by Bill- 1998-08-09
In August, Don rode his motorcycle from Nashville to Denver. He wouldn't say why or what he did while in Denver. All we know is that he returned to Nashville a week later, but only stopped for a quick chiropractic adjustment before continuing south to Florida.
"I want to be there when the boat people arrive," he shouted over his shoulder as his rear tire flung gravel in this reporter's face. Luckily, this reporter was wearing safety goggles, as usual.
[Okay, so that bit about his going to Florida was a complete fabrication. A lie, if you will. We've got to stop doing that. All a newspaper/newsletter has, really, is its credibility. If you lose that you've lost everything. Of course, this newsletter never had any credibility. Never had it, never will. But, still ...]
Actually, by the time Don returned to Nashville his wife Diane's parents were in town, and Don and Diane spent the next few days entertaining them. When they ran out of strange and unusual things with which to keep the parents entertained, they brought Bill over as a sort of curio.
If you've never met Diane's parents, Bill and Ann Debs, you should go visit them. Right now. Drop whatever you're doing and drive on up to Kingston, New York. They live in Buffalo, but if you drive to Kingston they'll meet you there.
Not to be outdone by Don, Lucy and a friend [whose name escapes us] packed up a few dogs and drove from Livingston, CA to Vancouver, B.C., Canada in their constant search for a dog show blue ribbon. "The drive up there was nice," said Lucy. "We passed through Seattle. Now that's a beautiful city. I wouldn't mind living there ..."
Yeah, yeah, but what about the dog show? we asked. On this subject, Lucy was a little more reluctant to talk, if you can believe it. Finally, she blurted it out.
"The judge hated us!" she barked (no pun intended). "He hated us, our dogs, and the bus we rode in on! He hated our dogs so much, he spat on them! Can you believe that? I think he did, anyway. He might've just been drooling. He was a weird guy."
Well, it seems everyone was driving long distances over the summer. And that includes Lionel and Eleanor Holmes, collectively known as "Elnli" because of their personalized license plates. They drove from Sacramento, CA, to Washington, D.C., via Nashville, TN.
First on their list of "to do's" while in Nashville, of course, was to visit and pay homage to this newsletter's world famous headquarters. They stopped by, looked around a bit, glanced at their watches, and said: "Well, time to go."
From Nashville, they drove north along the Appalachian Trail to witness yet another, slightly less famous spectacle, the Fall Foliage. The turnaround point of their long drive was Washington, D.C., our nation's capital, where Mr. Holmes presented the Library of Congress with all the past issues of his Portuguese-American newsletter, O Progresso.
No kidding! The Library of Congress asked for the entire collection, and Mr. Holmes drove all the way across the country to deliver it personally! [We didn't have the heart to tell him that FedEx would have been faster, cheaper and easier.] But anyway, we here at this newsletter are very happy for him. Heck, we're just plain excited in general, for we know that now it's just a matter of time before the Library of Congress asks us for the entire collection of this newsletter! The FBI already has the entire collection, of course, but it wasn't exactly an "honor" when they asked for it.
The following article appeared recently in the Orange County edition of the Los Angeles Times:
"... At least she and her best friend, Aileen, also a junior at FVHS [Fountain Valley High School], can count on one free show a week somewhere. In the warmer months, there are three or more. They usually happen after school, on weekend afternoons and less frequently on a Friday evening ... [blah, blah, blah]
"Aileen, 15, usually learns about such shows from college radio. A poet and bassist, she believes more clubs should take a chance with all-age shows, providing they're strict with drinking laws.
"'We'd be more open-minded about music,' she says about her fellow high-schoolers. 'The media tell us what's in. But we should be able to decide for ourselves. There are local bands that will never get airplay. We should have the option of knowing about these bands so we can decide for ourselves.'"
[picture missing (lucky for her)]
See? She's dancing. So what if you can't recognize her in the picture?
His itinerary was as follows:
"I really had a good time," said Doug upon his arrival in Sacramento. "I even learned the language a little more and was able to understand a few things."
"How many languages do you speak now?" we asked.
"Oh ten or twelve," Doug replied. "I've lost track. I can't say I can actually talk to anyone yet, but I suppose my combination of Spanish and Portuguese is useful enough to get me around. Still, my Hungarian is way better than my Portuguese."
