Bronze Warrior, by ALP Gouthier
(English Version May 2019)
I dedicate this book to the two great loves of my life:
Jo – Joseph Alexander Martinez,
25-09-44 – 18-12-15,
who in this book is named ― Joseph Eros della Rosa.
Ovidio Santos Gouthier,
who still lives by my side, and in this book
is named ― Albert Ovid Freyer.
“As I pen these words to leave a lasting record,
I wonder myself where it all began.”
― Richard Peck,
Ghosts I Have Been
“Some stories move you more than others,
they touch a place in your heart that leaves you forever changed.”
― Suzanne D. Williams, Me & Timothy Cooper
“Life, she realised, so often became a determined,
avoidance of pain - of one's own, of other people's.
But sometimes pain had to be acknowledged and even touched
that one could move into it and through it and past it.
Or else be destroyed by it.”
― Mary Balogh, Simply Love
Approximate period of time covered: 1911 – 2016.
Locations: Diamantina, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and London.
While my daughter Xena Olympia was living in Rio from 2009 to 2012, I planned with her a Christmas at home, for which we were to have a T-shirt made to give as a present to each
guest. On the front of the T-shirts I had printed my verse about my apartment in Rio being an enchanted hideaway.
I composed this stanza when I first went to Rio, had it engraved on a brass
plaque and put it on the front door of my Rio home. It says:
Visitors Not Welcome
Few Exceptions Made
It was therefore clear that I was then
living through a period of my life when I desperately needed rest and calm, only obtained through the silence of solitude, to restore my strength.
On the back of the T-shirts was printed:
Person classified as an exception
Everybody who came to the party was amused by this, and said they were honoured to be classified as an exception. This still happens
when I relate the story to my occasional visitors and explain that this very oriental abode was not created for social occasions, but as a private retreat, which it continues to be.
The guests at
that Christmas party were either family or friends. But they are not part of the list of people I acknowledge here as having played a very special role in my life.
So, I will now define my special
people: They are those who accidentally come into our lives, often in unexpected ways, and yet their presence make a very positive contribution to our lives.
Everyday life makes us reveal our personality
to the people who work with us, around us or for us, while we perceive theirs. As a consequence, mutual respect and affection may ensue. I am very fortunate to have had many such special people in my life, some of whom I list here.
Maria do Rosario Paiva
was a granddaughter of the Rezende family’s house-slaves. After all, slavery in that country only ended completely in 1888, and Maria was born in about 1911 at the same country house as was my father. This house, named Guaritas, is located near the town
of São Gotardo in the western part of the state of Minas Gerais, deep in the heart of Brazil.
When my parents married in
1938, Maria do Rosario came to work for them in Belo Horizonte. They at first, lived in a house at Rua São Paulo 978, near the centre of town, and moved to the Chacara in 1945.
The Chacara is the house that I always remember as my home. It was originally a country house situated on the outskirts of the city of Belo Horizonte, but as the city encroached on the whole area it became a town house, yet with a very large garden surrounding
Maria do Rosaria was placed in care of us three children, and we called her Dindinha. The term Dindinha means Godmother. She
was our nanny, our second mother and a person of authority in the service area of the house, as well as an excellent cook. She was always present in our lives and we were all immensely fond of her and still miss her so much.
In the dreams I sometimes have of Dindinha I see myself talking to her as I used to in the old days. She lived with us, or near us, until she died in about 1979, not long before
my daughter was born. I remember when she told me about a year before her death that she had dreamt of me with a little girl.
Marguerite Richardson was French woman, who at the outbreak of World War I found herself living in the south of France with her English husband. Faced with imminent German attack on the area where they lived they escaped on
a ship bound for Brazil.
From Rio de Janeiro they moved west, inland, and finally settled in the town of Diamantina, lodging with
my grandmother Teresa Dayrell Cattapreta’s family sometime before my mother’s birth in 1916. Madame, as we called her, was about the same age as my maternal grandmother and the two women soon developed a close friendship, which resulted in Madame
becoming my mother’s Godmother.
Eventually Madame’s husband died in Diamantina and she was left alone in the world
as they had no children. So when my mother’s family moved from the mountains to the state capital, Belo Horizonte, Madame came too.
Throughout my youth Madame occupied one of the houses in the grounds of the Chacara, where I used to visit her. I never tired of listening to her stories about her past in France and the difficult trip across the Atlantic in wartime. She died in 1975, in her
late eighties, and after sixty years in Brazil she still spoke with the heaviest French accent.
