September 12, 2011
The history about the beginning of hot air balloons, made out of tissue paper, in the town of Ajijic, Jalisco.
Being able to prove that which I will narrate as follows, in the year of 1945 Mr. Absalon Garcia from Sapotitan of Hidalgo, Jalisco, was the pioneer of these balloons and those that knew him can confirm it is true.
I am Angel Chacón, the narrator of this story, nephew of the one mentioned above (Mr. Absalon Garcia). I will tell how it is that almost everyone now knows how to make balloons. I, the nephew on one occasion, asked my uncle, "How is it that he had learned." To which he replied that his father, Mr. Adelaido Garcia had taught him.
I took the opportunity to ask him if he would teach me how to make them, to which he replied, that only on the condition that I would not make them.
As the September festivals were getting closer, he invited me to go with him to the house of Mr. Juan Perez, better known as the Rata, because that house had mosaic brick which was good to paste strips, cut and paste them and there is where I learned to make these balloons, but also forgot what my uncle had recommended to me - not to teach anyone later.
I remember that the first person I taught was Mr. Antonio Pantoja. The year I do not remember, but I do remember, he was a newlywed and his wife Ana was pregnant. Please ask her if this is true. Also if I remember correctly, I also taught Salvador Gutierrez and Javier Paes. What cost me most was the world’s largest scolding by my uncle.
I do not remember the year I moved to Tijuana, but when I was sixteen years old, I left Tijuana to work in Santa Ana, California (in Orange County) picking oranges. But here in the United States, no one is allowed to give work to a minor, so my brother-in-law, Rigoberto, asked a friend if he could take me to work with him. He agreed and I was able to work with him for about four months. Consequently, in the month of September, the season ended for picking oranges, so my work also ended. I decided to return to Tijuana and from the international line where my family lived I could either travel by bus or walk, but I chose the latter. On the way to my families house, there was a public dumpster containing some closed boxes. These caught my attention and I chose to open one of them. What it had in it were some type of wrappings to wrap something. They were like tissue paper, approximately twelve inches by twelve inches, so I decided to take a box with the contents.
When I was at home I decided to paste strips together, with the contents of the box, with the intention of making a hot air balloon. My mother approached me with a newspaper that was soliciting people who could make hot air balloons. This interested me. The following day five people showed up at the Town Hall, the location where they interviewed us, and they told us we each had to prove that we knew to how to make them. When we each had a hot air balloon made, we presented it to the designated committee and had to fly it. I don’t know why but I was asked to be the first to raise my hot air balloon, which flew favorably well.
Then the next person continued with a square balloon which rose approximately twenty meters and then burned. I presume this discouraged the following people and no one else wanted to try theirs.
But one thing which I noticed was that the heights of the balloons of other people were of only two sheets high (approximately 18” x 30”), which would have been impossible for their balloons to rise, which favorably made me to be the lucky one. The next day, I returned to the Town Hall to sign a contract to make one hundred hot air balloons. I would fly these balloons between the dates of September 10th through September 16th and for each one they would pay me seven dollars if it rose or only five dollars if didn’t to cover the cost of making them.
So with what I had saved from picking oranges and what I had gotten paid for the hot air balloons, I decided to go to Ajijic in April 1963, where I stayed for some months. When I noticed as it was getting closer to the month of September, there was a news bulletin which announces all events, and they were announcing a competition of hot air balloons - which surprised me. I also found out that the library was giving classes on how to manufacture them and I believe that as a result of disobeying my uncle, perhaps I contributed, so that now there are organized hot air balloons.
I thank you in advance for reading this article.
(edited by AjijicNews.com)