Intro from Jay Allison: Carmen Delzell walks the line between being a traveler and homeless.
“Sometimes the difference between being a traveler and a homeless person is hard to define.”
About once a year I pack all the antiques and collectibles I’ve found in Mexico and take the Americanos bus up to Austin Texas where I can sell them on Congress Avenue. The last time I did this I brought a fifty-year-old hand painted Olinala trunk from Guerro full of things like silver earrings from Oaxaca, hand embroidered piano shawls from Spain and carved bakelite bracelets from the fleamarkets of Mexico City. Valuable stuff. Snob stuff.
Unfortunately the bus from Saltillo doesn’t let you off at the Greyhound station.
It lets you off anywhere you want on I-35 between San Antonio and Dallas. In Austin you have the choice of a gas station, International House of Pancakes or the parking lot of a twenty-four hour grocery store.
It was four a.m. when the bus dropped me off. I had less than five dollars in my purse and no one I could call.”
Carmen Delzell has a life of stories. Sometimes, when we’re lucky, they make it to audio tape. This one came to us in the mail on a bedraggled cassette, months after it was recorded. No production, no ProTools… just Carmen with a tape recorder and a microphone. We at Transom.org did a little editing and equalization, and that’s it.
Carmen’s son Colin and his girlfriend Seana Carroll sent us the photo. Seana said in email, “Carmen is standing in front of a car she would like to buy in San Miguel just after Christmas Day 2000.” They also sent a short video clip.
“I asked my son’s girlfriend to take lots of digital photos of me. She says she’ll send them to me and to you after I pick one. I really look old these days. Maybe it’s the Mexican sun at four thousand feet. Maybe it’s that I really am getting older. Face lifts are cheaper down here but I’ve seen lots of bad ones. Nicolas was here for the holidays but I am almost ready to call it quits. He won’t let my dog Milagro sleep with us.”
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Hey, we found a little more of Carmen at the end of her cassette. It seemed like it was over, but it wasn’t! First rule of production: Listen to the whole cassette.
Listen to Carmen Delzell talk about the risks of road food when you’re traveling with no money.
This piece was created with help from HearingVoices.