Stamps of Colorful Personalities
This section is a collection of historical information of people that for some character, behavioral or physical traits have been well known to must aiboniteños. Unfortunatetly people knew them primarily by their knicknames.
Mablas: A former black slave. He was always well dressed and was known to go to every burial in town. He lived to be over 100 years old.
Doblefeo: Not too atractive physically, Doblefeo had a double chin and a very short nose. His real name was Miguel Aponte and he lived somewhere in the San Luis area. He would do publicity for merchants of Aibonito orally standing in different corners of the streets of the town. He did not need a loudspeaker.
Veraneante: A tall man with a missing arm. He lost his arm trying to help someone. In spite of his missing arm he was very strong and skillful. He was a jack-of-all-trades, but his main source of income was as a slaughterer in the slaughter house, a feat in itself given his physical limitations.
Pocho: A street vendor well known during WW II. He could get anything people would ask for no matter how scarce it was. He used to lived in the San Luis sector of the town.
Pichingo:Churchwarden during the WW II years. At that time, church bells were rung three times at equal time intervals prior to each mass to alert parishioners to start their trip to the temple. The bells were rung by rithmically tugging on the ropes and harmoniously creating a pleasant combination of beats called "repiques". Pichingo was a master of the trade and nobody has been able to do it as well. He was substituted by Cosme in the late forties and during the fifties.
Cosme: A well know churchwarden of the Catholic Church in the late forties and fifties. Acording to Johnny Carpena, who knew him well, he was short and bald. He would open the church before 5:00 AM on Sundays, would work straight through until 1:00 PM on the morning masses, and after that he would accompany the priest to give mass at the rural chapels of the town (San Luis, La Plata, Algarrobo & Pulguillas). For each mass he would prepare the ornaments that the priest would require and instruct the altar boys on their duties. He worked with Father Gallegos in confectioning hosts using a flat iron and a puncher brought from Spain. In addition to that his duties included cleaning and maintaining the temple. He was later replace by Carmelo.
El Indio: He was talented guitar player and singer. He was a widely sought-after performer for special occasions where he played his guitar and sang so soulfully that some in his audience would become teary-eyed.
Aguilucho: Aguilucho's real name is Tomas Matos Carpena. Very short and well liked by townspeople. He worked for the Municipal goverment sweeping the streets. A story says he was once hired by a circus and exhibited in a tent as the "Missing Link" in the nearby town of Cayey. Aiboniteños were very upset as they were charged $1.00 to see "Aguilucho" dressed as a caveman when they saw him everyday in the town of Aibonito.
Carañé: A local boxer known for his powerful punches and knockouts. During the Aibonito Patron Saint festivities he was given a quarter for anyone not knocked out within the first two rounds.
Tite Sartén: Tite was well known for visiting every bar in town and accepting drinks from anyone that would offer him one. In many cases he would do small tasks in exchange (mandados). He was known to hang around at "El Chico's Bar", the "Cafetería", and Paco Collazo's billiard hall. (Miranda)
Mencio:The town's snow cone vendor, he had the best flavors: coconut ,raspberry, sour sop, tamarind, vanilla,etc. During those days, the cost of a snow cone was 2 cents.
Goro: Sold the tastiest homemade doughnuts in town.
Mando: Mando lost both his legs after been run over by a an oxen pulled wagon loaded with sugar cane. He lived in the Coqui sector of Aibonito. Mando was able to move around the town of Aibonito in spite of his condition. To accomplish this he would protect his lower body by wrapping a piece of a rubber tube under his torso and he would propel himself by using small blocks of wood in each of his hands
Juan Zayas: Well known fruit vendor, he had his small kiosk on the corner of the town square, across from the protestant church.
Cruz: Was a water carrier,in the San Luis sector.What was interesting about this fellow is that, he was blind and to keep from bumping into people and spilling his water, while walking, he would whistle a tune. He was very strong, because he carried two 5 gallon cans (approximate weight is about 80 lbs.), on a yoke that he fashioned out of a single piece of raw wood.
Cedo: A husky
medium size tough character known to be the meanest man in town. When people
were mean they would be compare to Cedo-"Mas malo que Cedo".
Stories say he was so mean he beat his father to death. He would bully those
weaker than him. He learned his lesson when he was sent to the hospital when
another man hit him over a dozen times with a pipe-survived but learned to
Acknowledgements: The information offered here was compiled through oral history. We are grateful to the details provided on these characters by Felix Miranda who resides in Texas, and John A. Carpena who resides in New Jersey, both members of the Aiboniteños Yahoo Mailgroup.
Date: May 1, 2005