LCS Oral History Project Interviews, Page 2




Interview conducted 7/31/2014 by Harriet Hart. A native of Munich and a former teacher of German in Mexico City, Ingrid Goodrich moved to Lakeside in 1973. She and her husband used to travel by train between Mexico City and Guadalajara to visit her in-laws in Ajijic. Her Mother-in-law moved to Ajijic in the 1940s and began a weaving business, Ellen Curtlands Hand Looms, later Los Telares. The company made bedspreads, table linens and cloth of wool and other fibers. She describes Neill James' involvement in producing silk cloth for rebozos. Ingrid has been active in the LCS since she retired in 1993. She also reflects on the differences between life in Mexico compared to her native Germany.
Interview 1/13/2014 by Harriet Hart. John McWilliams had lived in Lakeside 15 years at the time of the interview. He operated a hair salon in Galveston, Texas for 32 years prior to moving to Lakeside. Describes his experience buying their first house in Ajijc and moving their household goods from Texas. Operated a B&B in Ajijic. Regrets lack of environmental awareness and animal control in Mexico but does appreciate the local climate and lifestyle locally. Early telephone experiences were much different than today. He expresses frustration with the bureaucracy in Mexico and feels that officials often target foreigners for minor offenses unjustly. But it is also true that foreigners often enjoy benefits that Mexican citizens do not. Relates stories about past Ajijic expats Lance Engstrom, and Edie Ferrari. The growth of the restaurant and building industry are described as positives, but the increase in traffic, lack of parking, and the development of social cliques are considered negatives of present lakeside living. He envisions a future with additional hillside residential development and a larger assisted-living industry.
Phyllis Rauch came to Guadalajara in 1967 with her Austrian husband, Georg. During the Mexico Olympic Games, she was employed as a guide introducing foreign visitors to Mexican cultural events around Guadalajara. She later worked as a librarian in Orange County, California. The family returned to Lakeside in 1976. Georg was an artist that was known for kinetic sculpture. She shares her observations on living in Jocotopec. The operation of the LCS Library is described. The LCS Directory was a great value to expats of that period. She believes that the water level of Lake Chapala is a major concern that is being overlooked. A description of several expats living at Ajijic that were considered eccentric characters is provided. Ajijic is described as a very social community with inventive themes for parties and competitive events like the Raft Races.
Interview recorded May 17, 2016. Maxine was 92 at the time of interview. A 32 year resident of Lakeside, she and her husband, Sherman, were involved in a number of tourist businesses related to the Chippewa Indian nation in Minnesota. They responded to a magazine article touting the benefits of retiring in Mexico. They came to Chapala in 1985 from Minnesota and stayed. They later moved to Ajijic. Snow birds at first, they became full-time residents about 15 years ago. The LCS was the center of community activities in the early years. She reports her love of the local weather, food, and the conveniences of living in a small village. Maxine was active in local Eastern Star activities and her husband was an avid hunter. Maxine was a friend of T Falcon, former coordinator of LCS activities. Maxine's life in Minnesota intersected with Terry Vidal, who was running a museum of indian artifacts nearby. Maxine suggested that he visit Ajijic when he expressed interest in Mexico.
Interview by Harriet Hart recorded 06/07/2016. Michael was born in Kent, England, educated at Cambridge in mathematics, and worked as an Actuary. He moved from Toronto to Lakeside in 2000. They were lured here after attending a pre-retirement presentation featuring the Lakeside area. Michael's first wife, Marianne was a PhD in Asian Religion. She was a founder of the Neill James Lectures at the LCS. Marianne also founded and coordinated the Open Circle group in 2001 that now meets at the LCS. Michael relates how the LCS helps expats cut through the red tape involved in living in a foreign country. He also notes the increase in traffic in recent years. The lake level was drastically lower around 2004. He also has been involved with local drama, poetry and writing groups. He applauds the friendliness and helpfulness of Mexican people in contrast to popular news reports. He likens the area to living in 1950's Canada. He cites the ESL program as a positive contribution of the expat community.