It was really mere Serendipity that selected San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, when I concluded my latest solo, around the world trek in late 2018.
I was in Hanoi, Vietnam, planning to travel on to China, Siberia, Russia, South Korea and Japan, when I learned that my sister, Ann, faced pancreatic surgery. Suddenly, family ties kicked in and I decided to head home immediately. I first had lovely visits in Colorado with my daughter and family; and then, with my sister in Lakeland, Florida. She’s two years younger, but considerably taller.
Ann’s treatment is going well, so I looked around Florida, where I have spent so many years of my life, and decided to leave The States for more adventurous and less-expensive regions. Suddenly, the name of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, popped into my head and I bought a plane ticket and reserved a bunk in a hostel here; knowing that I had been very impressed on my only other visit here a few years ago at the beginning of my third around-the-world trip from which I had just returned.. I hadn’t thought about it since, but, suddenly, it sounded like a great “near-to-home-but-not-too-close” solution.
Little did I know, that this metal bust would change my viewpoint…. and my reputation! You see, my maiden name was Linda Jeanne Dickinson! My father was Russell Dickinson, descendant of a long line of New England Dickinsons, sea captains, for whom I have a record back to the 1640’s, when the first, Samuel Dickinson, sailed to Amherst, Massacheusetts from England. Though the San Miguel early expat, Stirling Dickinson, moved here from Chicago in 1937, his family roots were also in New England. So, I claimed him straight away!
The bust and some huge murals represent that Stirling Dickinson, who established the beautiful Biblioteca: the large local library; two great art institutes: Bellas Artes and the Instituto Allende, two baseball teams and a stadium, lots of orchids….something like 2000 varieties which he had collected worldwide and many now-prosperous local families to whom he had provided a university education. I claimed him as my long-lost Tio Stirling!
This week I became the surviving family member when the city honored him and several others in this city’s “Faces Of The Past” Ceremony.
So, within such a short time, I have settled-in,and have taken up my honorary post as Uncle Stirling’s niece. I even live near to his most visible monument: Calle (Street) Stirling Dickinson.
Who could imply that this brand-new city hasn’t been waiting for me all along? That proverbial “End of the road” is even fully-equipped with friends I haven’t met yet? Every day this proves to be the case… with huge hugs, followed by: “Hello darling! What’s your name?”
It feels like a long time has passed (Yup! Three months!) since I posted those photos of my new homebase here in Mexico: San Miguel de Allende, a lovely small town in upper, central Mexico. Life has been beautifully busy since then, beginning with the annual Writer’s Conference, which has gained a huge reputation for itself in the past fifteen years. I chose to attend “The Whole Enchilada” which meant five very-active days of attending lectures and workshops given by some of the world’s best writers. I hauled out one of my most exciting screenplays to use as my work-in-progress to review and consult with agents and, generally, seek to improve. This is a big-screen, sea saga that I wrote from an actual manuscript written by my father, who experienced the back-to-back South Pacific voyages of two famous vessels: The Cimba and The Seth Parker, on which he served as Second Mate. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong on the voyage between Pago Pago, American Samoa and Honolulu, Hawaii, and the crew had to mutiny to arrive safely into port. I knew I had a great story and a well-written script and was anxious to pitch it to the right agent. So, I signed up and paid extra to pitch Anna Geller, only to be told at the end of my presentation, that the conference was only able to deal with books and not filmscripts! Bummer! But, at least, The Insatiable Sea is back at the front of the pack and I will pay more attention to it, and my eight other screenplays, now that I have a real writing office and am not living out of my backpack. Sigh! The life of a Writer! At least, I met many of my contemporaries and members of the Literary Sala here, most of whom put on this very professional conference. I’m surrounded by excellent company and many already-good friends.
And that was true during my recent travels on my way to Mexico. Backpacking, hosteling, out on the world trail produces this kind of beautiful, but fleeting, friendship!
But first, consider this: would you eat one of these, mystery meats, just to fit into a new society? I passed on them, myself and haven’t seen their like, here in Mexico. Hence, I have no idea what Rat tastes like!
HAPPY MARCH 3rd, 19TH BIRTHDAY TO MY DEAR GRANDAUGHTER, MOLLY! I WAS ALSO TRAVELING IN ASIA THIS TIME LAST YEAR FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY. YOUR GIFT WILL BE MAILED PRETTY SOON AND WILL HAVE PRESENTS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY, AS IT WAS THEN. LOVE YOU ALL!