Memoir: “A True Story” by Alfredo Santos c/s
Now I Believe !
by Alfredo Santos c/s
“The Little Boy Who
Disappeared at the Golf Course”
by Alfredo Rodriguez Santos c/s
What you are about to read is a true story. It took place in 1968 in Uvalde, Texas, where I grew up as a teenager. Many of the individuals who were with me when this event took place still live in Uvalde.
Although it has been more than 40 years since it happened, I will never forget what we saw that night in Uvalde, Texas. It was a typical summer night in South Texas. The scorching 100 degree heat from the day had kept most people inside their homes. But now night had fallen and people were outside on their porches visiting with neighbors or cruising up and down Main Street in their cars.
Dando la vuelta was the thing to do back then. Gasoline at the Fina Service Station only cost $.22 a gallon. But for me it didn’t really matter, because I did my cruising on a Honda 50 motorcycle and I could get 50 or 60 miles per gallon! I loved my motorcycle. It was my freedom machine and I rode it every chance I could.
As I cruised up and down Main Street, I came upon a tan and white 1956 Ford Crown Victoria that was stopped at a traffic light by Churches Chicken. It was Chema’s car. Jose Chema Martinez always had nice cars. I remember very well his purple 1955 Chevrolet with the white tuck and roll upholstery job he had done in Mexico. I guess this Ford was another one of his project cars.
I peaked inside, and lo and behold I saw a bunch of familiar faces! Inside were none other than, Rata (Richard Garcia), Nevarez (Ricardo Nevarez), Mofle (Onofre Morales), David Luna y otro vato whose name escape me at the moment. Rata, Nevarez, Mofle and I all played high school football together and were good friends.
“¿Que estan haciendo?” I asked as I threw my head al estilo Uvalde. Rata answered first,“Aquí nomas. No hay nada más que hacer. No tenemos feria.” I nodded in the affirmative when he mentioned money, porque yo también andaba mrdio quebrado.
“Vamos ir al parque a oir rolas,” Rata said as the traffic light turned green. I took that as an invitation and fell in behind them as they continued to head East on Main Street. We crossed Getty Street, la calle Camp and then Wood Street before arriving at the Uvalde Memorial Park.
Thornton’s Texaco Station was located right next to the park entrance and I remember looking at the big clock inside, that read 11:00pm. Once inside the park we pulled up to the tennis courts and parked. Today, those courts are gone and have been replaced by a volleyball area and the road that went all the way around the park is also gone.
We got off our vehicles and bantered a bit before deciding to head into the middle of the park to chill out. Somebody had a 45 rpm record player which was going to be our entertainment for the evening (The technology of the times). I didn’t see anybody else in the park as we walked into the center to “make camp.”
As the music was playing softly, we took turns telling stories, fighting with the mosquitos and wondering about all of our friends who had gone up North for the summer to work in the fields. “Where is David Ozuna?” Someone asked. “He went up North y anda jalando.” “Where is . . . . so and so? Pués qué también se fué pa’l norte al betabel.”
We continued talking and listen to music when suddenly I began to notice a change in the temperature. It seemed as though the temperature had dropped 20 degrees. Then someone commented that the crickets, beetles and other animals in the park had gone silent. That was strange. However, it was when the record player began to lose its clarity and started to slow down that we really began to pay attention to our surroundings. And that is when we saw him . . . . or it. I don’t remember who was the first one to see him but I do remember that by the time he got in front of the golf club house he had definitely caught our attention.
¿Quien Es Ese Chamaquito?
As he came toward the road that went around the park, the light revealed that he was perhaps a boy between 12 or 13 years old. He was also carrying something in his arms. As he got to the road, he bent over and opened his arms. We saw it was a dog. . . . . . .a dog on a leash. The little boy began to walk the dog along the perimeter of the park heading toward Main Street. “Quien es ese chamaquito?” Onofre asked out loud.
Rata and Nevarez grew up in the neighborhood adjacent to the golf course (El barrio de abajo), so they were the ones who would most likely have an answer. But they both said they didn’t have a clue. We continued to watch as the little boy continued to move North along the park road. When he got to the flag pole, he crossed over and headed down into the Leona River. Although the river was dry, the actions of this little boy left us curious (But not curious enough to go follow him into the river).
With the kid out of sight, we put him out of mind. The sounds of the summer night had returned and we continued our conversations, joking around and listening to the music. Then, about a half hour later, somebody in our group looked up and saw the little boy again. He was walking back along the road but this time he didn’t have the dog with him anymore. As he got closer, again, the sounds of the crickets and the other animals had gone silent.
