Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Me & Julio down by the school yard...

Julio & Myself at Christmas party at Fisk Schools in December 1978.

I met Julio Galvão in 1974, when I taught teaching English at Escolas Fisk in Vila Mariana in São Paulo. He was a bright young man from Maranhão - the most northern Brazilian state - who had been educated in a Catholic seminary run by Dutch priests where he had the chance to learn both Dutch and English. He was pretty fluent in English and knew grammar quite well. He was a likeable character and very popular with students and the secretaries Elena and Nezel. Julio was a natural. I was not! I actually didn't feel comfortable teaching English. Maybe because I wasn't sure about my grammar and too self-obsessed to be a good teacher.

Me and Julio hit it off straight away even though he was an Aries and I am a Taurean. I guess he liked the way I spoke English. Having lived in the USA and having come back recently I knew the most recent slangs and had the right intonations even though my grammar was not that good. 

Julio shared a flat with a Paulista boy friend of his somewhere in Cambuci, a middle class suburb not far from Vila Mariana.

I went back to the USA in July 1975, and sort of lost touch with Julio who continued teaching at Fisk's Vila Mariana school. 

When I came back to Brazil in 1977, me & Julio picked up where we had left off in 1975. Actually, Julio had moved to Rio de Janeiro where he had a brother (Raymundo) and sister (Poly) who shared a flat in Rocha, a suburb not too far from the city centre. 

I noticed that Julio was not as happy in Rio as he had been in São Paulo. In Rio he worked as a clerk in an office on Avenida Princesa Izabel but could not get an English-teaching job at night because the English-teaching market in Rio was not as good as that of São Paulo.

I remember that when Elvis Presley died - 16 August 1977 - I was trying to make a living in Rio de Janeiro and Julio was my only friend in town. I rented a room with a family who lived on the top floor of a Botafogo high-rise and I felt terribly lonely. I remember going out with Julio to a night-club called 266 West in Copacabana where he danced like crazy to the sounds of Thelma Houston's 'Don't leave me this way' and Donna Summer's 'I feel love'. 

Even though I had found a teaching job at Brasas in Rio I was not happy at all and after a few weeks I decided I didn't want to live there and came back to São Paulo.

Not long after that, Julio also came back to São Paulo and got his old job back at Fisk Schools. He would work full-time doing clerical work at some office on Rua Estados Unidos and teach English at night. As I was teaching at Rebouças (Pinheiros), Julio also started teaching there. 

Around this time, as Julio was very resourceful, he teamed up with two of his co-workers, Dora and Eloina - and rented a flat on rua da Consolação on the corner with Avenida Paulista. That was probably the time Julio was the happiest and the busiest. He led a free life having one-night-stands at the drop of a hat. At the same time he got involved with Dora who was a very attractive young woman. Dora became pregnant and they decided to start a new life. They got married and moved out to a flat on Avenida 9 de Julho. 

By this time we had grown apart even though we never broke up. I heard from common friends (probably Elena) that Dora had had Julio's baby but I never had the chance to see the child because I was teaching at a different school and soon I would be making a radical change: move to Australia.

Around 1983, when I had been living in Sydney for 2 years I found a free pay-phone in Annandale and rang Julio. Due to the different time-zone I think I rang him at an ungodly hour. He answered the phone but did NOT believe it was I - ringing him from the other side of the planet. He hung up on me! That was the last time I heard Julio's voice. Much later I heard he had come down with the HIV and died some time in the mid to late 1980s. 

Julio was a free spirit! We had a kind of bond that united us somehow. He was dismissive of my conservative social behaviour but we got along... maybe we got along so well because we were so different from each other.   

Julio, dona Maria Turchinski & Luiz Amorim.
Nezel, Julio, dona Maria & Luiz at Fisk's Xmas Party 1977.
Michael Mingucci, Julio Galvão & Luiz Amorim in December 1977.
Fabia Fekete & Julio Galvão on a Saturday morning at Fisk's Rebouças-Unit front-yard.
Fabia who was a student and Julio, a teacher at Fisk's Rebouças-Unit in 1978.