Vicente: He was a gardener who worked on the grounds that surrounded my home, from about 1950 to 1955. I remember the day when he brought me a gold chain and medallion, which I had dropped on the grass. Though still a child, I was quick to realise that
he must have been an honest man to have returned it to me.
While talking with him one day he told me that he was not Catholic,
as were most people in Brazil, but a Protestant instead. So I told my mother that being a Protestant must be good because he was a very good person.
I sometimes watched him work in a light rain and my mother would call out to him, “Sr. Vicente, come out of the rain.” But he would sometimes ignore her pleas and continue his labour, saying “It’s is only a drizzle Dona Clara”.
Dorinda was a Spanish woman who worked as a dressmaker in our home for about eight years from about 1952. Dorinda’s
family had recently come from Spain and lived in Belo Horizonte, not too far from us.
I liked her very much and after school would
often go to the sewing room to talk to her. She would also make clothes for my dolls and my mother would come up every so often and pretend to be angry that Dorinda was just playing dollies with me.
I was fascinated by the stories she told me about the snow in Spain, which I had never seen, and about picking cherries from a tree. In Brazil cherries were then very expensive and I thought that having a whole tree full of them was a dream. I still have the
clothes Dorinda made for my doll called Suzanna, which are in perfect condition, as is the doll.
Joaquim das Neves França: When my sister Clarissa Demetria was born in 1951 she had a very serious health condition. As this required her to have injections of anti-biotics during the night, my parents made arrangements with a youngster by the
name of Joaquim, who worked at a nearby pharmacy at the Rua Padre Eustaquio, to attend to this.
As time went on my father learned
that Joaquim worked nights to be able to pay for a place to live and to finance his studies during the day. So, my father invited him to live in a room in the service area of our Chacara where he could sleep at night free of charge and continue his studies.
Soon Joaquim started working in my father’s office where he stayed for many years until he moved to São Paulo. I have a photo of Joaquim, which he gave to my mother, in his university graduation cap and gown.
As a schoolgirl I used to ask Joaquim to write compositions for me to take to school because I was hopeless at this task. But when he did so I would read them and invariably
“Oh Joaquim, this is no good!”
“Why is it bad?” he would ask me.
“No, it is too good! I could never write anything like this. To make it appear as if I wrote it you have to make a few mistakes here and there!”
Gerson Cesário: As one of my father’s businesses was a large number of Cinemas in the Belo Horizonte, we also had our own cinema at home where we watched films before they were released.
So from about 1951 to 1986 Gerson, or Dedé as we called him, used to show films to the family at home. This happened every day except Sundays,
right after an early dinner and the sessions were frequented regularly by my mother, the children old enough, grandmother Teresa and uncle Lauro who lived with her, Madame, Dindinha and whoever else that wished to see any particular film.
During the day Dedé worked in my father’s office. As he knew everyone in the local Municipal and State Departments he was the family
documents facilitator. He would accompany the various family members, including uncles, aunts and cousins, through the various Public Departments, ignoring queues and going straight into the offices of the heads of each department with the simple announcement
in my particular case, “This is the daughter of Dr. Luciânia”. It was so embarrassing! But as this was better than facing long delays I meekly submitted.
Having known Dedé for so long he was also my ally, always interceding on my behalf whenever the occasion required, and always striving to do whatever I wished him to do for me.
In 1990, when in possession of inside information, I advised Dedé to close a deal on the purchase of some printing machinery that he wished to acquire from my father’s company because I knew that it would be permenantly removed from sale the following
day. I did it to repay him for all the attention he always gave me. He was my eyes and ears inside my father’s office. Unfortunately Dedé developed Alzheimer’s and later died of it.
Ersilia dos Santos started working for the family in about 1952, when my father bought us a holiday apartment in Rio de Janeiro at the Morro da Viuva, just above my uncle Geraldo’s home. The rest of the year when we were
not there Ercilia lived alone. In the early 1960s Ersilia moved to our next flat at Posto 6 on the Avenida Atlantica in Copacabana where she lived for almost thirty years.
She told me that as her mother died when she was born she had been brought up by her aunt who did not care for her and had not even bothered to register her birth. So when she grew up she had to do it herself and had to invent a date of birth and a surname
From the time of the birth of my children Ercilia used to help care for them when we were in Rio. She was very nice
to them so they were both very fond of her. In 1990 when we sold that flat Ercilia went to live in Belo Horizonte in a place my brother arranged for her. Tragically, a few years later she met a violent death at the hands of someone who broke into her home.
