Monthly Archives: June 2014

Like playing Charades

PRAGUE, The Czech Republic — Remember the TV show “Stump the Stars”? It was a pantomime contest featuring celebrities like Morey Amsterdam, Lucie Arnaz, Ed Begley, Carol Burnet, Sebastian Cabot and Hans Conreid.

In a half hour’s time, the contestants were to provide clues, without speaking, that would identify a movie, novel, geographic location, etc.

The teams paired off and came up with some highly creative gesticulations to convey the answer to their team. Usually, the contest, also called “Charades” would start with the leader indicating, through mime only, whether the answer was a book, movie or TV program.

There are still remnants of that ’60s program, in the Trujillo family, as we try to get information across to people whose language we don’t understand. I’ve written often about our experiences in Denmark, where our oldest son, Stanley Adam, and his wife, Lisbeth, are raising two daughters. I’ve mentioned the difficulty in my trying to explain to store clerks especially, what I need, as many over-the-counter products don’t carry English translations. Continue reading

‘Das ist nicht German’

We read often about the disappearances of languages. Bill Bryson, the author of “The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way,” estimates that currently, there are 2,700 languages; throughout history, many have died; perhaps there have been more language deaths than there are currently extant languages.

For years, society has feared that when children don’t pick up the language of their grandparents, the native tongue begins to die. What happens, then, to Indian tribes, for example, whose half a thousand residents speak the language, but the youngsters don’t?

I became aware of the multiplicity of tongues earlier this month during Pentecost, which commemorates the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, 50 days after the Resurrection of Christ. The scripture for that day describes disciples suddenly speaking different languages after the visit from the Holy Spirit, and being able the preach and spread the gospel around the world. Continue reading

When Saturdays were fun

In our youth, Saturdays were the greatest of days. For 26 cents, we could spend the entire day at the movies. Sixteen cents allowed us to enter the Serf Theater, and the extra dime would get us popcorn.

Even though we had three thriving theaters in town, including the Coronado and the Kiva, most of the kids in my circle went to the Serf because the features usually were first-run and in English. There were cartoons, a newsreel and a double-feature.

After two viewings of the continuous filmings, my sister Bingy and brother Severino would stagger out, overdosed on popcorn. But what was even more enjoyable Monday at school was watching classmates — most of whom sat through as many screenings as we had on Saturday — re-enacting scenes we had all seen, sometimes twice.

I recall a number of swash-buckling movies in which the protagonist fought off a dozen less-experienced sword handlers. I recall the dramatic rescues and the tossings overboard. It amazed me how easily many of us students at Immaculate Conception School tried to become the persona of Errol Flynn or Clark Gable. Continue reading

Kick the can

Wagon Mound High School, the place from which our youngest son, Ben, graduated, has always been proud of its basketball, whose season generally runs from Aug. 1 through July 31.

It was the school my dad attended around the turn of the last century. “We didn’t have a fancy name for our team,” he said, when asked if he played for the Trojans.

The team has captured its share of state championships, especially during the tenure of Alfred Romero, after whom the gym is named, and there have been many more appearances at state as well. A host of coaches — some serving as many as three stints ­— have led the Trojans. They include Romero, Bobby Clouthier, Danny Gray, George Marquez, Matthew Baca, Fabian Trujillo and Felipe Garcia.

Remember, also, that when teams like the Immaculate Conception Colts, from Las Vegas, competed against the Trojans, the schools were of similar size.

But the really challenging part was competing in a state that had only two size classifications, A and B. The really big schools were Class A; the rest were B. Continue reading