One evening at a benefit for Patronata Pro Ninos, I was seated next to an older Mexican gentleman named Salvatore. He is a notario, a very official role, a government position of great trust and responsibility. Notarios legalize documents, certify property values, assess taxes, and have other complex other financial duties. His wife, Shelley, came to Mexico forty years ago as a graduate student, from Brooklyn, New York. Like most 20-year-olds studying abroad, she boarded with a local family, arriving one Friday in the late '60s. By Saturday night, at a dance she attended with the daughter of her host family, she had met her future husband.
Salvatore, this earnest actuarial, this serious notario, told me a story about his youth: "As a boy of fifteen or sixteen I would go up onto the rooftop of my house and lay there under the stars. The sky was so clear in San Miguel I could see everything. And I would dream about my wife, where would I find her, who would she be? I would ask myself about my future wife when I was 15 years old. And never, ever, did I think that I, a Catholic (cat-o-leek) from Mexico would ever marry a Jewish girl from New York City. Who could ever dream that? At the dance, if I had known she didn't speak Spanish, I would never have asked her to dance. I didn't know she was the woman I was dreaming about on the rooftop. But here we are, married 40 years. And I still love her."