Maria de Lurdes Silva Carvalho came to work at our home, the Chacara, in Belo Horizonte, when I was about 10 years
old in the early 1950s. I often chatted with her while she worked around the house On one occasion I went down to the service area and saw another maid passing a hot combing iron through her hair. I asked them what they were doing and they told me de Lurdes
was making herself beautiful to go out with her boyfriend, whom she later married.
She still works for my brother and I am always
happy to see her when I go there. Her sister also later worked for my mother, and her niece, Marinês, now works for me.
Margarido was a general factotum around our home from about 1958 until the final time that he disappeared in about 1976. He worked as a gardener, tended to the dogs and other animals that roamed about, such as peacocks, parrots,
macaws, seriemas, mutums and other birds, ran errands around and the property, and later became a watchman.
Though he was still
fairly young, my mother told me that Margarido had been ‘encostado’ (put aside) by the Institute. This meant that he had been retired by the local National Health because he sometimes had periods of complete amnesia. During these bouts he did not
know who he was or where he lived and worked, and would roam the streets aimlessly until his memory came back. We were very fond of him and always gave him employment each time he emerged from one of these absences, hungry, dishevelled and in tatters.
As he had our complete confidence and had trouble sleeping at night, in later years he became a night-watchman. I remember feeling very protected and
reassured by his presence as he circled the house during the night wearing a long cape under which he hid a shotgun. There are many priceless stories that happened concerning him, and he is an important character in my family saga.
Assis de Ramos Faria was my mother’s driver I believe for over twenty years. Whenever there was some trouble in transit
by a young person of the family whom mother thought best, for any reason, not be presented as culprit Assis would quickly run to the site and pose as the perpetrator for the infraction. One such occasion happened when my cousin on a state of slight intoxication
drove her car into a wall - fortunately the wall of a relative, Zeze Gulliker Renault, who immediately took the two girls into her home and quickly advised my mother of the accident. Assis, however, when not supervised was fond of speeding a little but on
one such occasions, when he was driving on a road, with my mother happily asleep at the back, he overtook my brother’s car, who promptly chased him up and gave him absolute hell for risking mother’s life.
After my mother’s death, Assis continued as my brother’s driver, and especially after the death of my brother’s wife, Gerda, when the need occurred Assis also
assumed the role of nanny to the children, sleeping at the family home when my brother had to be away. He worked with my brother to the end of his own life.
Sr. Antonio was a gardener in later years, from about 1975 to 1995, and he also came to know my children. He was a quiet, kind and gentle person. The end of his life was very unexpected, and we were all left wondering what could
have caused him to kill himself. He was found hanging from a rope in one of the service houses within the grounds of our Chacara.
Zilda Nebel: I met Zilda in London in 1984 when she came to work for me at my home there. Her daughter Caroline was then four years old, just a few months older than my daughter Xena Olympia.
Five years later I went to live with my children in Brazil, and in 1999 Zilda and Caroline also moved to Rio de Janeiro. Finally, in 2001 when I became involved in the administration
of the Ouro Verde Hotel in Rio, Zilda came to work there, and later progressed to the position of my personal assistant.
in 2013 her daughter Caroline died of cancer at the age of 35. She was such a beautiful girl in both personality and looks and we were all very shocked by her untimely death. Sometime after this Zilda decided to return to the place where she was born, Rio
Grande do Sul.
Ratinho, this nick name means ‘little rat’ worked at the Chacara,
from approximately 1980 to 1986, when he very suddenly and unexpectedly died, still very young.
As Ratinho was very good
with children, he was often put in charge of entertaining them outdoors, to give the mothers and the nannies a break. He played this role with my brother’s children, Agenor and Tessa, and also with mine, Xena and Perseus, when we were there.
By the way, in Brazil we never name the rodent in question a mouse, even when they are small, they are a little rat. Mice are only found in laboratories
and I have never seen one. Not that I have seen many rats either.
Fatima Espirito Santo, in
1985, came from Portugal to work for me in London, as an Au Pair. My children were then about five and two respectively. She cared for them devotedly until 1989 when we moved to Brazil and we are still in touch with Fatima.
Milton Parreiras: In 1990, when we went to live in Belo Horizonte, I told Dedé that I needed an absolutely trustworthy driver to drive
my children. Dedé suggested Milton, who had already been working for my father’s company for some time. He still drives for my son Michael Perseus when he is in town.
