Stories about Old Tampico
"En el Tampico Aquel"

Photographs and Text by John Todd, Jr.

En el Tampico Aquel
At the Book Store in Tampico
Tucked away an upper nook of the magnificent Museo de la Huasteca in Tampico is a small book store.

I asked one of the ladies if they had any books about Tampico.

She suggested the book, "En el Tampico Aquel", by María Antonia Alania.

It wasn´t expensive, so I bought the book and took it home and began reading that night.

It isn´t often that you find a book that captures your fascination, especially when the stories are true.

María Antonia Alanis knows how to bring alive the old times in Tampico from around 1908 to around 1940.

Since I was living in Tampico at the time, the book was even more fascinating!
About María Antonia Alanis
About María Antonia Alanis
The stories were so fascinating that in my spare time, I wanted to translate some of them to share with others.

A couple of weeks later, I was presented María Antonia´s son, Dr. Hector Alanis who is a charming gentleman.

We met over coffee at his home in Cd. Madero (which used to be called "Doña Cecilia") and he told me more about his mother, and the background about the true stories.

His mother was born in 1903, and became a widow early in life. She had studied at the Academie du Sacre Coeur in Paris, learned French, and played the piano well.

So, when her husband died, Doña Toña, as people called her, started a language and piano academy, and printed the first edition of her book in the 1980´s while she was still alive.

In addition to her business life, she was active in her church in other civic activities in Tampico.
About María Antonia Alanis
The Book
Don Hector told me that the stories are real, but in many cases she changed the names to protect their anonymity.

The first edition of the book sold out and her son Don Hector printed a second edition in 2007.

Here are the titles of some of the short stories.

Tampico in those Days
Doña Toña tells the stories against the background of Tampico in those days.

What makes it interesting is that many of her stories are about the times before the days of soft drinks, and motor boats, much less, air conditioning.

The downtown area close to the waterfront and market was busy and bustling with activity just as it is today,

And, her stories will help you understand what you are seeing when you walk the streets of downtown Tampico.

The Plaza de la Libertad in those Days (Rivera and Colon)

Back to the Tampico Section