Now we were really curious. As he got closer and closer, somebody in our group said “Vamos a ver quien es este vato.” “Simon,” somebody else said as we got up off the grass. We approached at an angle so as to intercept him on the road, but the little boy must have seen us, because he moved over to the other side. Mofle and I were at the head of our group as the kid headed into the golf course. Again, he must have seen us or sensed us because he started moving quickly. In fact, we had to break into a full run just to keep up. Over a fairway and across another we went until we finally started to get closer to this kid.
We were now in the middle of the golf course and maybe about 15 or 20 feet away from the kid when Mofle yelled out, “Hey vato! Parale hay!” (Hey dude, stop where you are). But before we could get any closer, the little boy started to turn his head and before we could even make out his profile, he burst into an bright, orange flame and disappeared! That’s right! Right there in front of us, he just vanished!
En La Madre!
“¡En la madre! ¡Baboso!”, yelled Mofle. I couldn’t believe what I had just seen! We stopped dead in our tracks. The others, even though they were maybe 30 feet behind us, saw the same thing. Este chavalito se desaparecio! “Wachaste?” Nevarez asked. “Simon ese” Someone responded.
¿A Donde fue este cabron!? “Where did he go?” Preguntó otro. Nadie contesto. Nobody volunteered a response. We didn’t know what to think. Then to break the silence someone said something about an old Mexican saying that where there is fire there is money. Y con eso we all looked down for signs of scorched grass. It didn’t take but 5 seconds to see with the moonlight that there was no scorched grass.
No one wanted to admit what we had just collectively witnessed. After all, we were “tough guys” and we weren’t about to show any fear. Someone suggested that we search the immediate area y como tontos we broke into teams of two to “search” for the little boy. But who were we kidding? This kid disappeared in the middle of a golf fairway! There were no bushes to hide behind. There were no shrubs!
After a minute or two of going through the motions of searching of the immediate area, we came back to the spot where the kid had disappeared. Of course there was nothing to report. We looked at each other and because we were tough guys, nadie queria enseñar que tenia miedo.
Then, and I won’t say who, (It wasn’t me) but one of the guys in the group started to tremble and as he tried to say something his voice began to break, his eyes got real big and it seemed like he was having a breakdown. Between a look of susto and a high pitched voice, he cried out, “Yo no se que esta pasando pero . . . .
“Well, he didn’t have to say anything else. That frightful look on his face said it all and the need for us to be tough guys was the last thing on our mind. Asustados, escamados, and just plain scared, we ran for our lives! Over the fairways and through the golf course, we ran like hell back to our vehicles! We had just witnessed something beyond our comprehension. Maybe something not even human! ¡A la mo!
Although the road coming into Memorial Park was a one way, I got on my motorcycle and dashed out the wrong way. I didn’t even wait to see what the others were going to do. I was scared. “What did we just see?” I asked myself as I raced home on that Honda at 42 miles per hour.
The following day, and for many days, months and even years, we did not speak of what happened to us in the park. We didn’t say anything in part because we didn’t know what to say. I also felt that if we did speak of this event, people were going to say, “que andaban fumando?” So we just stayed silent when it came to this incident.
The years passed, and each of us went our separate ways. Rata and Mofle joined the Navy, while David Luna moved to San Antonio. Chema stayed in Uvalde and I went out to California and ended up going to college.
In 1973, I was an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley. One day friend showed me a book called the Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge. She told me a little bit about the book, which described a sorcerer who could disappear and fly. Immediately I thought about the event in the park in Uvalde. I listened to her describe the book and thought that maybe here was the answer to the disappearance of the little boy.
The next day, I went and bought a copy. I read the book slowly and was fascinated by what the author was revealing about his experiences with the sorcerer, Don Juan Matus. Over the next two years, I read four of what came to be a series of about seven books by Carlos Castaneda. While the books were fascinating, in the end, they did not bring me any closer to an explanation of what happened with the kid in the golf course.
In 1992, I was living in Newark, Delaware and going to school once again. By chance I came across a book called Other Worlds by a physicist named Paul Davies. In this book, Dr. Davies describes in layman’s terms Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and how it is possible for there to exist “parallel worlds” in the same space and time.
What Davies suggests, and what I now believe, is that we may have witnessed that someone moving from one world and into another, or as in our case, the little boy in the golf course was moving between different realities or worlds. Yes, I know that sounds strange. How can someone move from one world and into another? And it is here that we enter into the heart of the debate of what is reality?
Was the kid real? What does it mean for something to be real? As I now approach my 60s, I can only say that what happened back in 1968 continues to weigh on my mind. Should I feel privileged that my friends and I were given a peek at something that shows that the world is much bigger than most people imagine? Or should I feel fear knowing that the things most of us believe are important in this world are but minor illusions whose purpose is to distract us?
I must confess that the more I learn, the less I know, only because I know there is so much more to learn. If Paul Davies’ theory is correct, the question remains, who is the little boy?