I met Maximo Engracia circa 2004 as a member of a group of old people who used to assembled at Pateo do Colegio (downtown Sao Paulo) every Tuesday at 2:00 PM. The group was made up of mostly old men and some women who cherished old Brazilian pop music. One was either a fan of Orlando Silva or Francisco Alves the two most prominent pop music idols of the 1930s and 1940s. I was told Maximo was a Chicoalvista.
When Maximo passed away, we were informed that the family would sell records and memorabilia he had collected throughout his life. On a particular day we all went to the spacious flat he used to live on Parque D. Pedro II and spent a few hours going through all his stuff. I bought a couple of 78 rpm singles I had been particularly looking for. Some people left the apartment laden with kilos of material.
While I went through his old records and magazines I noticed there was a waste-paper basket with some rubbish thrown in. I rummaged through it and found an envelope containing a few snapshots of Maximo's taken while he was a young man in the 1940s. I decided to keep those photos and here I post them.
After I posted the photos I realized I knew very little about Maximo so I rang Paulo Iabutti, one of the oldest living members of the group we used to call 'Pateo do Colegio people' and he told me Maximo had a flower shop at Parque D. Pedro II and he hailed originally from Ribeirão Preto-SP or thereabouts. He also said Maximo had a son who lived somewhere in the East sector of the city. That's not much but I'm hopeful I will find someone who will enlighten me a bit more about Maximo's activities. While that is not possible let's enjoy these snapshots taken mostly circa 1947 and imagine what his life was like in those far-away times.
Maximo Engracia working as a shop assistant in 1947.
Maximo was a popular fellow and socialized with these 3 mates. At the background one can see Theatro D.Pedro II and the main square in Ribeirão Preto-SP.
It looks like this group of young men have been travelling together. They pose under the sign of Guatapará-SP, a town in the vicinity of Ribeirão Preto-SP.
Here are the same guys with some others. It looks like they knew men who worked for the railway company for they are familiar with tracks and shunting. The snapshot on the right has been double-exposured; it would impossible for the guys to be sitting down on the tracks.
Maximo's on top of the world with some white men. It is hard to place this photo. It looks like he worked in some business related to the construction industry or maybe the setting of paving stones...
These are the same 4 guys from the two initial photos. Maximo looks away from the camera. It looks like the buildings in the back are part of a railway station probably near Ribeirão Preto-SP.
This photo adds up to the mystery. One can easily see that's been shot on the same day as Maximo wears the same suit and striped necktie. Well, he wore striped socks to match with his tie which shows he was fashion-conscious. Most of them are Black but there is at least one white man (next to Maximo). I wonder if they were relatives of Maximo's. And who's the baby on the right?
Maximo & his mates go on an outing to the Ipiranga Monument and Museum
Maximo & four of his mates having Museu do Ipiranga in the background.
on the grounds of the Park of Ipiranga, São Paulo circa 1947.
they all look well dressed wearing suits and braces (suspenders).
Maximos's mates seem to be clowning around with the lion at the Monument's feet; two of them hold bananas in a comic way. on the right,
Maximo on two occasions wearing a darker suit. On the left he apparently waits for a bus with some of his friends - all of them dressed to kill. Maximo holds a cigarette in his left hand which also sports a watch. On the right Maximo has taken off his jacket and leans against a picket fence.
I wonder what that all means... the boys are obviously too well-dressed to be working hard...
this photo is even more mind-boggling... its double-exposure adds up to the confusion... I can't make heads or tails of it.
Maximo & friend go to the beach in Santos-SP
Thais Matarazzo writes about Maximo Engracia and the things he told her about when he was a young man living in Ribeirão Preto-SP in the 1930s.
'Eu me lembro que o sr. Máximo era nascido em Ribeirão Preto e desde cedo esteve ligado à música, frequentando a Radio Club da cidade. Ele disse que assistiu as apresentações de Carmen Miranda e sua irmã Aurora, Almirante e Vassourinha. Contou que ele estava na rua e a Radio ficava num casarão antigo com muitas janelas. Cada um desses artistas apareceu em uma janela diferente. Enquanto Carmen, Aurora e Almirante foram simpáticos com os fãs, Vassourinha foi muito altivo. O sr. Máximo chegou perto dele para pedir um autógrafo e o Vassourinha não quis dar. Preferiu conversar com as moças da cidade'.
'Sim, o Maximo era florista e trabalhou muitos anos na região do Parque D. Pedro II. Me lembro que ele disse que teve várias lojas em diversos pontos daquela região. Conheceu sua futura mulher enquanto vendia flores. Ele disse que numa noite vendendo flores, apareceu lá o Sylvio Caldas'.
Theatro Pedro II inaugurated in 1930.
Palacete Innecchi on the left on Rua Duque de Caxias, Ribeirão Preto.
a just renovated Theatro Pedro II circa 2015...
At Pateo do Collegio in Sao Paulo, September 2004. From left to right: Ariovaldo, Thais Matarazzo, Gouvêa and his grandson (wearing a cap), Estevam, Ferretti, Paulo Iabutti, Milton Baumgarten & Maximo Engracia.