Thursday, December 06, 2007

El Cho de Elsa y Raquel

I asked my dad to send pictures of Christmas past. This is what he sent me. Not exactly what I was looking for, but it did bring back some memories.

Growing up Cuban-American in the 1970's, TV was not the wonder-box of variety it is today. There were very few shows for kids, except for Electric Company, and Gilligan's Island and Brady Bunch re-runs. After that, you were pretty much on your own to make things happen. We didn't venture out in the neighborhood too often. A riot had broken out at Riviera Middle School one year. The riot was between Americans and Cubans. I've been told that riot police were called in. That may have been part of the reason why we didn't go out much. Or maybe it was just that we liked being at home; I don't know. Either way, being home a lot forced us to find ways to entertain ourselves.

My sisters were the creative minds. All they needed was some of the extra Goodwill clothes donated to us which was not fit to wear, now to be used for costumes, a few wigs (don't ask), some make-up and an impromptu script. The result?

El Cho de Elsa y Raquel.

"Cho" of course, is the word "show" spoken with a Cuban accent. We knew how to pronounce it correctly, but some words in English sound better with an accent, especially when used with other Spanish words.

My sisters put on a lot of shows over the years. Some were actually recorded on cassette tape, like the 'novelas' my grandmother would listen to.

What you see in the photograph here, is me dressed up as Santa (not sure why), playing a snare drum like a bongo (not sure why) for a "Cho" we put on one Christmas. I remember that day because this was one of our biggest Chos. Both sets of grandparents attended, as well as my parents.

I remember it because it was fun. That's pretty much it. We put on the show in my sister's room. The curtain was the closet door. The stage was set in front of the bed. And somehow, in this little 10'x10' room, we fit the actors and the audience, and had a wonderful time. I remember everyone laughing. My Santa belly was down by my crotch, so I looked like I had "enlarged testicle syndrome" (reference to the film Johnny Dangerously... not an actual ailment). I think that's what made everyone laugh the most. My sisters sang some songs and put on a great show. It was a perfect night.

More Christmas memories to come. By the way, my father clarified something for me from my last post. It was not a donkey running down the streets of Hialeah. It was actually a goat.

1 comment:

mora68 said...

Ah yes, the personal favorite was 'Wild Willy', with Raquel hiding behind the curtain making Willy sing. How I wish we had lived down were not enough!