Marinês Felix da Silva: In 1990, when I needed to staff my new apartment in Belo Horizonte, I searched for possible candidates among the families of people who already worked for our family, and someone suggested a niece
of Maria de Lurdes, whom I mentioned before.
This is how Marinês came into my life, never to leave again. From working at
our home, she naturally progressed to working at the Dayrell Hotel and I cannot be there without her. Her two sons, Giovanni and Luciano, were born after she started to work with me, and now also work in the company.
Jaqueline de Oliveira Gonçalves: Jack’s father, Gerson de Oliveira worked for my father for forty-five years and they were very
fond of each other. Her uncle Pedro Paulo Bioró has been attached to my family for over 55 years, starting at the age of fourteen. And Jaqueline herself, first worked as a secretary in my father’s office in Belo Horizonte, when she first moved
from the town of Lagoa da Prata, next to the old Luciânia Sugar Refinery.
So, when I needed someone to work with the children
and take care of the actual run of my house, Dedé, my ally at the office, suggested that I employ Jaqueline, as she was the daughter of my father’s faithful employee Gerson. Thus, Jaqueline came, in 1991, to live with us at our beautiful apartment
at the Rua Tomé de Souza, on the pleasant quartier of Lourdes.
Some years later, Jaqueline told me that her father had recommended
to her to follow me, for the rest of her life, wherever I went, as he had done with my father. And, in a way, that is what happened. As the children grew up, Jack became my private secretary, from where she progressed, to an executive position in my hotel
business, of which she is now a very capable and efficient General Manager.
In the long term, I value honesty and dedication more
than anything else. And it is amazing how little by little people can surprise us with a hidden capacity, which was not obvious at first. Jaqueline is my right-hand person, and runs every aspect of my life.
Thus, we talk business and other subjects almost every day, wherever I might be in the world. We made a pact to work together for the rest of our lives, and also to always protect each other’s children. This is indeed a very comforting arrangement, for
both of us. I am godmother to her daughter, who was named Ana Luiza, after me.
was known by most as Dona Beeca. She started working at my house as a dressmaker in 1991, and our connection to each other was never severed. She once told me that she had a dream in which we were walking along a narrow
path above a cliff bordering a river. And that whenever she was frightened, I extended my hand to her. After she died in 2002, I also had many dreams of Dona Beeca, where she is still alive,and lives by me.
Evaldo José de Oliveira: In 1989 Evaldo moved from Brasilia to work in our company in Belo Horizonte. But it was only in 1995 that he actually started working directly with me. This was the time right after my father’s
death, when I was faced with the daunting prospect of running my own business, which I had never done before. Evaldo is a very capable and correct person, and we then formed a relationship of mutual respect and trust. He worked with me until 2015.
Sonia Maria da Silva Mota: Sonia’s parents worked for my aunt Nenem, my father’s elder sister, and
Sonia was born at her country house. When still young, she went to work at my father’s old hotel, on the same site as the family’s first bank, the Banco Financial da Produção. Our personal relationship, however, only started when
I took over the Real Palace Hotel in 1995, which became the Dayrell.
Oredir Candido da Silva: Ledi
was only 16 years old when he started working for my father’s company in 1985. When I took over the administration of the Real Palace he was one of the members of the maintenance team, but as time went on he came to be a very successfully head of the
department. Ledi is a handsome man, as well as intelligent, capable and correct. While he was working with me, he completed his secondary studies with distinction, I am proud to say.
Maria Braga São José: Dona Lia started working as a dressmaker for the Real Palace Hotel, which was at the time run by my sister Clarissa Demetria. From 1995 she started sewing my artistic creations in oriental
silks, which have been framed and now adorn the public areas of the walls of the Dayrell and the new conventions areas.
recently said to me: “Senhora Anastasia, you have been so kind to me. At my age, without you, I would have been unemployed.” To which I replied, “What are you talking about Dona Lia? What would I have done without you to piece together my
works of art? We have depended on each other!”
Antonio Carlos Ferreira is nick-named
Fumaça, which means ‘smoke’.It is curious how little things that happen in life can bond people for ever. Fumaça had been working at the Dayrell for a long time as part of the maintenance team, and one day Ledi told me that he was
very depressed, because his wife had left him. As we, at the time, needed someone to do odd jobs at the Ouro Verde Hotel in Rio, Ledi suggested that we send Fumaça there, as a change of scene might be beneficial. Fumaça loved Rio and soon recuperated
from his sadness. And until today he says we saved him.
