a few on you so in my case it is about 87%. I try to minimize looking back but only because there’s so much I want to do with my, hopefully, 13%. E.g., travel before I start drooling, including another RV journey around Mexico and out west. Maybe Europe too. Also curious where internet technology will go. I’m amazed with where it is now in such a short period and cannot imagine what is next.

    As usual from you, another great thought-pondering post. Thanks.


    1. Steve: On the contrary, thanks go out to you.

      I arrived at the percentage by using age 80 as my checkout date. My father departed at 75, and my mother hung on till 90. Of course, one cannot know.

      As for “so much I want to do,” I do not have that emotion. Perhaps I did too much already. I just want to stay healthy and feeling good, and I’ve succeeded in that so far. I enjoy chilling.


  3. I missed my pre-dawn reverie this morning since I am trying to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. My dreams have been extraordinary since I started listening to videos of Deepak Chopra give lessons on meditation on YouTube before I go to sleep.

    The world may be going to hell in a handbasket. However, my primary focus is my life in Mexico every day and self-discovery.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Andrés: I get seven hours pretty much every night with no problem and no Deepak, and I awake refreshed for another day of chilling out.

      And yes, the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but not so much here on my mountaintop, which is nonetheless a good vantage point for observation.


  4. Those were good days, or rather good times. I am surprised that I survived. Growing up in The City was special. You knew people from high school who could get you out of a jam. The police were not afraid of being sued, so warnings were heeded. Both gas and beer were cheap.

    It was also before the influx of gazillions of people who have raised property values to the point that the average Joe cannot afford to live there, and simultaneously reducing parking, personal space and quality of life.

    I enjoy the time-travels back to that life. Even though it is a quick flashback, something always kicks me back to reality. I guess we should be thankful that we don’t permanently stay in that flashback.


    1. Tancho: If we don’t take care, we’ll start sounding like a bunch of old coots on park benches taking a break in the checker game to reminisce about the Good Old Days.

      For others not familiar with Tancho’s history, The City, of course, is San Francisco, California. That’s how San Francisco people think, that there is no other city in the world. Having visited there often in the early 1960s while stationed nearby in the Air Force, I can attest that it was a real swell place. I also know that it now, though still pretty, has gone straight to hell due to being populated entirely by clueless collectivists, most of whom are gay. Gay in itself is none of my concern but, alas, they do tend to be collectivists. It is sad, and I weep for them.


  5. I’m going to hit 80 a tad before you. I figure that’s about my cutoff date also. Monday I make my second, last, long ride on the bike, from Vancouver to Mazatlan, Mexico. In the spring I’ll ride up the Baja and back to Vancouver, and that should be it. I had to think about this a lot. I’ve lost way too many friends and acquaintances in the last few months, some to passing, some to Alzheimer’s, cancer’s on the list, so that was the tipping point. The ride will be a slow one as I won’t ever see these roads again and new memories need to be made and maybe a few old ones to be revisited. So, if you hear the roar of an old Harley at the back door, open it up, say hello. Hola, Roberto, would work also.


    1. I decided to check out my high school reunion website to see how many people had shown up for the last get-together. The classmate who put together the page also made a memorial to all those in our class who are deceased. I was shocked at how many of them had died, most of them in the last five years. The strange thing is that I remember sitting on the gym floor, playing an intense game of jacks with some of the girls who are now gone. I was telling mi esposo about this and so he checked his HS and found that HE was listed under the deceased. RIP, it said under his name, “gone but not forgotten.”


      1. Bonnie: So is hubby going to reveal to the class that the news of his departure is grossly premature? Maybe they figure that his moving to Mexico is the same as death. I got an email from a friend in Florida today. He said that the U.S. media was portraying Mexico as an endless war zone. What utter tripe.

        My 50th high school reunion took place in 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida. I did not attend, of course. They also made a website, a good one, and I too was rather surprised at the number of dead people. One, a kid I knew slightly, disappeared when his jet crashed in Laos during the Vietnam War, and he was never found. Strange stuff.


        1. Jacksonville, Florida. We used to live on the border, in St Mary’s Georgia, and spent a lot of time on Amelia Island. I loved Florida back then. Fernandina Beach was the perfect combination of beach town and the old south. Yes, mi esposo told his classmates that he was alive and kicking in Mexico. I think he likes to tell people he lives in Mexico to shock them, since everyone in the USA thinks Mexico is a hell hole. Our neighbor came over today. She is 91 and thinks she is dying (she blames her impending death on her 66-year-old son who smoked a cigar in the house). I bet she is the only one still alive from her HS class.


          1. Bonnie: I’ve spent sunny days at Fernandina a million times. North Florida was great when I lived there, which was 10 years, from 1952 to 1962.

            As for smoking a cigar in the house, of course, that is fatal. I feel for that old woman. If she’d only been a better mother.


    2. Bob: What’s with this 80 business? You and I both have hardly entered our 70s, and you’re already thinking 80? Time enough for that in the far future.

      So you are actually riding that thing that far, not pulling it on a trailer, which is what I would be doing. Even when I was a young whippersnapper, I could not take long rides. Of course, I had no namby-pamby back rest on my motorcycles, and I recall that you do. Must make a difference. But even so, a ride that long at any age would have required my being lifted off the bike with a front-end loader or crane of some sort.

      If I hear you out front, I’ll open the gate, but I’m a long way from Mazatlán.


  6. That second photo is really something. La Argentina was quite the knockout. I think Argentines are among the most beautiful people on earth. The men are stunning too, in case you hadn’t noticed.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we often wonder why we don’t go to Argentina. Probably too damn far away.


    1. Kim: She was something. I’ve long loved that photo. Like many Argentines, she is of Italian descent. She had white, white skin and freckles. Alas, she did not end so well. She found me on Facebook a couple of years ago, and time has not been kind to her appearance. She now runs a couple of taxis in Buenos Aires, on the up and up, however. She’s an affectionate granny.

      I too would like to go to Argentina, especially Buenos Aires, but — like you — the distance deters me and, I imagine, it always will.

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