My Favorite city, Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is my favorite city. My husband and I visited it on our honeymoon and ended up spending two of the happiest and saddest times of our lives. When we arrived, the sun was shinning, the palm trees were waltzing, the sky was a deep blue and the ocean a miraculous aquamarine.
In those days, Rio was still the capital of Brazil and all the diplomats lived there. Lennox got a job writing articles for the Brazil Herald and we ended up meeting the politicians, diplomats, artists, musicians and movie stars.
We asked everyone we met, “?Habla espanol? And were told, “No. Falo Portuguese.”
As we listened carefully, we found we could understand most of what was said so we began speaking Spanish and managed to be understood.
We signed up to study Portuguese and Brazilian art at the University of Brazil. We took all the same classes and when we left the school we were awarded a certificate “to Mr. and Mrs. Lennox Raphael.”
When we climbed Sugar Loaf Mountain to visit Christ the Redeemer, Lennox and I were tied to some professional climbers and I kept starting to fall and Lennox caught me and straighten me up.
When we planned a big party to celebrate our first anniversary, it became big news. We were dancing at the home of the British Ambassador when former President Kubicheck asked if he could attend our party. We told him he was welcome but we were asking all the men to bring alcohol and all the women to bring a dish. He came with his two daughters and two fifths of Scotch. Lennox and I both painted in our spare time. We began consulting each other and in the end, we were painting together. Our friend Socrates de Rocha was opening a gallery and asked us to be the first artists. Rio fell in love with us because he was black, I was white, and we painted on the same canvas. The Brazil newspaper and magazines wrote stories about us. Our life was beautiful. We danced in Carnival then I sudden had a nervous breakdown and ended up in a hospital. It was the beginning of the end of our marriage. When I left the hospital we returned to the United States. When I remember Rio, I remember lying on the beach in Copacabana, dancing at the diplomat’s party and enjoying a love that survived divorce.