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April 2014 – Mary Carmen Pickup

//April 2014 – Mary Carmen Pickup

April 2014 – Mary Carmen Pickup

DSC01672This month our VIP is Mary Carmen Pickup

Married to Dick Pickup, the Amigos long time Treasurer , there’s a little information about her in Dick’s VIP interview, December 2013. But now we’re finding out more.

Where did you live before Bucerias?

I am originally from Mexico City.  Between the age of 15 – 18 I visited my Aunt and family in Los Angeles, Ca., and picked up English.  In Mexico City I worked for Krupp a large German metal casings company; and then I was a receptionist for Telmex.  I have also lived in Guadalajara for 25 years.

Why did you move to this area?

Friends told me I could earn more money by selling clothes in Vallarta!   On one of those visits I was introduced by a realtor’s friend to Dick Pickup.  We then had a deposito for 6 years behind the bullring, we called it Deposito Mary Carmen and it is still there.  I ran it from 9 am to 7pm.  We did have a permit allowing longer hours but decided not to – we wanted to have a life outside of work!

Was it dangerous to run a deposito?

No.  Dick would come along at 6.30 and sit outside watching the people.  On Wednesday nights we would see the losers of the bullfights being taken away to the butcher’s shop.  It was a very small business and did not have a lot of attraction for me – I was selling beer to people who worked nearby and they were spending their money on beer and not on their family, and even tho there were two other depositos in the area,  I felt bad about that situation.  So I studied to be a masseuse and sold the business and I felt much better.  I did massages for 4 – 5 years, by which time I was getting pains in my thumbs.  It was a good business which I had transferred to here but the Doctor said “no more”.

We’d moved to Bucerias in 2004 and joined Amigos and we found out who to deal with for street lights and water leaks. Then  I started to get involved in altruistic projects.  The first year, that was about 2009, was with Patricia Mendez with the Cleft Palate program and I helped out.   Dick had already become Treasurer of Amigos and so I joined too.  Then Sue Usry asked me if I would help in the children’s library.  And then Veronica asked me if I would help with the Manos de Amor Rhythm n Ribs; and now I attend at the Tercera Edad with books from the library.

You’re obviously a woman who can’t say no!

Well, if it interests me then I’ll do it!  I think it is very important to help in the community – so now I’m working more in my retirement than before!   Especially with the kids.  Saturday mornings at the library I have about 25 of them come along from 11 – 3pm.

That’s impressive!  What do you do with them?

We read for about an hour, then we make handicrafts.  Later we have some fruit and something to drink. Then we play table top games like Loteria – it’s fun – and it’s also educational.  The kids are all ages but this is not a nursery –  they  have to be at an age when they can learn to read.

Your commitment to the community involved you taking on City Hall a while back.

This was when I still had my deposito.  Where the cement ended and it was just a dirt road,  all of a sudden they were building the NAME?? golf course and this included  creating a paved road up to it.  The engineer’s office was directly across the street from my deposito.  The arroyo was half a block away which drained all of Pitillal from the estero to the ocean.  It was 15 – 20 ft wide at the bottom and the banks were 25 – 30 ft wide.  The new road put in just a 3 ft diameter pipe to drain this raging river coming out of Pitillal, so of course it all flooded – into all the houses; I had 18” in my deposito.  And this happened twice.  At that time the Mayor had a ”Citizens Wednesday” once a month, when anyone with a request or complaint or argument could attend at City Hall.  So of course I wanted to see the Mayor – I spoke to my neighbours but nobody wanted to go with me so Dick and I went along – I was #4 in line.  I had drawings of the arroyo, the road, highlighted the flood areas,  measured the size of the pipes…When it was my turn the Mayor asked if I was an owner and I said no, and he said it had to be an owner to talk.  So the second time I got 15 – 20 neighbours to come along and the Mayor called in the engineers, the public works, the water company.  The engineers had to produce their drawings – which matched mine almost exactly.  The Mayor said: Ok this is Wednesday, we will meet at the bridge at 8 a.m. on Saturday.  And so we did –  there were many Government people, at least 15 city vehicles, and the Mayor told the public works to open up the road to stop flooding these people.

