Monday, January 19, 2009

Dr. Amada Ruiz de Villa

Orson Welles ground breaking 1941 film,
"Citizen Kane"


From "Citizen Kane", it is arguably the most famous one word line in cinematic history.

And now for something totally different...

Amada Ruiz de Villa
My Long Lost Second Cousin

The Internet is such an amazing instrument!  Thanks Al Gore!  O.K. I know that IS a big stretch.

About ten days ago, I got a comment posted on the blog asking if I was Amada's second cousin George Michael.  I'm still not sure how she stumbled upon the blog but I'm glad she did!  Sure enough, I am.

First we had to clear up the Michael thing.  When I was born in 1947, my Father, Dr. Jorge Contreras was a brand new, proud immigrant to the United States from his native Cuba.  My Mother, Chuny, also a Cuban immigrant, wanted to name me George Michael but was knocked out as was the child bearing custom in the '40's.  So while she is passed out, Jorge, in a fever-pitched, patriotic mood signs the birth certificate with my legal name now officially being George Washington Contreras!  I'm sure that being born on July 7th, just after Independence Day, influenced his decision.

Not to be completely out foxed, my infuriated Mother was appeased by having my name appear as George Michael on my baptismal certificate.  I have to say that the good doctor won this round EASILY.  My Mother still calls me George Michael but I proudly am George Washington, thanks Pop!

Having cleared this name issue up, "Amadita" and I have been e-mailing and phoning back and forth ever since trying to make up for 40+ years of lost contact.  I really am excited about continuing our dialogue and just catching up on way too much lost time.

She just retired on December 31, 2008 from a very successful career as an Opthalmologist working in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina near the Virginia border.  She still lives a very outdoors oriented lifestyle in rural Littleton, N.C. near Lake Gaston.

Now for the tie-in.  If you are familiar with "Citizen Kane" you know that Orson Welles plays the title character, Charles Foster Kane and that the movie starts with his death as the last thing he says in this life is "Rosebud..."  The movie then proceeds to tell the story of this extremely powerful man based on real life mogul William Randolph Hearst as they search for the meaning of his dying word.

If you have NOT seen "Citizen Kane" stop here NOW as I am about to give away the ending.

It turns out that "Rosebud" was the name of Kane's snow sled from the idyllic, care-free days of his youth.

In these difficult times, I venture that if we thought about it that we can all come with our own "Rosebud" moments.

I have always known that my "Rosebud" moment occurred one summer in the late 1950's on a family vacation in Cuba.  Amadita, who is my age, and her family lived in a small town about 30 miles outside of Havana named San Antonio de los Banos and we visited them for a few days.

Their home was located on a corner with a very nice veranda in front that faced the village's central plaza/park.  Amadita was athletic, so it was a dreamland for two 10 or 11 year-olds to play in that park, go to see a film in the town's ancient movie house and eventually adopt a puppy together that her Father, Dr. Pepe Ruiz de Villa, was none too happy to see us bring home one day.  According to Amadita, her family happily kept it as a pet after we left for our return to California.

All of my idyllic, care-free, "Rosebud" memories happened in about a three day period I would guess and they all occurred in and about that central plaza/park.

If you feel comfortable sharing, I would love to hear about your "Rosebud" by posting a blog comment below.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello George, I was reading about your comments about Amadita and I would like to be able
to communicate with you in a more private manner. How could we connect? You could do so by sending a note through Amadita's e-mail.