Tampico
Stories From Old Tampico
The Mexican Revolution Comes to Tampico
The Major´s Wardrobe Closet

Texts by John Todd, Jr.

Carrancistas in Action
A Revolutionary Major Arrives
The people were still afraid the day after the Revolutionaries arrived in Tampico.

Suddenly a Major in the occupying army and some of his soldiers stopped in front of the store called "La Fuente".

Fortunately, they were in a plan of peace and asked the owner of the establishment if he would allow them to leave a wardrobe closet in their storeroom for a few days.
Villistas
After obtaining permission from the owner, Don Leónides, with the help of four soldiers they carried the heavy wardrobe into the large storeroom next to where the beans and corn were kept.

The wardrobe closet was a common piece of furniture used in those days made of cedar wood with an ornate crown on the front with two French moons.

Since it was around 12 noon, it was time for lunch.

The soldiers had left, and Don Leonídes invited the Major to join them at the table to "have a snack", as we used to say in those days.
Soldaderas on a Train in the North
The Major´s Special Skill
The Major, perhaps to correspond to the generous invitation of the businessman, began to narrate his heroic deeds during the Revolution, from the very beginning.

He said that he was a miner in Zacatecas and his specialty was the handling and use of dynamite.

When the general found out he was an experienced expert in his field, he was assigned to blow up the trains they found along the way, no matter whether they were freight, or passenger trains.

The dynamite would explode and the trains would be blown into a thousand pieces.

Then the troops would charge into the wreckage and recover all the booty the could find whether it was food or jewelry.
Train Wreck
Ghastly Stories
Then they would pick the bodies clean of anything of value which might be money, rings, necklaces, religious medals, or watches.

Afterwards, the troops would look at their spoils to see who had gotten the most.
Train Wreck
With Horrifying Details
The Major, absorbed in his role of a narrator, had everyone, including the clerks at the store, and assistants, hanging on each word,

He told of his herioic deeds with a such a luxury of details the group at lunch was horrified!

Eyes of Hatred of a Dying Woman
The major finished his story telling about the last train he had blown up near Cd. Victoria.
Soldiers Boarding a Train
He was impressed by a woman who still alive, holding in her arms the lifeless body of her little son.

She looked at him with such glaring hatred that he was terrified and the image was engraved in his mind.

Several weeks went by, and about two months later, the wardrobe was still being kept in the storeroom. One day the major returned with four soldiers to pick it up.

The Treasure of Ali Baba!
Don Leónides went to open the storeroom.
Trains full of Soldiers
The wardrobe cabinet was very heavy, and when the soldiers opened the two doors, a cascade of trinkets, gold chains, watches, rings, and religious medals.

And even sacred chalices fell out onto the floor.

The treasure of Ali Baba was small compared to the dazzling heap of jewelry.

Don Leónides was so stunned and amazed that he was speechless, and couldn´t say a word.
Train Wreck
Don Leónides was thinking about all the many store clerks and stock boys who could have opened the wardrobe and stolen part or all of it.

He also thought this treasure told many stories of bloodshed and the scavenging of its innocent victims.

The Major Returns to the Store
As time went on, the Major got married, and several years later he passed by in front of the store of Don Leónides, but this time he didn´t go in.
Tampico Before the Revolution
Don Leónides and his employees had to go outside on the sidewalk to see the Major.

Even with his hands tied firmly behind his back, two men were barely able to subdue him, and they were taking him away.

He was violent, angry and crazy.

And, they were taking him to the Hospital Civil.

Haunted by the Eyes of Hatred, and the End of the Major
According to his family, he hadn´t been able to sleep for several months because the image of a woman and a child appeared each time he closed his eyes.

But, he didn´t last long in the hospital. It was said that they found there was no way to control him, and that he died "under unknown circumstances".

And that was the unfortunate end of the Major.

And, perhaps it was better that way...

Back to the Tampico Section