Antonio Carlos Roque da Silva
was known by as Carlinhos Marcineiro, or Carpenter. As I love putting pictures up on walls I soon got to know Carlinhos, who always has a smile on his face.
There are also few other very nice people at the Dayrell’s maintenance team, as well as in other departments, such as security and operational. But if I were to mention them all I would almost have to write a book about this. So, I will only mention
Raimundo Alves de Souza: In the year of 2000, Sr Raimundo was hired by the company
as a carpenter, but I discovered that he was also a restorer. He had learned his skills from the priests who run the orphanage where he was raised. But, I soon found myself having to protect him from others of the maintenance team, who made fun of his artistic
Antonio de Oliveira: Sr. Antonio, Marcineiro, runs his own Joiner’s Workshop,
and started doing jobs for me in 1996. He has always been a very pleasant person and a capable artisan, but I usually only saw him occasionally when I had to explain some detail of work that I had commissioned.
At the beginning of 2003, Antonio was making the cupboards in my new apartment in Rio, and on one occasion when I visited the site I noticed that Antonio looked very crestfallen.
So, I approached him and asked, ‘What’s the matter Antonio, are you all right?’ At the time, he only replied, “Yes, I’m fine, thank you.” I am still amazed how a few words expressed, almost without thought, can mean so much
to somebody else.
Some years passed before I heard that Antonio had gone through a difficult time. He had taken to drink and later
had also lost a son. But he had the strength to help himself and joined AA. Now he is completely recuperated and has great success telling members of AA, in many Brazilian cities about his misadventures with alcohol.
He told me that one of the stories he tells people is about the occasion when I spoke to him in Rio, noticing that he was not well. He told me that my words were very important
to him. Whenever I am in Belo Horizonte and need his services, he always comes with great promptness. Our relationship is good for both of us.
Maria de Fatima Manasses: This Fatima is married to Marinês’s brother. She started doing weekend work for us at home in about 1997, when the other staff were off duty. When children are small it is useful to have
help most of the time.
I often put her in charge of my son Michael Perseus, who wanted to play with his friends at our weekend
house, The Basatrice. I told Fatima to phone me if Perseus was disobedient, which usually made him furious, and at times he was rude to her, but Fatima always managed to keep her calm. These days she comes to see me every time I go to Belo Horizonte, and we
laugh at the memories of that time.
Jesus Sebastião Filho: In 1989 I was taken by Milton,
my driver, to see some land that belonged to my father’s company and was enchanted by the great number of Jabuticaba and Mango trees in the area. And for this reason alone, I bought the area to make a weekend house for my children, which came to be known
as the Basatrice.
I was told at the time that this not a good area of town for a that sort of retreat as it was it the wrong side
of town, but as I knew it would last only a few years before we would return to England, I still chose it because of the amazing fruit trees that grew in the area.
I had built there a comfortable house for a caretaker, and in 1993, Jesus came to live there with his family, and work for me. This was a lovely property and among the various fruit that grew there were jabuticabas, mangos to jambos, guavas, acerolas, pitangas
and many others, apart from the innumerable flowers. I also had planted Jiboia creepers to the trunk of most trees that grew there, as I had seen in both Singapore and Bangkok, so that soon I had my own perfectly manicured tropical jungle.
The weekend house that I had built there for was inspired on my visions of the houses built by the English in New Delhi, which are surrounded by arches
and columns. And I filled this house with the oriental artefacts that I had collected through the years. This was not a large house, but just a pleasant retreat in the style of a polo club that I saw somewhere also in India, with its wide verandas surrounding
it, and in my case, with a beautiful pool and a Jacuzzi that Perseus and I enjoyed so much.
This was also where our Labrador dogs
lived, Mavro, Krissi and Leon. After my children returned to London and I moved to Rio, I sold the Basatrice. But Jesus continued being entrusted with the care of the dogs for the rest of their lives, in a facility that I had built in the backyard of Jesus’s
house. After the Basatrice Jesus came to work at the Dayrell Hotel as part of the security team. It is always pleasant to see his smile each time I go there.
Valter Pereira de Queiroz was already working as a buyer and ‘almocharife’, or goods-guard, of the family hotel, when I took over. But I only got to know him at the time when we undertook a program of quality control,
in 1997, and after all these years, it is still a pleasure working with him. Walter definitely has ‘green-fingers’ and his hobby is caring of his orchard at home.
