Some Autobiographical Notes

Hitler invaded Austria in March 1938.  I was born the next year of Austrian parents who had migrated to Cheyenne, Wyoming in the early '20s.

I had a happy childhood with the help of family and friends.  I spent a few moments of my early years under the kitchen table.  During the day, I was there to gather the peas that I had hidden on a ledge the day before.  I hated peas.  Other children might see magic as pulling a rabbit out of a hat.  For me it was getting the peas from my plate to the ledge under the table without my mother noticing the slight of hand.  After collecting them the next day I would bury them in the back yard.  To the best of my knowledge, they were never discovered.

At night I sometimes spent longer periods under the table because the air raid sirens had sounded.  On such occasions my father would wrap a Civil Defense band around his arm, turn off all the lights in the house and leave us alone to be sure that all the neighbors had their lights turned off also.  Under the table was considered a safe spot for children in case of a bombing. The possibility of being bombed in Cheyenne seemed rather remote, but maybe there was some reasoning behind the exercise.  My older brother, who was an officer in the Army Air Force (a teenager -- known as a "ninety-day wonder"), was in Austria dropping bombs near my grandparent's home.  I suppose it would have only been fair if some of my Austrian cousins would have liked to have dropped some bombs on Cheyenne, too.

When I was eighteen, I left Cheyenne for Denver, Colorado and spent the next eight years at St. Thomas Seminary studying to be a Roman Catholic priest.  I was ordained in 1965 and had twenty-nine wonderful years loving and being loved by the people in the places where I was assigned.

I lived eight of those years in a cardboard and tin shack on the periphery of Caracas, Venezuela.  In 1993 I was to return to the United States when I discovered that I was in love.  In 1994 I married a great person, Susana Gonzalez, and the hierarchy of the church decided that my active priestly life should automatically end.

Little by little, Susana and I discovered that our lives were richer as friends than as husband and wife and we separated in 2000.  She is still a wonderful friend.

In April 2002 a coup took place in Venezuela.  It was against a democratically elected government that had widespread support among the lower economic classes.  I found the lies in the international and local media so extremely biased in favor of the upper classes that I decided to dedicate my life to trying to present another picture of the Venezuelan reality.

With my $361.00 monthly social security check and help from a friend who has loaned me an apartment I am able to survive and continue to reside in Venezuela.  Like the United States, it is a beautiful country with some fantastic people.

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About Charlie Hardy