This past Tuesday evening, December 18th, Fredric Cutner Tausend passed away peacefully in Seattle, Washington.
With him departs a legacy of great legal work, historic cases in American law. One such case brought him to Mexico, via my father, Robert Currie Barnard. Through this unprecedented case, grew a lifelong friendship with not only our family, but with many others throughout México.
I will never forget when Fred and his then wife Sandra, with our family of 5, crammed into a Mexico City taxi on our way to a mariachi and pozole joint off Obrero Mundial. Fred announced, “Bob, I’ve learned to yodel!” and promptly threw back his head to demonstrate. The taxi driver swerved in surprise and proceeded to laugh uproariously. I was mesmerized and fell in love… at age two. A man who loves pozole and mariachis and yodels? What more could I ask for?
When Fred brought his new wife to meet us, with her crazy plans to start culinary trips for foreigners to learn about regional Mexican food, I was taken aback and startled. A British woman [Diana Kennedy] who people revere in the US introducing them to the local ingredients? My godmothers and friends receiving gringos in their homes so they can learn my favorite foods? My markets? Insane. Yet there was something to it that was like a magnet. And, if Fred loved this woman and brought her to us, she must be pretty cool, ¿no?
53 years later, both these monumental figures of my childhood are gone. They leave memories of hilarious conversations about food, religion, politics, endless puns with Fred, Gershwin songs, boleros, plots for operas set in Veracruz, musicals, traveling orchestras that could magically appear at the spur of the moment on the way to Celestun, or Tecolutla. Arguments, disagreements, parental advice, learning to accept others with their own shadows and fears, learning to accept people for who they are, as they are. Thank you both for this.
I miss Fred and Marilyn as much as my own parents, and am, weirdly enough, eternally grateful for the exhausting lawsuit that brought us together and hence, where we are today.
Que en paz descansen.