Geraldo Rosa da Silva, the driver, also belongs to our memories of life in Belo Horizonte. When Sr. Geraldo came to work for me, in 1997, as a weekend and evening driver, I soon realised that he was a person of very good character.
As he was retired from old his position as a police driver, he was licenced to carry a gun. So, I thought it wise to allow
him to have his weapon hidden in the vehicle. After the children went back to England, Sr. Geraldo continued to work as a company driver for me, until he died in 2002.
Antonio Gabriel de Jesus told me that he had to start working very early to help his widowed mother. At the beginning he took on any type of work that he could find, while he strived to continue his studies. And, after
working for an American, he became interested in the study of languages, becoming fluent in English, French and German, apart from his native Portuguese. He later also succeeded in obtaining a university degree in history.
Gabriel prides himself for being the first person of African origin to work at the old Del Rey Hotel, in Belo Horizonte, and I met him in 1997, while he worked at the reception
of my Dayrell Hotel. I have always had great admiration for him as I know how difficult it is to learn a foreign language, and these days we are friends on Facebook.
Marcos Ferreira dos Santos: I first met Netinho, which means grandson, in 1991, working as a gardener at my weekend house, the Basatrice. But he now works at the events department of the Dayrell Hotel.
It was at one of the Dayrell’s Christmas parties that I first saw him dance, dressed in a Smoking Suite and black-and-white shoes, and was very
impressed by his show. Being a dancer myself, I know when I see excellence. He told me that had learned how to dance from street dancers, at the age of ten. And now, on occasions, him and his “Soul Veterans” do shows at night-clubs and at private
Kelly Regina Carvalho Braga: In 2003, when my new apartment in Rio de
Janeiro was almost ready, I had to find someone to work there. I inquired among friends and was recommended the daughter of woman who had worked for a family I knew.
On the day of the interview, Kelly came along with her mother, when I remember watching her as she looked at the décor in my office at my hotel, the Ouro Verde at Copacabana beach. After twelve years, we are still happily working together.
Carlos Alberto França Bandeira is the son of a friend of my father’s, and he started working at the
family’s Real-Estate company, Fayal SA, in 1976. After my father’s death, he worked for my brother and now works independently. He continues to be my trusted advisor in the Real-Estate business. I think he can be terribly funny, and I much
enjoy his company. His daughter Isabela Bandeira Meinberg now works for me at Dayrell Hotel & Conventions.
Joao Luiz Cornélio da Silva is a ‘Despachante’, as well as a lawyer and researcher. I had known Sr. João by name for some years before I actually met him. In Brazil bureaucracy is so complicated that some people
earn their living as a ‘despachante’, or someone who, for a fee, will unravel the complex system in order to obtain documents, or modify them, whatever may be necessary. This was the work that Sr. João had been doing for our company.
But more recently, as I required research for my books from municipal agencies of various localities, I enlisted his services also for this purpose.
And at last I had success in probing into previous centuries. So, when I had an opportunity to meet Sr. João in person, in 2010, I was happy to learn about his very interesting trajectory in life. He started work early, as many people in Brazil have
to, so he could only complete his studies much later in life, when he also got a Degree in Law.
Menezes: I first met Arthur when he was still working in his father’s company Walter Heuer Evaluations, which was contracted to value businesses for us, some time after my father’ death in 1990, and could not forget his riveting final presentation
of his work. We had occasional contact through the years that followed and Arthur finally created the cover of my first book, PINDORAMA & Ancient Human Trails. We have by now become friends and it is always a pleasure to see him and his wife.
But that is not all. As Arthur knew that I was writing the BRONZE WARRIOR, he insisted that he had to make its cover, so as it would be as beautiful
as the first one he made for me. Thus he produced a bronze cover for the Bronze Warrior and I was mesmerized by it. Arthur is indeed very artistic and very good taste.
I must not end my exposé about special people, without mentioning a few people whom I knew or I know, who have been very important to the family:
Oswaldo da Silva, Juvenal and ‘Chumbinho’ (meaning lead pellet) were from São Gotardo, my father’s
birth town. They always worked with my family in various capacities as drivers and later managers. I have photographs of Chumbinho and his sister, taking care of me at the age of three years old.
