2009, July 31

So the little me was perfectly healthy last week, then disabled, and today I was in the cemetary of Chac…

Hmmm this sounds like the end has come. No, I mean, having free time since I cannot do any tango, I went to the Chacarita cemetary for a temporary visit. 

Unlike in most cemetaries in the rest of the world, there is not map of the celebrities at the entrance, but as large as the place may be, its dimensions are finite, so having all the time in the world and walking methodically (type-writing monkey method) I was bound to find. The other method, like for the milongas, is to phone first. Hi Carlos, are you still there, and in  which section…

I found Francisco Lomuto first, but finally arrived to the place. The statue is smaller than I thought, and the cigarette in his fingers was not lit, but the flowers are fresh and there are tons of messages.

Before getting there I had read a book (another thing I can do now that I have vast amounts of free time) about his birth and life. The author was not from Uruguay, but as he says, “if I stick to the documented version then there is no material for a book”. Here is the summary:

The 14 or 15-year-old teen Berthe Gardes decides one day to leave everything (family, home) she has in Toulouse, France to start a career abroad. Lawyer? President of the United States? Nope. She wants to wash clothes in Tacuarembo (Uruguay).

In Tacuarembo there is a colonel  too. His first name is Carlos and he likes to have children with every female he can see. In his whole life he’ll have 50 of them, all (well, the boys) named Carlos, like him.

One of the female who gave birth to a Carlos is a bit under-aged and the baby is given to Berthe, as well as 3000 pesos. Not much to take care of someone for his whole lifetime, I’d say, after all 3000 pesos is more or less what I am currently spending here in BsAs each month.

And Berthe comes back to her home town. With the baby? No. She gives him to a couple of friends, as well as 150 pesos, saying that she will be back. In Toulouse she does nothing special, except, some years later, giving birth to her own baby (father unknown). For his name she chooses, among all the possibilities, Charles. Oh and she registers the baby three years after his birth.

Then she remembers that she is supposed to look after Carlos too, and she embarks again in a ship to Uruguay. But this ship stops first in Buenos-Aires and Berthe, now aged 22, mistakenly thinking that she’s in Montevideo, stops here too with her little 3-year-old Charles, whose name will soon become Carlos. 

Then Carlos walks all the way from Tacuarembo to Buenos-Aires and they all live there together, Berthe, Carlos-Carlos and Charles-Carlos, the two boys going to different schools. Private schools, owned by monks. Berthe can afford it easily with the remainings of the 3000 pesos, plus her clothe-washer wages.

Somewhere between the age of 16 and 20, Charles-Carlos is kidnapped by aliens from outer space, who also hypnotize Berthe so that she completely forgets the child.  Carlos-Carlos takes all his belongings, but as he’s older the clothes are too small for him and he just keeps the birth certificate.

A few years later,  The world War is taking place in the old Eur0pe, every german or french male who is not dead yet is given a rifle and sent to the battlefront. Carlos-Carlos decides to get an uruguayan passport.

Once he is a famous singer, Carlos-Carlos realizes that the artists usually die young (see Mickael Jackson) and that Berthe will probably outlive him.  On the other side his father the colonel, now dead, has no need for this fortune. That’s why he writes a testament where he kindly pretends that he is french, deliberately lying, just to be sure that Berthe won’t remain pennyless.

Every part of the story makes much sense and is highly credible. The author goes even further, ensuring that following some oral witnesses, the dead body found in the burnt plane ( June 24th, 1935) was not El Zorzal, and that he’s still living, hidden in the jungle.  Wow. That will make another marvellous book.


3 Responses to “Pilgrimage”

  1. jantango said

    Luis Feldman is an historian and expert on Gardel. He is the man who can tell you anything you want to know and more about Gardel.

    He is giving a talk and video presentation today at 5:00 at Cafe Recuerdos of Esquina Osvaldo Pugliese, corner of Boedo and Carlos Calvo. The subject will be the great interpreters of tango in the movies. It’s free and there is no obligation to order coffee and media lunas. If you Castellano is good enough to follow along, it will be worth attending. I will be there.

  2. patadura said

    Nothong about invention of the moonwalk ?

  3. tangobeginner said

    I don’t think so. Or maybe it is hidden somehow, you have to read the book backwards.
    Speaking about M.J, the day after his death not even one teacher used his songs for the classes. Improvise, they say… Pfffft, all they can do is delivering their usual stuff.
    The day when it happened, I heared about it around 20:00, when I came back home the students (normal students, who are young and go to Universities, and who listen and dance technoid metal, not tango) were improvising a homenage, downloading all the MJ playlists that they could find with their wi-fi laptops. And I demonstrated some moonwalk.

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