Breaking Away

This is an adventure in Europe, and especially in Spain and Morocco in 1964. The most recent chapters are posted at the top.

El Cordobez Chapter 16

           During the time I was there Manuel El Cordobez was a rising star, more like a comet. He came from the poorest of the poor and learned to fight bulls as a youngster by jumping the fences at night on ranches where the bulls were raised, taking his chances with an old coat for…

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Emilia Chapter 15

          Her life wasn’t easy but, other than being tired occasionally, she never complained. And even though I am describing times we had together they didn’t come easily or often. It took a lot of work at the café for me to get her to commit to a meeting and sometimes a week or more…

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My Friends My Age, Kids Really Chapter 14

            Finally, word came that my luggage had arrived and I went to collect it at the main rail station. In a huge building I walked through giant rooms full of piles of luggage and my hopes collapsed thinking it could not be possible for my things to be found here. My guitar, a…

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The Bullfight Chapter 13

          The women, the men, the young and the old watched every fight during the big Feria de San Isidro in May. In the café they would say, “Ah look at the magnificence of the Spanish man. Every other man looks like nothing compared to him.” And Sebastiano would say, “That’s bullshit. These guys are…

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Sebastiano Chapter 12

            Sebastiano and his “Senora” became my close friends. Sebastiano was a tall, dark, handsome, Latin-lover guy to look at. He had black wavy hair, a goatee and a full set of perfect teeth. He was strong and could grip a stop sign and hold himself parallel to the road. He met Ruth in…

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The Expat Community Chapter 11

          My associations grew quickly until I knew most of the non-Spanish, English-speaking people who were in the neighborhood, about thirty people. Spain was so cheap and such a great place to be then. People I knew were students of flamenco and Spanish, dancers, writers, musicians, actors, and travelers. There was even an FBI informer…

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Living in Madrid, Settling In, Chapter 10

          I settled into my little pension, “La Salamanca.” And Aurelio showed me how the Madrilenos live. There were many coffee bars where, during the day, one would stand at the rail and drink a café con leche and in the evening, when people finished work at eight, these same places would fill to the…

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La Plaza de Santa Ana Chapter 9

             Romantics have a special feeling for the losers of that war and I did then and still do. All my trips to Spain have involved the contemplation of that war and the observation of its effects in the culture. But right now, I had to find the center of town. I got to…

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On to Madrid, Chapter 8

            As I headed south and began to pick up a hint of spring in the wind, I believed that my hard times were behind me and that new and good things were up ahead. Feeling good on the motorcycle, passing through the towns along the Bay of Bayonne and seeing spring flowers in…

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In Paris with No Money Chapter 7

          The rain stopped sometime in the night and a reasonable morning followed. After cleaning my bike and thanking the people at the hotel I headed for Paris with no money but with enough gas to get there. I had the address of a man Mark and I had met on the boat. That was…

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On the Road to France, Chapter 6

          Even Italy is cold in March and this was England. My leather jacket kept out the wind but my dungarees didn’t. There was no windscreen or fairing on that classic motorcycle I was beginning to love so much. I got as far as I could toward the English Channel before pulling into an inn…

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Lonely in London Chapter 5

            I had been living in a lonely room in a boarding house. I walked up five flights to get to it. In the two months I was there, I don’t remember seeing other tenants. There was a hot pan where I cooked lamb chops and a shilling meter for heat. It was cold…

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Crossing the Atlantic Chapter 4

In February of 1964, during a season of serious storms in the north Atlantic, we got on the SS America, and headed out of New York harbor for Liverpool in England. Our ship’s quarters were more like a locker than a room, miniscule, with four bunks and a sink. We were stuffed in there with…

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Things Changed with the President’s Death Chapter 3

          I don’t know how much that had to do with the next thing that happened in my life, maybe a lot. It shook things up, things that were not too solidly in place to begin with. In any case, there was malaise in me, a restlessness and dissatisfaction with the trajectory of my life…

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The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 2

          Back in boarding school where I had been cooped up learning academic skills, the book of the era was Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. Like the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, I felt that the whole show was flawed and phony. Like him, I yearned to find out what was real and I was ready to…

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The Air Conditioned Nightmare Chapter 1

Dawn broke gray and silent on another dreary London day. A cold March rain hit my face and drizzled down my neck as I snuck past my landlady’s apartment and out the door and onto the street where my new Triumph motorcycle waited. I was ready for my escape. I was just nineteen years old…

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