Maria Diosas (Colombian Green Card)
Back at the time of the Mandolin Case, there was a girl who worked at Harvey Memorial named Maria Diaoas. She came here when they started the green card visas. Nowadays the term ‘Green Card’ is one you hear a lot, but back then it was unusual. And I want you to know I am not making fun of anyone just because they weren’t born in this country. Indie always said if your people weren’t Native American you came here from somewhere else. Indie got along with most everybody, and I agreed with his views on treating people fair.
This child stood out in the crowd as different. Well, she wasn’t exactly a child, but more of a child in a woman’s body. Back then most of us in Harvey County were either black or white, but her skin tones was some kinda nutmeg complexion. She looked like one of those women on the cover of a travel magazines where Docs go to study about high blood pressure. I never did understand why a fellow’d have to go to some faraway beach to study high blood- I bet we had a thousand folks with hypertension right here in Harvey County.
Maria made an L.P.N while she was here, but worked as a secretary for Jim Olden, our hospital administrator. She didn’t like to work nights and he got her a day job.
I didn’t know the girl, but Snookers went out with her a few times. He said she liked vodka and fancy cars and was too high maintenance for him to get along with. Jim Olden said Snookers wasn’t kind enough to Maria, and saw to it she had a better apartment. She bought Mr. Olden a music box that played the Dr. Zhivago theme. One time Indie said Mr. Olden’s office was like a magical music box. To demonstrate, he opened and closed the door a couple times over a few minutes. Each time he cracked it open “Somewhere My Love” would come to abrupt halt. It made Olden mad. Indie just laughed.
The girl was beyond mysterious, as exotic as an Italian pizza would have been in Harvey County back in the 60’s. We were sure she came from Colombia, and her jet black hair and dark eyes fit the background. But she also has some kinda Russian connection. Snookers said her grandparents still lived there. They’re gone now, I guess, that was about two decades ago. She said her middle name was Kay. I thought that was quite Americanized, but she would sign her name as Maria K. Diosas, instead of Kay. Snookers said it stood for Katalina, but the cold war was winding down and she didn’t want to make that fact public.
I think Snookers was right- she must have had some sort of Russian ancestry. Not only did she like Dr. Zhivago (she pronounced it Doctor ‘Shee-KA- GO”- sort of like Chicago with a Spanish accent) and vodka, but she dug James Bond and “From Russia with Love.” She liked “Goldfinger” too. She said she preferred American men. Snookers tried to tell her Bond was British. She didn’t like that. It was part of why they split after a few dates.
I’ve got some age on me, but I ain’t so old I can’t pick a pretty girl out of a line-up, and Maria was a pretty girl. In fact, she looked dangerous. I could spot that in a line up too. My ladies at the office have excellent intuition and they understood it on first glance. Her skin was somewhere in between nutmeg and honey colored. She was 5’6″ and 113 pounds. Dark eyed, black haired, she was a long legged lanky Latino who looked like an SI girl. Striking would not do her justice. I guess she might perspire but she didn’t sweat- made a lot of men sweat though. I kept my distance from her, but Snook said she smelled like a tropical flower, and Olden wrote lousy poetry on the subject for a decade after she left Harvey County.
I’m not sure if I spelled her last name right, or what it meant. Mr. Olden lives just outside of Atlanta now. Snookers went down there to try and find out more about her, but Olden sent word he didn’t feel up to visitors that day. If any of y’all know what it means, let me in on it. I’m still finishing up some last minute research for the Mandolin Case, and it would help me out.