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Ruth Hyba finally tells her age

By Ruth Hyba

Ruth Hyba was born August 19th, 1921 in Memphis, Tennessee. She arrived in San Miguel in the 50s, opening one of the first guest houses designed for foreigners. She opened her own hotel in 1968 on Aldama street, La Mansión del Bosque. She currenly lives and works in her hotel, which she still manages alongside her three daughters: Luisa, Crisanta and Elena Torres. She was an active volunteer of the Centro de Crecimiento for many years, and continues to collaborate through different activities. She supports artists and festivals through constant sponsorships in her hotel.

There were only two taxis when I came to San Miguel in 1953. There were few cars, no buses, and certainly no city buses which now run almost bumper to bumper.

I had come to San Miguel de Allende from Memphis, Tennesse where I was a display manager of a man’s store. I wanted to continue my art studies at the famous Instituto Allende. I was in San Miguel for four months.

The charms of Mexico got to me. After a whirlwind courtship, I found myself married to one of the charmers. He had recently acquired a huge colonial home and was planning to convert it into a guest house. He assured me “you won’t have to lift one of your little white hands in the kitchen”. My duties would be to greet the American guests we hoped to have. It took less than two days after opening to have that myth exploded in a confusion of upset stomachs, quivering nerves, and tearful kitchen help.

So there I stood, in the Mexican kitchen with the English cook book in one hand and a Spanish-Enlish dictionary in the other. I had to master cooking and I had to master Spanish so I could communicate with my kitchen helpers, and both of these skills had to be acquired in a hurry. I continued my work as cook and co-owner of the Hotel Vista Hermosa, which was one of the first hotels in San Miguel de Allende to serve international guests by serving milder food made with Mexican ingredients.

In 1968 I opened my own hotel, La Mansión del Bosque, an inn by the park that has been serving international and national guests ever since. It is an intimate and charming guest house, not luxurious, but the adjective used most is cozy.

Now, many years later, free of both dictionary and cookbook, with ample experience in the kitchen I have honored the request of many of my guests by writing a cook book, which I named Gourmet my way (first published in 2003).

My three daughters are now helping me run the hotel and “taking care” of me. I am at my computer everyday. I was shoved, pushed and kicked into the 21st century and learned how to receive and send e-mails.

My passion now is tango (besides the hotel), I have taken it for years under various teachers and now have my own tango salon in the hotel: getting too old to go out, but not to tango. My teacher comes in to give us personal classes and has taught my great granddaughters -5 and 9- how to tango, too.

After nearly 59 years of good times and bad times, I can still say I have had a wonderful life in San Miguel.

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