Tommy, a different neighbour
TXT: pedro juan gutiÉrrez photo: rÓMULO SANS
At first glance, he’s a strange, extravagant fellow. A mulatto, with his head shaven and a robust complexion. Jewellery dripping from his hands and neck. Friends with the whole neighbourhood. From morning to night he shares out kisses and greetings. The telephone and the door bell ring every five minutes.
We have been friends and neighbours for many years and I am sure that every day Tommy Reyes speaks to, kisses, greets and talks on the phone to at least a hundred people, perhaps more. He lives alone, in a huge colonial house on Gervasio Street, in Centro Habana. But the part about his solitude is only a theory. He actually has very few minutes for silence and inner reflection. His house is almost two hundred years old and is a gem of Cuban colonial architecture. As if that wasn’t enough, he owns an enormous collection of all sorts of highly valuable antiques. Of the city’s private collections, this is one of the biggest and best. The first impression is of gaudiness, clutter and total chaos. From furniture, lamps and porcelain figures, pendulum clocks, books, photographs and Sèvres biscuit figurines. It boggles the mind. There are thousands of all sorts of little things scattered throughout eight rooms and a wonderful courtyard, where he looks after a garden with more than a hundred tropical plants. A garden of lush Caribbean vegetation, that extends up the stairway and climbs up to the rooftop. Hundreds of colourful plants in all kinds of pots, containers and clay jars!
How does Tommy find the time to attend to two enormous gardens, that fabulous mansion and dozens of people every day?.
+ information pág. 102-107 The H Book 2008 09