I hung out in Cuernavaca in the mid 70s, a time when Mexico was peaceful and prosperous. I ran a theatre company in town which attracted all the expats and backpackers passing through, there to teach ESL to support themselves.
Most of them ended up in our plays. Amateur theatre in a foreign country is very liberating, it gives you chance to don a double disguise. One of the first plays I did, “The Death And Life Of Sneaky Fitch”, a western farce, had a lot of townspeople and supernumeraries; it was perfect to get started with.
A sidebar; a key moment in the play is when the villain, Rackham, has to cave in before the comic protagonist, Sneaky Fitch, and plead for his life. The man playing Rackham, our brilliant scenic painter, was a proud Mexican who made an excellent chilling villain in black. He told me later, in confidence, that getting down on his knees and pleading, even in jest, was the hardest thing he’s ever had to do. I thought differently about the Mexican character after that.
I was the director, there were a lot of young women in the company, single and otherwise, and I slept with most of them at one time or another. My best friend and lover, though, was Gayle Anderson, who played the lead floozie in the farce.
Anderson wasn’t her real last name, that was the name of the man she was living with in town, pretending to be his wife, for society’s sake. He had a casita and a novia in the capital, he split his time between his two households. I got Gayle in her spare time.
Gayle was gorgeous, in her mid 30s and about six feet five inches tall. She towered over me and weighed twice what I did. Despite her enormous size, though, she was perfectly proportioned, gorgeous, thick haired, and also quick witted, funny and smart. She had been Miss Oklahoma 1965, and while she didn’t don the tiara, she made it to the show in Atlantic City with Bert Parks.
Making love with Gayle was like climbing Mount Pussy, you wanted to yell from the peak when you got there. She was a fun lover and always had time for me when Brooke was out of town. One day, we lay entwined in bed and watched the backyard pool slop its contents out into the ravine below as another earthquake hit Cuernavaca.
The gravel drive saved our asses more than once. If you heard the car, you had just enough time to get into a bathing suit and then into the pool before the front door opened. I was living a Feydeau farce, with absent husbands, mistresses and wayward wives. All I needed was a window to jump through, and it almost came to that more than once.
I don’t know what happened to Gayle. She was a professional society wife, good with servants, place settings and flowers, and wasn’t really suited for much else. I sensed she was being slowly edged out of the Cuernavaca house by Brooke, he was spending more time with his novia in Mexico City. It’s a privileged life (or was) living as a foreign executive’s wife in Mexico, and you can get used to it. The only record I can find of her is her name in the rolls of the Miss America Foundation. I wonder if she dreams of tiaras?