Sector Caracol 40th Anniversary
Irving Blake, aka Mr. Chiclets, first arrived in San Carlos in the late spring of 1969. He flew in for a 5 day fishing trip on a Twin engine Turbo prop Fairchild after winning a sales contest for the company he worked for at the time called Gates Rubber. It was the largest plane to that date that had ever set down on the dirt runaway at Guaymas International.
“The pilot had never been here before and as we approached San Carlos he called back to the passengers and asked if anyone on the plane was familiar with the area.” Said Irving.
One of passengers, a retired B17 bomber pilot from World War 2, had a boat at the marina and guided the pilot to the airport. What was supposed to be a 5 day vacation turned into 7 when the twin engine Fairchild blew out a tire on landing.
Blowing out a tire on landing was not much of a big deal for Irving since during the War he flew on B29 bombers as a top gunner. He was stationed in Italy. He recorded 42 combat points on 26 sorties while in the service. How Ironic that he would end up flying into San Carlos just months before the filming of Joseph Heller’s cult classic war novel Catch 22, based on American bomber crews in Italy, would begin.
By 1972 with money tight and the Middle East oil embargo looming Irving was not sure if he could afford to purchase a lot in San Carlos. Alberta his wife was of a different disposition. She immediately fell in love with the Caracol and the incredible views. Irving had no other choice but to write a 500 dollar check as a down payment for their lot.
“We had to run back home and deposit the money so the check would clear”, he recalled. He has returned to San Carlos every year since. He received the name Mr. Chiclets for the Wrigley’s chewing gum he hands out to all he meets. Irving has many wonderful stories to tell about his years in San Carlos that are too numerous to mention but one story in particular sticks out in my mind. When the new Ley supermarket opened up in Guaymas Alberta and Irving went shopping. The plan was for Alberta to go the refrigerated food section while Irving would do the canned goods. When they met up at the cashier Alberta hadn’t bought any food but had a whole bunch of potted plants and flowers.
Upon arrival at their house on the Caracol Irving started to review the receipt. He noticed that the word Dalia appeared on the receipt with the number 54 after it yet they had no Dalia’s to show for it. Certain he had been overcharged Irving went right back to Ley and spoke with the manager. After showing the receipt to the manager it was explained to him that Dalia was the name of the cashier and her code number was 54. Utterly embarrassed Irving gave the manager of Ley a pack of Wrigley’s gum and high tailed it out of Ley.
Irving was born on July 11 1918 and will celebrate his 95th birthday soon. I asked him what kept him coming back to San Carlos all these years. His response:
“San Carlos is my heaven on Earth, the weather is great here and the people are compassionate.”
Special thanks to Irving and his now deceased wife Alberta for all the good will they have spread over their 40 years of visits to Mexico. Now I will retire to my salon with my new pack of Wrigley’s Winter Fresh gum.