Many who have read the wonderful memoir, The Gift of El Tio, will remember one of the characters, a doctor called Octavio in the memoir. His son, Cornelio, met author Larry Buchanan and Karen Gans when he was just a child in the town of San Cristobal. After Larry’s discovery of a massive silver deposit directly beneath the town, Cornelio witnessed the huge changes that ensued, catalyzed by the discovery. What many don’t know is that Larry and Karen took Cornelio under their wing, inviting him to their town of Ashland, OR, where he attended Southern Oregon University. Read on to hear the news directly from Karen Gans, co-author of The Gift of El Tio.
On Saturday, June 16th, Cornelio graduated from Southern Oregon University. His father, whom we call Octavio in The Gift of El Tio, and pictured above with his son on his graduation day, braved the twenty hour flight (with connections in three countries) to join in the celebration. Octavio had never traveled beyond Bolivia. He was “orgulloso” (proud) and “contento”(content) to be present at his son’s graduation. He reacted to Ashland and San Francisco with wonder and disbelief and was a delightful guest, marveling not only at the Pacific Ocean and the abundant forests, but also at Walmart!
Cornelio also accompanied us to an Ashland book club, much to the delight of the members who attended. He spoke about the advantages and disadvantages of moving of his town, as described in The Gift of El Tio. The club members insisted that Cornelio autograph their copies of the memoir–some even tried to have their Kindles autographed! This was rightfully so as Cornelio contributed much to the telling of our story.