Traveling with my First Wife… and then Alone

I returned to my country at the end of 1961 and a month later, I was drafted into the Army, where I served for a year. Then in October 1963, Norma and I married, and we went in our honeymoon trip. Our destination: the resort city of Bariloche, in the southwest of Argentina, at the foot of the Andes. We traveled by train: 28 hours in a sleeping compartment. There were other honeymooners in that train and we got acquainted with some of them. When we got to Bariloche, we visited all the picturesque sites, we frolicked in the snow, we got to know our new friends better and we all had a great time.

I started my second trip to the USA, not so much because of my wanderlust, but because the economic situation in Argentina. By the end of 1964, although I had a job, I was barely making ends meet and when my wife got pregnant, we decided to immigrate to the USA and try our luck there. My uncle, Reinhold, vouched for us, so that we came here with a resident visa.

This time we were able to take a direct flight to Miami, where we arrived on my 25th birthday, March 14, 1965. After a short stay in Miami, we took a Greyhound bus to Washington, DC and then to New York City. By now, I was already a “seasoned” traveler, and there were not many things that impressed me this time.

In New York, my father picked us up at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and took us to a furnished apartment in Fort Lee, NJ, he had rented for us. We settled there for a few months and then moved to Manhattan, again to a furnished place, in what was then called German Town (around E 86 St between Lex and First Ave).  I had some temporary jobs, until I found a permanent one in the Bronx. My first son, Marcelo was born in September and with his arrival we moved to a 4th floor walk-up, also in the Bronx near 168th St and the Grand Concourse.

Marce&Tony 69Three years past and my second son, Tony, was born in September 1968. We needed a larger place and moved to Queens, to the second floor of a house owned by one of my coworkers.

The following Summer I bought a used car, a white Rambler, and took off with Norma and Marcelo, while Tony stayed with a friend. Our destination: Niagara Falls. I don’t remember much else about the trip, except the extraordinary views of the falls, especially on the Canadian side.

In the next few years, Norma traveled several times to Buenos Aires to visit her family, but I stayed in NYC. Three more years past, and our marriage was falling apart, so we separated. Norma took the kids to Argentina where they stayed with their grandparents. She came back to the States for a while, but returned to Buenos Aires for good a few months later.

At the end of 1972, after seven years of absence, I made the trip back to Argentina. I stopped a few days in Rio de Janeiro. Calçadão_de_CopacabanaIt was Summer time in the Southern Hemisphere and the heat was almost unbearable. However, I had a good time. I stayed in a hotel in front of the famous Ipanema Beach. Bathed in the warm waters, toured the National Park of Tijuca, climbed the Corcovado, stood by the Christ the Redeemer monument, and walked the historical center. At night I walked the wide sidewalks of Copacabana, and for the first time in my life went into a night club and danced with a “lady of the night”. Another night I went to a Macumba (a type of Brazilian Woodoo religious practice), which seemed a bit adventurous and dangerous.

When I reached Buenos Aires, I reconnected with friends and Norma’s family. It was Christmas time and Norma and the kids had left to stay in a town called Villa General Belgrano, in the province of Córdoba, about 500 miles northwest of Buenos Aires, where my mother lived. I also took a bus to go to Villa General Belgrano to stay with my mother and see my kids. We had a nice celebration, although the presence of my ex-wife made for some awkward moments. Still it was wonderful to be again with my sons and celebrate the Holidays in warm weather.

A few days after New Year’s I returned to New York.