Dr. Cuate. Paging, Dr. Cuate.

During our trip to Calexico, we were able to visit with my mom’s first cousin, Leonardo. This Leonardo is Tio Ruben’s son. I had many questions for him. One was to inquire about the cousin, Dr. Leonardo Sepulveda. This doctor was Tia Maria’s son who was supposed to have moved to Mexicali to start his practice.

I have been chatting with Dr. Sepulveda’s cousin from his father’s side. Her name is Sara. She is a delightful woman. She is in her late 80s, but she is full of life. I admire her very much. Her kindess to my familial inquiries has been delightful.

She had mentioned that her mother, Elipidia Villalovos Aguirre, was half-sister to Hipolito. At one time, her mother went to see Dr. Sepulveda, but he was rude and didn’t want to chat with his aunt. That made me sad, so I decided further inquiry was needed.

So sitting in Leonardo’s home in Calexico, I brought up this subject.

“I’ve been told that your cousin Dr. Sepulveda was in Mexicali with a pediatric office. Did you ever see him? Know him?”

Leonardo’s wife looked at me. “Well, of course!”

I stared back at her. “Really? What can you tell me about him?”

“He’s dead.”  She smiled, and I cautiously laughed.

“No, really. Did you see him much?” My mouth had a difficult time speaking these words because it had dropped to the floor.

Apparently, yes. Dr. Sepulveda was a pediatrician in Mexicali. These two took all of their children to see him throughout their childhoods. WHAT???

They called him “Cuate.” I must have looked puzzled. (Again, my deep shame of not knowing Spanish). “You know,” she said “because he was a twin.” I nodded my best confident nod.

According to http://www.spanishdict.com, Cuate means twin in Mexican and Central American Spanish. Lovely.

She continued that he had been married twice. His first wife, Alicia Vildosola, was quite pretty. He had three daughters by her. Then she died. He remarried his nurse and possibly had two more children with her. With a side glance she mentioned that Dr. Sepulveda was also an “enamorado,”or a “lover.” I think this was a bit of gossip and a bit of truth.

I sat there in silence. All of this information was wonderful. “What’s wrong?” she asked me.

How could I express my shock and dismay and outrage and sadness at that moment? The radius of the Calexico/Mexicali area isn’t very big now. In the 1950s, it had to be smaller. And yet, my mom never met her cousin, Dr. Sepulveda. Or any of his, if they had dropped by to say “hola.” The outrage!

Then I contemplate these days. After my grandfather died, many in the family never got together again for holidays. Familial disputes, moving, simply ‘not enough time’ managed to get in the way of family seeing each other. I am grateful for email and Facebook in that I get to see my cousins again and their children. Here is to hoping we all “friend” those family we’ve lost along the way. Even if they are just in our own backyard.

PS – And while this post sounds so calm, for a week I would outburst “Cuate!” Which sounded more “Kwah-tay!” The whole concept of him being close enough to get to know was SO disturbing. See? I’m wound up all over again!

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