The following is from Ana Castillo's Dona Cleanwell Leaves Home . Castillo is a celebrated poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, editor, playwright, translator, and scholar. Born and raised in Chicago, her award winning, bestselling titles include the novels So Far from God, The Guardians, Peel My Love like an Onion , and Sapogonia , which was a New York Times Notable Book, and the poetry collection I Ask the Impossible . Although the rePertoire was limited, he was a prodigious storyteller. A natural entertainer, some said. “Do you believe in ghosts?” my father often started. The family was all together, a grandchild on his lap, everyone around the Formica table, content after the plentiful meal my mother had prepared. Each time we shook our heads, glad to hear the story again. “Neither do I,” he'd start, “but one time I had an experience . . .” As a young man, Raymundo, “Mundo,” hit Route 66 to Mexico with a few pals. It was the early sixties. They were an inseparable five who had grown up together on DeKoven Street. In their twenties, the guys put a band together. Mundo was The Heartbreakers' drummer. He said he learned to pound out a beat at the suitcase factory where he worked for a while. The leader, the band's singer and self-appointed manager, was a cool guy named Chuck. They played mostly mambos—huge fans of Pérez Prado—but Chuck's vocals also lent themselves to sensual ballads. “He thinks he's Sinatra,” the crooner's younger brother and the band's bass player, Franky, used to crack. Sibling rivalry between the brothers was constant, but as the other guys saw it, regardless, either would have laid his life down for the other. It was Chuck's idea that The Heartbreakers try their luck in Mexico. He had a contact at RCA Records who said he might get them in the studio in Mexico City, or at least that's what they told everybody. It was never clear whether The Heartbreakers got to record, but what was a fact was that they stayed in Mexico for six months. The […]
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