CONSIDERING that thirty years went by, the accidental reader will have to forget the narrator as to exact dates, incidents, adventures since some of these were/are tainted
by the use of alcohol, herb or snort late in that period. Responsibly by the way.
The story could start meeting Fernando VerdeMonte in our basketall court in Savarona. He was the first negro, the only ones to move to EL VERDE, in Caguas, a cement/cinder blocks neighborhood inspired by those cookie mold by Levitt and sons, in Long Island, New York and Pennsylvania. Everybody else was sort of white, in the Caribbean you know how it goes. Most people en El Verde, had better jobs, education, some were doctors, had their business and so on. That was in the early
The sweet, nice mother, originally from Jamaica, not Queens, but the island in the West Indies. The father an engineer, dark handsome, without ego tripping treating us all, less fortunate friends of his children with a sense of good will without posing. They moved to the absurdly baptized Pais de Caguas, from Mayaguez in the
west of the island.
Namibia Verdemonte was their only daughter, dark chocolate, witty with a beautifull smile most of them had. Under her bra she certainly had a beautiful topography from what I could deduct, never to get a glimpse. But nothing was to develop from this early
adolescent desire. I found out from Pepota, my inlaw, that she passed away before her
time from cancer. I was a little sad. To know about her death, and the impossibility of the fantasy......
Luis Aviles, high yellow puerorican, grew up in one of the poorest shanty towns, EL MILLON, in CAGUAS. Our story teller lived in a house, perhaps two hundred meters away from the frontier, El Millon, but there were differences, real or imaginary.Three anecdotes are worthy to mention about this peckerhead.
He had no respect for private property. Once, during a basketball match in Villa Blanca, another cinder block housing project in the outskirsts, stole my bycicle
without any concern, returning it days later. Years went by, now both in college, he took me to his room, in some government housing, (project) to show off a pound of marihuana he got to sell.
We smoke a couple of spliffs... But yours truly had not much fun, thinking of the amount of years behind parallel bars I could get for being with the bastard, and such
amount of ganja in the seventies.
The last time our narrator saw LUIS AVILES, at the office of Dr. Hector Davila, this
yellow belly pretended not to see us. The doctor is a soft manered, well educated fellow, with great knowledge of music and other things, that our narrator met when he was fourteen or so. Tato, as his friends call him was developing young local basketball players in Caguas. After some time practicing they traveled to different and faraway towns to play in single elimination tournaments. From those years he always remembered the two essential rules. Shoot when alone, play as a group.
Almost forgot the third anecdote, Luis Aviles, also a teacher, was known for smoking herb with his classroom students at the school he was teaching at that time in GURABO CITY.
At any rate, Aviles, from el Millon, married Toyota's sister and procreated
some. Toyota got such nickname thirty years ago. His head got tremendous proportions and his eyes.. You got it..just like a Japanese. This fellow was a nice character. Great sense of humor, besides his unbelievable skills dribbling, shooting with both hands, the most beautiful jump shot from that era.
Well there was another guy, with a weird sense of humor, always mocking everyone/everything. TATY, was his nickname. Brother of Nestor and El Lobo, an abrasive, unfriendly mothersucker.
Nestor passed away in a tragic confrontation with one of Luis Aviles worthy constituents from el Millon. It took place in our basketball court right by the catholic
I was in sixth grade when it all happened.. Since the fellows from el Millon, except
Aviles were into horses, not basketball, they passed their time throwing glass bottles
in our court, no longer there. An argument erupted. Rene el Pirata, got a baseball bat
that the murderer took away from him, striking Nestor in the head. It was the second
peer death from those far away times.
Taty, to finish the story was the only one, since
Nestor was also one of the great players, to compete with Toyota skills wise. Even
though more than thirty years have gone by, those matches in SAVARONA, still come
live. The heat, the sweat, no Gatorade, plastic bottled water then, just water from the faucet.
Day after day, hour after hour. Practice, shooting, playing. There were no roofed basketball courts then. When it rained that was that. More than once there were hard falls
on the slippery surface. Nowadays there seems to be UGLY aluminun under roof courts with the appearance of chicken coops anywhere, but you hardly see anyone playing.
And what about Juan Rosario? Well that is a certainly weird, really weird fellow since he was young. Like Verdemonte, a chess fan, all of them were into it. I was the worst.
He is sort of the POPE in mision industrial, in Puerto Rico, never answers the email,
important as he is. Once in a while one will catch a glimpse of his mug, unkept beard,
hair, with the appearance of some cave man preacher from yesteryear in the newspaper or tv news.
All the names have been changed to protect the innocent, and mostly bastards named
here. Well, actually is about fifty/fifty. In a tribute to SAVARONA, the MECA of Basketball in el Pais de Caguas, during 1960-1980.