Geralda de Queiroz: Dona Geralda was my father’s cousin, and the daughter of a Luciana Pereira - my grandfather’s Totônio’s sister. I here note the tradition in the family of the name Luciana. D.
Geralda worked at my father’s office for fifty years, from 1945, until the age of 80. She was known for her prodigious memory and capacity for organization.
Oswaldo Damaceno was my father’s manager at the Luciânia Sugar Refinery, from 1950 to 1980, and a person absolutely devoted to my father. Only the most severe health problems caused Oswaldo to stop working when
he did, but they remained friends to the end.
One of my father’s last recommendations to the three of us, his children, was
that we continue with the monetary help to Oswaldo, for as long as Oswaldo lived. And my father’s instruction was duly respected.
Hely Ribeiro was an executive at Fayal SA from about 1960, and after my father’s death he also worked many part time for my brother. My impression of him was that he was always very serious.
Dr Lelis Silvino was my father solicitor from about 1950 to 1970. He would always help my mother and us children
with documents and with enrolling at schools or other activities, as my father was always too busy and would forget what we had asked him to do.
Dr Lelis used to sometimes come to our home for lunch with my father, and at Easter he brought decorated paper-cones filled with sugared peanuts for us children, from his home town, which we enjoyed very much.
Gerson Paulo de Oliveira is Jaqueline’s father, and what I remember best about him was his exuberant ‘joie de vivre’. There
are countless stories that he told me of his long relationship with my father, from 1947 to 1990, as well as tales related to me by my father about Gerson, which will one day deserve to be narrated in length.
Gerson was at the time nick-named Riffifi, and he tried to be, as much as he could, my father’s faithful eyes and ears about the various businesses.
Pedro Paulo Gonsalves de Oliveira: Pedro Paulo Bioró is Jaqueline’s uncle. He told to me how he was
at the age of fourteen, in 1961, chosen by my father, among various candidates, to work helping care for my grandfather in his later years. My Vovô Totonio, grandfather Totônio, or the Coronel Totônio - as he was known, was by then very forgetful
and needed extra care and full time attention. Pedro Paulo never again left the family.
Barbosa is an accountant who has worked with the family now for over 35 years, as of 1980, and in this time has indeed earned our confidence and our appreciation. He presently runs our company EPOM, which oversees the sugar-cane plantations and other
interest in west of Minas Gerais.
Dr. Decio Mitre was a solicitor at Fayal SA from 1975 to
1991. I contacted him in recent years, in my endeavour of gathering of information for my books. We have met on occasion so that he would relate to me stories of his professional relationship with my father.
Dante Lanza Santos: I first met Dante when I returned to Brazil and he was the very capable controller of CIAOM, our company also known as the Luciânia Sugar Refinery, from 1994 to 2001. I felt at the time that I formed
an unspoken alliance with Dante, and even now that he has gone to work with Dreyfus, we have still retained our link.
Dr Constantino Amaral, the owner of ‘Cartorio Amaral’ in Belo Horizonte was an advisor and a friend of my father’s, and when he retired, his son Carlos Alberto Amaral succeeded him at
the business, and continued to accessorise us in business.
Antonio Carlos Rodrigues, or as
we know him Tonhao, was thirteen years old when he started working for the supermarket run by our company in Luciania, or our Sugar and Alcohol producing company, in the west of Minas. In 1970, having moved to Belo Horizonte he went to work at offices of our
Real-Estate company Fayal SA, where he learned to appreciate the process of Accounting. And he relates how my father offered to finance his studies, by which he became a qualified accountant. But he also told me how much later in 1989, one year before my father’s
death, after a business meeting my father inquired to him as to the reason for his saddened expression. And explaining my father that it was because his mother had cancer, father offered to pay for his mother’s treatment. So it is natural that after
50 years, Tonhao is still with us.
Having given a brief résumé of my relationship between the people here listed
and myself, it becomes obvious that we developed a mutual bond. So, I may conclude that even though I, and my family, have been antagonised and disliked by so many people who often did not know us personally, I also have many people who like my family and
myself, and are there our devoted allies and protectors.
There are such lovely people in my country of birth, very especially among the economically less fortunate. They are often genuine and not
afraid to show their feelings. This is basically the greatest cultural difference between the Brazilians and the English, who are usually so restrained and fearful of the expression of emotions.
ALP Gouthier, 2015.
us got to where we are alone.
Whether the assistance we received was obvious or subtle,
someone's help is a big part of understanding
the importance of saying thank you.
- Harvey Mackay