"You have a Hungarian and a Portuguese? Where do you keep them?!"
"Huh?" he looked confused for a minute. "Well, anyway, you probably already know that I will be teaching a free Portuguese genealogy class at the LDS [Latter Day Saints/Mormon Church] soon."
"Now I see where you get your bigamist tendencies."
"What are you talking about!?" Doug shouted, looking genuinely distressed.
"Nothing. Never mind. You were saying?"
"So anyway, I had a few more people write me letters expressing their interest so I have about 8 or 9 people for it now. I have enough raw material with me to keep me busy for a solid month on my Portuguese genealogy, if I had the time! One family I met on my trip is from Piedade, Pico, where our Leal da Roza ancestry is from. He is the one that moved to Chile and married there before moving to Angra, Terceira. Well, this family had lived in Toronto for many years and his two high school-aged daughters were born there. His father was also using the surname of Leal da Rosa (the old spelling was Roza) but he decided to drop the Leal because he already has a middle name and it would be too long."
"What?" we asked. "I thought they liked them long. The longer the better. You know, like Maria Gonzales Geraldo Conchita de la Guadalajara. Or something."
"That's about the stupidest thing I've ever heard. In fact, it almost sounds racist! Are you a racist?"
"How can I be a racist? It's my ancestry, too, that we're talking about here, you know."
"Well, actually ..." Doug paused.
"What?" we asked.
"No. Nothing. I promised."
"You promised what?"
"I'll tell you later," said Doug. [To find out what Doug promised, see Broken Promise, A Family Saga, page 5.]
"So, where were we? Oh yeah, I haven't checked yet, but this guy ..."
"The da Rosa guy."
"Yeah. He's a 5th cousin or so. I suppose I could find any person in Piedade and trace their ancestry to find we connect to them. In fact, I found that Denise Silva's [Steve's wife] Silva ancestry came from Piedade before moving to Angra, Terceira. This is a new discovery. So, Denise may be a cousin. I'll determine this in the next few months, I suppose."
"Are you saying Steve married his cousin?! I thought they only did that in East Tennessee."
"I'm not saying that," Doug shot back. "I just said it's possible."
He then continued on unabated, as usual. "Another cousin I met, Teresa, is the daughter of one of José Leal Armas's kids. She's 12 or 13, and she was such a nice little girl. Her mother was in Germany at the time, so she was staying with her grandpa (Armas) where I was staying. She really likes heavy metal music and The Doors. Her birthday is on the 28th of this month (October), so I plan to buy her a CD, probably Bruce Springsteen's 'Born to Run.' I think she'll like it."
"Wait a minute," we interrupted. "You just said she was a heavy metal and a Doors fan, right?"
"So, if she's a Doors fan why are you buying her a Bruce Springsteen CD?"
Doug ignored the question and changed the subject. "It's really funny to see the effect that American music has on the whole of Europe. I really had to crack up when I heard Portuguese-language 'rap' music! I can imagine the comments if I could get a local DJ to play it in the U.S.!"
"Maybe Mike [Doug's and this reporter's "deejay" nephew] will play it?" we suggested.
"Yeah!" said Doug. "Let's get Mikey!"
"Naaah. On second thought, he won't play it. He hates Portuguese rap. He specifically told me that once."
Above is that wacky crew of mystery Science Theater 3000. From left to right, "Tom Servo" a.k.a "the gumball machine"; Joel; and "Crow" a.k.a "the jai-alai guy." This is basically what Jinx and Jan of Los Angeles drew for us several months ago (the one we lost).
How about this Pepsi and Coke gimmick of "freshness dating" their sodas? Is that a joke or what? Everyone knows that stuff has a half-life of 3,000 years! Freshness dating, my eye!
And how about this pop music group, "The Spin Doctors"? Every one of their songs sounds the same! And they're as obnoxious as the breed of political hacks they took their name from!
The opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the newsletter, its staff, or even the person stating the opinion.
Dog show judge spitting on one of Lucy's dogs
Did you hear about this? What a story! From what we've been able to gather, several weeks ago a small airplane flew over the White House, then over The mall, then turned around and aimed right at the White House. As it cruised toward the White House, witnesses heard no plane noise because the pilot had shut his engine off. (It's fairly obvious he was attempting a kamikaze dive on the White House.)
