JOSE ISMAEL CAMACHO
I’m sharing with you the life of a clever, funny and gifted writer, a man who could talk about any topic and knew
everything. A father that I miss and wished he could have been preserved for eternity.
Santander del Norte was a quiet province in the norther of Colombia at the beginning of the twentieth century. It had
been rocked a few times by the wars between the liberals and the conservadores during the last century. In a quiet village
called Lebrija an hour away from Bucaramanga, a young woman (Josefina Camacho) went in labour. She already had two other
children and had lost a few others at birth.
Little Horacio Camacho was five years old and his sister Lijia, two years old as they waited with their father outside
the room. As Josefina pushed for a last time, a rose faced child appeared in the world, locks of fair hair on his wet head.
The two children outside the room heard the baby crying and pushed the door. The father, Ismael Camacho, rushed to his
wife’s side and admired the new addition to the family, while the midwife cleaned the child and cut the umbilical cord.
The midwife didn’t let him near the baby. Josefina had lost another baby during the previous year. The midwife
wanted to make sure everything would be fine this time. Ismael led his two other children out of the room. He gave them
some lunch while the midwife made sure mother and baby were all right.
That evening little Ismael slept in a small cot by his mother’s side. The sound of cockerels singing woke them
up the next morning. As the child cried, his mother put him to her breast. The memory of the other children who died young
was fresh in her mind.
Jose Ismael grew up into a chubby child with golden curls. He played with his brother and sister in the countryside
around his home. His peaceful childhood shattered when his father died. Jose Ismael was five years old while Ligia and Horacio
were six and eight years old.
He travelled with his mother, brother and sister on the back of mules, to a town where his uncles lived. That journey
across the mountains must have been exciting for a five year old boy.
It was the ninety thirties and the country didn’t have many roads. Jose Ismael didn’t remember much of his
trek through the mountains. Josefina was a young woman who had just lost her husband. She wanted to give her children a
better life and education.
The uncles were catholic priests. They taught the children all about religion and the bible. The family had to move
between the different uncles a few times. They paid for the children’s education.
My father was 14 years old when the second war world started. He used to read everything about the conflict. He liked
going to the movies to see films and the trailers of the time.
He was a clever boy, who did very well in the school. He had inherited his mother’s blond hair and fair skin.
His sister Ligia and his brother Horacio looked more like their father.
Jose Ismael finished school and studied medicine at the Universidad Nacional of Bogota. He got his degree in medicine
and married his second cousin, Cecilia Mogollon, on the 14 of February 1952.
Maria Cecilia Camacho (The writer of this page) was born on the fifteenth of February1953. My brother Ismael Hernando Camacho
was born onthe thirty first of May 1954.