And they said: “We just finished this road!  What about the buses?”

And he basically said: “What part of open up this road don’t you understand?” !

So they closed off the road, the  machines arrived, and they dug up the road and connected to the water mains on both sides so they wouldn’t have to dig up again.  But when they poured in the concrete they hadn’t firmed down the earth sufficiently so the net day they had to dig it all up again and pack it “properly” – and then that night it rained and washed it all away.  Well it took them  a week to get it done correctly, and it took a year for all the work to be done, creating an arroyo you could drive three cars side by side under a new bridge – which we called the Mary Carmen bridge!

You have taken on a few Municipal challenges!

Ah – Yes: Again this was back when I had the deposito. There was  one transformer feeding 5 carpenter shops, a junk shop and lots of houses.  Depending on when the carpenter stores turned on, the transformer would quit, it was obviously grossly over loaded.  We went to the light company CFE.  All the neighbours didn’t want to go, they asked me to go.  And then there was the water company who “fixed” leaks by wrapping the pipe in plastic or an inner tube.  At one point there were 13 leaks in one block. They had a new water main in the street – but nobody was connected to it.  I had the private cell numbers for both the lights repair and water repair bosses – the water man was really good, I’d call him in the morning and by the afternoon the repair was done!  Unfortunately they are not there any more!  He worked really well with me – but even tho I know the names of this administration, they don’t do anything.

With the street lights department we said we’d buy the bulb – but they still didn’t come for two weeks.  They’d say they were coming, but didn’t show up.  The workers will do the work – but they just need the bosses to tell them!  It’s not the CFE – who are rolling in money – who do the repairs, they only provide the electricity.  The repairs are done by the local government, Obras Publicas – and they always say they don’t have any materials.

Here in Bucerias, Streets Encino and Colorado – which give access to four colonias from the highway – were completely dark and so we managed to see Presidente Paniagua in 2011.   We saw him in his office in Valle  on Thursday – there were 15 – 20 of us at a time but he looked at me first and asked “What can I do for you?”  He gave me his business card and cell number, his department called me, and on Monday the workmen were here. We showed them – and two weeks later they put up the new lights.    There was the time when they promised to put in 10 lightbulbs and they did – but they had taken them from 10 other lights! We said we’d hand over the light bulbs when they came, but they took that as an insult.

Over the years the situation has really changed very little… except that in the latest dealings with the Secretario and the Public Works Department  Dick,  Ronnie & I have established a better relationship with them – and a very successful campaign is well under way.   But we don’t know what will happen when the new administration get in this year.

We know that you and Dick own your house in Colonia Las Brisas – and the disruption the Fiesta for Santa Cecilia causes you.  Another challenge on your hands?

Yes.  This fiesta has lost touch with the original concept – It’s just become a commercial enterprise.  Some of the money the street vendors make was meant to help the church, but they get nothing.   The local people pay their taxes, rents, and keep the fronts of their houses clean.  But the outsiders come in and sell, they don’t live here, so they don’t care and they use the street like a toilet.  The smell of urine is terrible.  And trash everywhere.  The music is so loud.  I have a petition to respect the closing hours of the festival in the plaza here to not play music until 4 or 5 in the morning!  Everyone is working, and the kids need to go to school.  And to provide more banos – they only put 4 banos and there are over 1,000 people attending on the last day – and drinking a lot of beer.

Do you have family?

I have two daughters – one in Bucerias and one in PV, and 2 grand daughters, and one great grand daughter.  I have a sister in Tampa and cousins in Mexico City.  We keep in touch at Christmas.

When you are not taking on City Hall – What are your personal interests or hobbies?

I do yoga regularly and walk a lot.  I enjoy making handicrafts with the kids.  Apart from the huicholes, these are country people who work all day long and don’t have time or money to make these things, and the schools don’t teach this.  I learnt how to do this when I was young, but never had the need to make anything.

Anything else you would like to share with us?

Going back to not saying “no” – I don’t care who it is – I like to help.

Thank you  Mary Carmen  !



By | 2014-04-03T14:59:37-06:00 April 3rd, 2014|VIP Interview|Comments Off on April 2014 – Mary Carmen Pickup

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