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Letcia, princess at Humboldt Schule German School.

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Leticia's first communion.

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Leticia's picture which I kept on my desk for five years prior to our wedding.

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Before our engagement, Leticia kept this picture on her desk of William Jarvis jumping at San Miguel de Allende, at a Mexican equestrian school.

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Leticia's wedding dress.

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Wedding vows in the lovely Capilla del Rosario. Literally tons of gold were used in the decoration of this most ornate and beautiful chapel in downtown Puebla.


 

LETICIA, MY SECOND WIFE
 

It started in Puebla, Mexico where I was pursuing my serious hobby of Spanish language and literature with a professor from the University of the Americas. I finished my studies and was leaving Puebla for San Miguel de Allende. There I was going to attend the famous Escuela Ecuestre riding school.

A winsome young Mexican girl behind the desk at the hotel noticed that I was waiting to check out. She was doing her hotel management studies in an on-the-job training program. She knew you don’t keep a customer waiting, so she jumped in to get me checked out. We talked only a couple of minutes about my upcoming visit to San Miguel de Allende.

The upshot was that I later sent her a picture of me on a beautiful horse going over a five-foot-high jump.

The picture was so dramatic that she mounted it on her desk at home and looked at me every day for the next five years until we got married. She was only 16 when I met her. Being from a very nice traditional family she had not had any serious affairs with anyone else.

Our courtship was not a very fast-paced one; it was mostly by mail. She didn’t write very often, but somehow our destiny prevailed. I did everything according to the rules; there wasn’t much choice because of her conservative upbringing. But her mother and father were both internationally aware people who made each step toward matrimony a discovery and a pleasure.

The highlight came with the engagement ceremony, the asking of her hand from her father, known as pedir la mano. Since this was a key event, I had to make a special trip to Mexico a minimum of six weeks before the marriage. I had to bring a bouquet of flowers for my fiancée and a little collection of gold coins signifying that I was financially responsible for this marriage. Leticia’s wonderful mother helped me locate these traditional coins.

The ceremony itself took place in the drawing room of Leticia’s home. About 35 family and close friends were sitting in chairs along the walls of the room when I arrived. The chairs were arranged so we were all facing each other, Leticia and I in one corner and Leticia’s father, Dr. Escobedo, in the opposite corner.

There was animated conversation for a number of minutes and then suddenly it began to get quiet. People started looking in my direction. It was time to make my move. I stood up and in a short Spanish declaration asked Leticia’s father for her hand. In the excitement of the moment I forgot some of my best lines.

Dr. Escobedo saved the day by replying in his very educated Spanish, using almost poetic sounding phrases, saying all the things that I wanted to say. At the end, he gave his permission for her hand in marriage. After I put her engagement ring on her finger, she went around the room showing her ring to her close friends. Her father proposed a toast, a brindis. Brandy glasses appeared for everyone to toast with.

Just at that moment, in came the mariachis. A word about mariachis. During the several years when Napoleon ruled Mexico and his nephew Maximillian occupied the Mexican throne, a number of French words and customs came into use.

The French word for “marriage” is written the same as in English, but pronounced a bit differently. That is where the mariachis get their name. It’s the Mexican pronunciation of the French marriage. They started out playing for weddings. So it is now most appropriate to celebrate an engagement with mariachis. By the way, also during that short French rule some very nice elements of French cuisine were introduced into Mexico for which I am thankful. Leticia’s mother makes several delightful French dishes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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