Apache Junction

Sometimes you don’t need to go anywhere to travel

One of the most fascinating things about selling online is imagining the places where the people that have bought my clothes live and what kind of story is the one they are writing for themselves. I do not stalk my clients and actually have no idea of who they are apart from their name and address.  In my mind what could or should be a simple commercial transaction, it’s like making a new friend. After all, someone is going to receive a little paragraph of my personal story.

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Last week I sold my Versace Jeans “commedia dell’arte” shirt, it was part of my loud, take it all in, coming of age in the 1990s. It should, by now, have arrived in Apache Junction, Arizona. A full week of obsessing about this new wonderful name, of trying to picture what it must be like to live in this geometric promise in the shape of a city nested at the base of a Mountain called Superstition. For someone living in a small country, in a city where houses seem to support each other so they don’t collapse, the allure of the vast and harsh American West exerts all kinds of dreams of freedom by the way of shedding all constraints of a somewhat constrained life in a place that sometimes feels like a small box rather than a city.

Superstition_Mtn_Gallery_(DeGrazia's_fourth_gallery)_in_Apache_Junction,_AZ_circa_1970's

The simple act of wrapping a shirt, getting it ready to be posted has triggered all these images of free space where the sky is as close to you as the ground beneath your feet, it has made me imagine what it would be like to  drive down Superstition Boulevard and end up somehow at the Barleens Arizona Opry.  My commedia dell’arte shirt is having a new life on a stage that in my mid is as grand and dramatic as it deserves.

I told this story to a friend and she said that it must a be sign of where I need to go next…

Welcome_to_Silly_Mountain_Park_sign

Photos:

1- Elvis memorial chapel

Elvis Presley Memorial Chapel, Apache Junction.

2- shirt detail: mine

3- Superstition Mtn. (public domain) 1970s

DeGrazia Foundation, Reggie Russell, Buehman, Dick Frontain, Thomas Galvin

4- Welcome to Silly park by Xnatedawgx

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

 

Travel souvenirs

When I was a kid I wanted to be an archeologist. Because of this I spent hours improvising excavation sites with sofa cushions in my father’s office and fantasizing about going to Egypt, while my apparent natural vocation was nurtured by history books I was not old enough to understand. I did not become some sort of post modern female Indiana Jones (Lara Croft had not been created) but finally made it to Egypt for work (totally unrelated to my childhood fantasies) in 2008.

I was in Alexandria for a conference for four days feeling as excited as the kid who had fantasies of breakthrough discoveries that would forever alter the understanding of history. I did discover a common history and felt small, humbled, ecstatic and privileged for having the opportunity  to walk to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina every day, to wander inside, to imagine how the Ancient Library of Alexandria might have looked, to stare in awe at full reading rooms and the bookcases still longing to be filled.

Apart form a small bronze Egyptian cat statue, this  was my only souvenir, I don’t even know what happened to the photos I took (I do tend to loose digital photos) but when I found this caftan yesterday, I’ve realized I don’t actually need the photos, I can still feel the incessant wind and the warmth and the blue, I can still remember talking to three small kids who wanted to have friends in different parts of the world. Better than a photo and it sure beats a magnet.

Algeciras

This dress is also part of my free-spirited, extravagant fantasy. Last I’ve worn it I was staying at the Hotel Reina Cristina in Algeciras. At that time the dining room dress code was,I guess, long gone.

Opened in 1901 and said to be the oldest hotel in southern Spain, the Reina Cristina counts as signed guests with the likes of Ava Gardner, Orson Wells, Federico Garcia Lorca and a young journalist covering the Algeciras Conference of 1906, called Winston Churchill.

Algeciras is not an obvious choice as far as Spanish holidays go, you can’t really say is beautiful in any conventional way but it does have the appeal of transition places and of the once grand and mysterious settings of history. And history certainly does not leave you alone around here.

Algeciras is also the birth place of the grand, the absolute master of Flamenco guitar  Paco de Lucia.  I first saw him live in 1990 in a show I was invited to by some friends of my parents, I was bewitched. Forever, I guess. My lust for southern Spain is forever connected to that wanting to repeat that feeling of being alive through that music.