What is slightly strange is that an explosion was heard just before the plane crashed, but there was no fire after it hit the ground. It's also been reported that White House security guards have shoulder-mounted missile launchers available for their use. [Which is no big deal, really. Our reporters have those.] We figure the security guards blasted the plane out of the sky with one of their missile launchers. Of course, the White House would never admit to that. They're quoted, in fact, as saying that they did not fire upon the airplane. We don't believe it. And isn't it curious that the president and his family just "happened to be" staying across the street because of "construction work being done" in the White House?
Gee whiz, you think maybe somebody was trying to kill the president? We say yes. You be the judge!
(Excerpted from an extensive and exhaustive interview between Doug and this reporter, who shall remain anonymous for the sake of anonymity.) In the previous episode, Doug and this reporter were discussing their joint heritage:
"Well, actually ..." Doug was saying.
"What?" this reporter asked.
"No. Nothing. I promised."
"You promised what?"
"I promised never to tell. Everyone did."
"Everyone who? What the hell are you talking about?"
"Well, you might as well know," Doug finally gave in. "You're old enough now to know the truth. A little emotionally unstable maybe, but still ..."
"And what truth is that?"
"You were adopted."
"Hyaa, right!" [Hyaa (huh-yaa) adv., as in "ha" and "yeah" combined. The sarcastic or unbelieving version of "yeah."]
"No, it's true," Doug replied. "It's a long story, but ... well, here goes. When Dad and Mom lived in New York, they met and befriended this band of gypsies. Gypsies were pretty common back then in upstate New York. Anyway, Dad and Mom fed these gypsies during the winter and let them sleep out on the back porch.
"Things were fine for a while. But eventually Dad just got sick of those gypsies hanging around all the time. You know, playing those weird musical instruments all gypsies have; singing those irritating songs all gypsies sing. You know how gypsies are.
"So, anyway, Dad put in a request with his boss to be transferred to the firm's branch office in Brazil. Of course, they didn't have a branch office in Brazil, but his boss said okay anyway and Dad, Mom and the two kids moved to Brazil. The whole thing was just an excuse to get away from those damned gypsies!
"It worked, too, until Dad moved the family back to the States a few years later. He thought he was being smart by moving to California this time so there would still be three thousand miles between him and the gypsies. But, well, you know how gypsies are. They have their little network of spies, and it wasn't long before they found the family again.
"By the time they found us, though, there were six kids, with me being the last legitimate one, of course. It was about a year and a half after that, with the gypsies hanging around that whole time, that they, the gypsies, suddenly just disappeared. Gone. Poof. Never to be seen again. But then, who could blame them after what they did just before disappearing?"
"What did they do?" this reporter asked, hanging on every word.
Doug snickered. "They left behind a little 'memento.'"
"A memento? What's so terrible about leaving a memento ..." this reporter paused as the realization hit him. "That 'memento' was ..."
"You!" Doug finished the sentence.
This reporter sat there a moment in disbelief.
"That's right, buddy boy," Doug started to gloat. "On the morning of November 2, 1960, Dad almost stepped on you on his way out of the house for work. You were on the front porch, all swaddled up in Indian blankets, turning blue from the cold, the same color you're turning now, actually ..."
"Wait! That can't be right!" this reporter protested. "I was born November first, not the second! You've got it all wrong! And 'Indian blankets'? I thought you said they were gypsies. What are they doing with Indian blankets?"
"Hey, it was California. Indian blankets are a dime a dozen. And as to the date," Doug continued, "well, yes, you were born on November 1. It's just that Dad didn't find you until the next morning."
"Which would've been the 2nd. Point well taken."
"Those rotten gypsies had left you on the porch all night. You're lucky you didn't die!"
This reporter then struck a thoughtful pose and said, "So I'm adopted, huh?"
"Well, not really adopted, actually. Not officially, anyway."
"But I have a social security number."
"Pfft," Doug scoffed. "Those too, my friend, are a dime a dozen. Didn't you watch '60 minutes' a few weeks ago. They had a story about false papers ..."
"I've got to find out who my real parents are."
"Why?" Doug asked. "They were just a bunch of gypsies. They probably don't even know who's responsible."
"But, I've got to know! I've just got to know!"
Stay tuned for the next installment of: Broken Promise, A Family Saga (This Reporter's Desperate Search)