Some days turn out to be more important than others!
You Are There!
It was a rainy day in late June 1970 and my first day at the Museo Nacional de Antropologia de México. I was to be given a tour of all six floors of the world famous museum by two of the most respected archaeologists in the world at that time, Ignacio Bernal and Roman Piña-Chan. Bernal was director of the Institutio de Antropologia E Historia de México and Piña-Chan was director-archaeological curator of the museum. Both had been designated coordinators of my fellowship by Relaciones Exteriores, who had been led to believe by the Mexican Consul in Atlanta that I was a professional architect from a wealthy Gringo family, interested in donating money for archaeological digs.
About five minutes into the tour, Dr. Bernal realized that (1) I was just an architecture STUDENT, (2) I was a mestizo from a middle class Gringo family, not from the Gringo Elite, and (3) I was just beginning to learn Spanish. He looked at his watch, uttered “Idiotas” and walked away, never to be seen again. At the end of the tour, I gave Dr. Piña-Chan both books that were intended as gifts for he and Dr. Bernal.
As I was waiting at the edge of the front plaza for a bus, one of Piña-Chan’s graduate assistants, Alejandra, rushed out and called me back into the building. I was invited into the inner sanctum of the museum and sat in awe as the famous archaeologist pulled books off the shelf to compare the architecture and art of the Creek People with the civilizations of Mexico. During that first, unscheduled hour and half conversation, he solved many of the most important riddles of Southeastern Anthropology . . . such as . . . the two famous marble statues at Etowah Mounds portray escaped Maya slaves, who apparently founded Etula (Etowah).
All that information laid in the cobwebs of my mind and the notes in my journal for four decades, until they suddenly became important after I beheld the ruins at Track Rock Gap in the Georgia Mountains. Life, indeed, is like a box of chocolates.
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