Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Train-of-Death ride? So that's what became of Sonia Nazario!

Sonia Nazario atop Mexican "Train of Death"

Back when I lived in 'Evanstar House' on that Berkeley-Oakland border called Alcatraz Avenue, Scott Corey, Charles Weathers, and I had a variety of flatmates over the years from 1985 to 1989, when I also became one of those boarders who left for good.

Some left for even better.

Sonia Nazario, for example. Even when she first came to board in 'Evanstar House', she had a career. I didn't realize it at first because Sonia was quite modest. Not that she tried to hide her career as a journalist, but she also didn't trumpet her success, so I initially failed to pick up on it -- and not merely because I'm obtuse. I was distracted at the time by a girlfriend in Switzerland whose charms had me back and forth between that landlocked, mountain country and the San Francisco Bay. I think that I was underway in a European airport when I picked up a copy of the Wall Street Journal and saw a familiar face and name leap out at me: Sonia Nazario.

"Hey!" I cried aloud, "That's my flatmate."

None of the strangers around me knew what I jabbering about. Neither do I, now, for I can't recall the article itself, but I did, at the time, suddenly understand Sonia's jokes about her mother's Hispanic pronunciation of the Wall Street 'Urinal'.

Sonia had a rather complicated ethnicity. Her mother was a Jewish woman who had met her husband, a Christian Arab, in Israel. Sonia, the complex offspring of that unusual union, grew up partly in Argentina and spoke fluent Spanish . . . and equally fluent English. Technically, she was both fully Jewish (matrilineally, from her mother) and fully Arab (patrilineally, from her father) . . . but also entirely Hispanic, I suppose.

I see from her website that she now writes for the Los Angeles Times and for her journalism has won a Pulitzer Prize, among other impressive awards.

I don't read the Times much, for I subscribe to the International Herald Tribune, so I've largely missed her career as a journalist, but I recently had occasion to recall Sonia joking about her mother's Hispanic pronunciation of "journalist" as "urinalist." That pronunciation came to mind because I happened to be searching for the proper term to describe a journalist whom I recently encountered, a fountain of misinformation perhaps accurately referred to as a 'urinalist' . . . but I rejected that bathroom humor as beneath me.

Anyway, Sonia appears to have hit the bigtime with a book on Enrique's Journey, which seems to have been published in 2006 or 2007 and is available at Amazon.com as well as other places. I've not read it, though it sounds interesting -- the story of a Hispanic boy's trip from Honduras to the US to find and reunite with his mother, which was apparently a difficult and dangerous trip that included riding the "Train of Death" . . . though Enrique seems to have survived.

Sonia must have survived her own Train of Death ride, which is probably not as much fun as it appears in the photo above.

Adios again, Sonia.



At 6:34 AM, Blogger Al-Ozarka said...

"...but I rejected that bathroom humor as beneath me."

Be bold, Jeff! Be very, very BOLD!

"Bathroom humor", as you call it, can often be used to enhance reason and logic, you know? It sometimes reinforces truth!

"Urinalist"...a wonderful tool in this Obama-worshipping media climate!

At 7:06 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, Daddio, I suppose that I did use that word 'urinalist' after all . . . and it's a pretty good euphemism for "journalist."

Have a good Fourth!

Jeffery Hodges

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