One of the joys of life with Alicia has been the discovery of a trove of shared memories. We both grew up in Medellín in the 1960s and 1970s, and were exposed to the same slang, advertising, music, fads, and news. I have the habit of tossing out odd fragments of song lyrics when our conversation brings them to mind, but Alicia is rarely thrown for a loop:
“Encontraron a don Goyo, muertecito en el arroyo, amarrado con majagua, ahogado en el agua.” “They found Mr. Goyo dead in the ravine, tied up with twine, drowned in the water.”
I remember dozens of advertising jingles and slogans from 30-50 years ago and quote them frequently, especially the truly weird ones: “Ay, profesor, ¡es que el pan con mayonesa Fruco es irresistible!” “Oh, teacher, the problem is that bread with Fruco mayonnaise is irresistible!”
Or this PSA from 1983, which I used to be able to imitate perfectly:
“Paisa. No fume bazuco, hombre. Le acaba el cerebro, lo enloquece… y lo mata.” “Homeboy. Don’t smoke crack, man. It’ll fry your brain, drive you crazy… and kill you.”*
Alicia remembers all these things, and they make her laugh when I repeat them. She seems to know the lyrics of every Spanish song ever sung, and even more jingles than I do. (She was the voice of several major jingles in the 1980s and 1990s.)
I get a kick out of talking with my brother for the same reason. Nearly all his memories of childhood and adolescence are the same as mine. The other day he said, “Hey, remember that time we decided to walk to the Seminary** and that dog came after us and you kicked it in the chops?”
“Yeah, I turned around and you were already a hundred yards down the road!
So we talked about Diane (who lived at the Seminary) and other kids we grew up with, and where they are now. Yesterday I texted him a line from a song I only ever heard about from him (can’t find it anywhere on the internet): “…y un bolillo dentro del cuuuuuubanito ¡sí señores!” (Put that one in Google Translate and see what comes up. I tried it just now and cackled because the translation is so totally off.)
Everyone from my generation remembers the song that went:
“Esa ballena llena que se tragó a Jonás, todavía vive, me lo dijó Jonás. ¿Sí? ¡No Jonás!” “That whale that swallowed Jonah still lives. Jonah told me so. Really? Don’t bullshit me!”
Unfortunately I haven’t found Sí no Jonás online either. But Don Goyo is around:
*Paisa refers to people from the state of Antioquia. Bazuco is a cheap cocaine paste that is even more destructive than crack.
**The Seminary grounds were the location of our school, and was also where Diane lived, on whom we both had a crush. It was four miles from our house, and we usually took the bus, but that day we decided to hoof it.