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“I Remember San Miguel in the ’50s” special Literary Sala evening

By Lee Bellavance

It’s a topic that fascinates gringo residents and tourists alike: what was San Miguel like in the 1950s and ’60s when the first wave of North Americans began arriving here — many to study art at Bellas Artes or the Instituto Allende, fueled by the GI Bill.

San Miguel Literary Sala presents
“San Miguel in the 1950s”
Mary Elmendorf, an early San Miguel ex-pat, presents her memoir
with a panel of North Americans and Canadians who lived here in the 1950s:
Siobhan Bryne, Barbara Dobarganes, Tim Hazell, and Beverly Silverman
Thu, Jul 26, 5-7pm
Posada San Francisco
cnr of Hidalgo and Canal
70 pesos, 50 pesos for Literary Sala members

Dr. Mary Elmendorf, a close friend of Stirling Dickinson and one of the first Americans to build a home in San Miguel, will appear at the Literary Sala to present her recently published memoir and to regale us with stories of those early days. Her presentation will be followed by a panel of other early American and Canadian ex-pats, including Tim Hazell, Beverly Silverman, Siobhan Bryne, and Barbara Dobarganes. A fascinating picture of post-war San Miguel is sure to emerge from this evening. Other early ex-pats are especially invited to attend to share their own insights.

Elmendorf is more than a person who has fascinating stories to tell about San Miguel. She has had an extraordinary career, and a fascinating life. Among many other interesting positions, she was the Director of CARE of Mexico for seven years, and was a participant in the Noble Peace Prize for refugee work she did in France after World War II. Her observations are informed by her cultural research and studies, culminating in a doctorate in anthropology from the Union Institute in 1972.

Elmendorf’s publishing credits take pages to list and include the groundbreaking work, Mayan Women and Change, which was also published in Spanish by the Mexican Ministry of Education. Her work in anthropology, alone enough to establish her as highly successful, is just one facet of this nonagenarian’s amazing career covering women’s rights, water resources, technology, development and more. She has traveled the world in the course of her many missions.

The participants in the panel that will follow Mary Elmendorf’s presentation have promised to tell little-known stories about those early days of the gringo presence here, to give us a flavor of what life was like then, before Vonage long distance, Internet, all the outer colonias, when burros outnumbered cars, and young men and women walked around the jardin in opposite circles in a kind of socially-approved ritual flirting.

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