A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Luís Miranda - The Best Uncle I Ever Had
Saturday, April 21, 2007

Luis Miranda was born in Manila and he was my grandfather Tirso de Irureta Goyena's first cousin. He was also related to him in some other way.

Ever since I first saw him in 1952 when Tío Luís moved with his family from Manila to Buenos Aires he was my favourite uncle even though he was always trying to make me eat. By the time we followed him to Mexico City and when I got married to Rosemary the nagging of not having eaten enough was transfered to her. In Mexico City as a young boy I loved going to Tío Luís's because he had a complete collection of Life Magazine from Pearl Harbour to Victory in the Pacific Day. I loved looking at the Sherman tank ads that boasted they had Buick Dynaflow transmissions. Tio Luis loved to tell me how Spanish galleons had sailed from Manila to Acapulco and transfered their cargo to move to Veracruz and from there to the magical city of Seville. It was Tío Luís who kept my Spanish in check as he spoke the most beautiful turn of the (20th) century Spanish which had been spoken in Manila. With my grandfather Tirso dead (I never met him) he was the only link to him besides my grandmother.

But Tío Luís is in today's blog for one important reason. He would be proud of me. In all the years that I knew Tío Luís I never understood why he liked opera and particularly the British variety. He often spoke of the Mikado and sang Madame Butterfly in the shower. He never tried to convince me about opera. Did he know I would go crazy for it someday? I was charmed by his opinion that going to the beach was over rated, "I hate going there as sand gets into my shoes."

In his day Handel operas were rarely staged. Abraham, Graham and John are coming for lunch today. We will then retire to the living room to listen to the Met live broadcast of the 3½ hour-long Julio Cesare. Wouldn't Tío Luís have been delighted?

In the picture here, he is with Rebecca's mother, my daughter Hilary when she was a few months old. Rebecca and Lauren will be with us today. I'll keep cool and like Tío Luís I will not proseltyze. But then Rebecca at 9 is smarter than her grandfather. She has seen Monteverdi's Orfeo and a Madame Butterfly rehearsal. Wouldn't Tío Luís have been proud of her?


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