At the request of a family member, we have removed our original profile of Marcella Crump (ca 1926-2017) and replaced it with this summary version. Crump was a photographer who was active in Ajijic in the late 1950s and early 1960s and whose story is similar in some ways to that of Beverly Johnson who arrived slightly later.
Crump’s husband – Capt. David O. Crump, a B-47 pilot with the Air Force Strategic Air Command – was killed in January 1955 when two B-47s collided during refueling, leaving her to bring up their six young children. Marcella later took the family to Mexico and settled in Ajijic.
Crump initially rented Zara’s “beach house”, a small cottage positioned on the lakefront a couple of blocks west of the pier. This cottage had some very interesting renters over the years, including Lona Isoard, Mimi Fariña (the younger sister of singer Joan Baez), and Iona Kupiec, drama teacher and world traveler.
Later, the Crump family moved to a home (see painting above by Gustel Foust) near the church.
This photograph is of Raymond’s younger sister Hilda and other children, with the obligatory piñata, enjoying a posada, sponsored by the church, at the Escuela Marcos Castellanos (a Primary School for girls) in Ajijic.
Raymond Crump remembers many of the people who were living in Ajijic during his childhood and adolescence, including Curtis Foust (son of Gustel Foust), Alice Bateman (eldest daughter of Laura and Jack Bateman), John Bruce, Eugene Quesada, and Alice Sendis and her two children: Gustavo and Milagro.
Ajijic has quite a long tradition of holding an annual globo (balloon) competition in which contestants vie to make a balloon that flies the furthest. Watching the event in about 1962 (below) were (left to right): Laura Bateman, Neill James, unknown, Alicia Sendis and Hilda Crump.
The balloon made by the Bateman family dwarfed all others in this particular year, with the author-artist Jack Bateman proving his abilities in terms of design and construction.
As one example of the many photographs that Marcella Crump took of the village of Ajijic, here is one of what was then Serna’s store, near the plaza, in the early 1960s.
- My sincere thanks to Raymond Crump for graciously sharing information about his mother and the family’s life in Mexico.
Want to learn more? (Sources):
- Lake Chapala Society Oral History Project: Marcella Crump.
- The B-47 Stratojet Association. Webpage [29 July 2017].
- Lake Charles American Press (Lake Charles, Louisiana). 1955. “Four Crewmen Still Missing after 2 Stratojets Collide”. Lake Charles American Press, 6 January 1955, p 1. [and succeeding days]
Sombrero Books welcomes comments, corrections or additional material related to any of the writers and artists featured in our series of mini-bios. Please use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts, or email us.