By Chip Kishel
July 15, 2014
A story of a young American boy and his family living in Brazil from 1962 to 1964.
The Guido Bloch House
We resided in the Beebe House for five months. I learned we were moving into another residence and our household furnishings and our car from the States had finally cleared customs. This house was owned by a gentleman named Guido Bloch. Guido and his wife were an elderly couple who escaped before the Nazi invasion of their homeland. My father explained what the Holocaust was all about and that Guido and his wife owned a grain mill. They escaped with what they could carry. The story was Guido smuggled three valuable paintings. The value of the paintings purchased the home we were about to live in and several others, thus generating income. I recall visiting Guido and his wife. Guido was a refined gentleman and his wife was an elegant hostess.
The home was in Jardim Paulista. When I Google Earth the address, the home is still standing today. The street looks very different.
Once our furniture was in place I felt more comfortable especially sleeping in my own bed. The shipment included a new bike as well. The neighborhood was tight with above average houses. Each home was surrounded by walls. Some homes had guards. Although we did not have guards, there was a armed guard on a bike who rode through the neighborhood and blew a whistle. He rode all night, every night. There were some American kids who lived nearby and rode the same school bus. The school hazing finally stopped but I remained an outsider for the next 19 months. I accepted being an outsider because I knew that in 19 months I would leave and never return again.
The time living in the Guido House brought more people into our lives.
My father brought a large fellow home to tutor Portuguese to my family. His name was Professor Reise. Augusto (Professor Reise’s first name) had a son about my age and his wife looked very similar to my mother. I found this to be very coincidental. In the coming months we met his friends and family. I recall visiting a compound-like home for dinner. The professor’s family” was of Italian descent. They fondly referred to themselves as Mafioso.
Augusto, his wife, and son accompanied us everywhere. I always felt safe when they were with us.
Our next door neighbor had a male caretaker. To this day I never knew his name. My brother named him “The Wobin”. He was a friendly person, always interested in our activities. I fondly remember him standing on top of the wall dividing the properties. He was our friend.
There was a host of American kids. We visited each other from time to time.
Roberto was a university associate. Roberto had polio. Both legs were supported by heavy steel frames. He used crutches to walk. A nice person who liked good scotch. I recall my father telling us that Roberto managed to drive a car. The car was outfitted with controls. Roberto liked to drive fast and brake hard. We fondly agreed that the weight of his leg braces aided his driving habits.
Perhaps I was maturing, or meeting very fine people, but my attitude regarding Brazil was warming.
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. Chip’s 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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