By Chip Kishel
January 6, 2015
A story of a young American boy and his family living in Brazil from 1962 to 1964.
During the writing of my story some long lost family stereo 3D slides were found at my late father’s home in Strongsville, Ohio. By the grace of higher powers, the new owners gave them to his next door neighbor, an elderly lady who knew the family. Alas, my childhood memories are with me in the form of three dimensional stereo slides.
I spent hour upon hour gazing into the past that I’ve been writing about. The timing of receiving the lost slides while writing this story remains a mystery.
Mid- 1963 to Mid-1964 went by fast. Once I felt at home in Brazil the clock seemed to tick faster. Finally knowing the language and venturing out on my bike made all the difference. I learned a lot about new things for a young boy. Some things like seeing friendly women lined up along the avenue, talking to just anybody and sometimes getting in cars seemed odd until my older brother explained they were prostitutes. Of course he had to explain what prostitutes meant.
The streetcar rails were nearby and I ventured out to ride them from end to end. I discovered the ease of buying fireworks
during the festivities of St. John. Our neighborhood had a mix of American and Brazilian kids, some friendly and some not. I remember well fighting with the Brazilian Moleques.
Just before Christmas of 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated. I feel that the world changed from that point on. The communists in Sao Paulo were elated. I still remember my father confining our family in our home. Upstairs under the front windows were steamer trunks. On top of the trunks were hand guns for each of us. My father’s worked for USAID and felt we needed protection. Being that he was also a master gunsmith and taught all of us how to shoot, I imagine how surprised an intruder would have been to find a family fully armed and ready to shoot. I’m glad it did not come to that.
We got a call that a new baby had arrived. My sisters second child. She called us from the USA. In 1963 a long distance phone call took 3 days to set up. Live operators made the connection at a cost of US$17 per minute. I remember the rush of home sickness seeing my mother cry at the news of the new baby being named after her.
The final day arrived in July 1964. It was time to go home. Our furniture was crated up, except for the Queen Anne Piano which stayed with Mrs. Beebe. We stayed our final night at a hotel in Sao Paulo. I remember being sad and it rained hard that night. The next day we were driven to Santos by The Professor and his family. We boarded the ship HMS Aragon to sail to Europe before returning to the States. I remember crying. Funny, I cried when I arrived and I cried when I left.
Six weeks later I arrived home. School had started. I recall being quiet on the school bus. A yellow bus filled full of the chatter of children. After all I experienced in Brazil, I was twelve going on twenty one and the kids around me, well they were just… kids.
Iwould like to thank those who have followed my story. I thought of returning to Sao Paulo one day, but the Sao Paulo I remember is gone. I used Google Earth and found the Guido Bloch house still standing. The Beebe house is gone and replaced by a gas station. The streetcar tracks have been replaced by roads.
I guess I will keep the memories as they were. I can return home anytime by putting some 3D slides into the stereo viewer.
Chip Kishel and his wife Agnes reside in the small town of Sylvania, Georgia. Chip works for Houghton International as a contract Site Manager for Koyo Needle Bearing LLC. Chips hobbies include custom vintage Honda Motorcycle Restoration and his wife is an accomplished equestrian trainer specializing in dressage, cross country and stadium jumping.
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