Saturday, June 30, 2007


Josefina Ziegler and Maria Elena Bailey, two of the Mexico PVA's 'First Ladies', representing the women behind the men who kept chapter functions running smoothly, receive awards from an unidentified United States Consulate official at a mid-70s awards banquet. QUADALAJARA --- The Utopia That Once Was, page 364.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Frank Resseguie founded Brundage Publishing in 1994. He was not only my publisher but a true gentleman always willing to answer questions and lend guidance. Without his help, my book would never have been published. Frank passed away on June 18, 2007. Rest in Peace, my Friend...............

From Brundage Publishing's website - Feathers In The Wind:

The author, a young American fighter pilot stationed with the 78th Thunderbolt Fighter Group at Duxford, England, came down in northern France on October 18, 1943 when France was fully occupied by the Germans. Out of nearly 80,000 U.S. Airmen who came down in Europe during WWII, nearly half were killed and nearly half were captured and taken prisoner. Franklin discloses how he became one of only about 4,000 airmen to escape from Europe without being captured. Read of his last second escapes in the air and on the ground as time and again he outwits the German Luftwaffe and German ground patrols. The contents of this book are best described by those who know the military. It's been called a classic escape story.


Franklin B. Resseguie grew up on a farm in South Gibson, PA, one of twelve children.
Out of high school he worked a short time at the Link Aviation plant in Hillcrest, NY. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor he joined the Air Cadets.

He became a fighter pilot and was a member of the 84th Squadron, 78th Group of the 8th Air Force stationed in England.

After coming down in France and escaping through the Pyrenees Mountains into Spain and back to Englad, he became an instructor of senior West Point cadets.

When the war ended, he attended college and then Cornell Law School. He practiced law in Binghamton, NY for thirty-four years. He is now retired from law and is a publisher.

As a Lt. Col. USAF Ret. he is presently a liaison officer for the Air Force Academy, where he evaluates candidates for admissions. His life has been full of exciting adventures.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007




Contact : Jack Tumidajski

(623) 939-xxxx

Both are paralyzed Vietnam veterans, each had difficulty
adjusting to life in the real world, both journeyed to Mexico
looking for the elusive peace and acceptance they sought,
each had a story to tell. The comparisons end there.

Sometime after World War II, when paralyzed survivors of battlefield injuries were now --- thanks to antibiotic treatment and modern medicine --- living long enough to actually be discharged from military and veterans' hospitals, a few nomadic paraplegics and quadriplegics set out to find freedom and happiness outside a world not ready to accept them. By the 1950's a number of these brave souls, many forgotten by time, discovered sunshine and paradise South of the Border in Guadalajara.

Two decades later Vietnam veterans Ron Kovic and Jack Tumidajski were drawn to this intriguing city in the heart of Mexico. Kovic, a combat injured paraplegic, and Tumidajski, a non-combat injured quadriplegic, would return stateside and eventually publish books which chronicled their vastly different experiences.

Until now, few people even knew that there once was a vibrant community of paraplegic, quadriplegic and other wheelchair users living in and around Guadalajara, Mexico. Other than memories of a dwindling number of older spinal cord injured veterans and non-veteran wheelchairs users and families whose loved ones lived there, the only record of an almost forgotten moment in time is encapsulated in film maker Oliver Stone's adaptation of Kovic's book, Born on the 4th of July.

Tumidajski's book, QUADALAJARA --- The Utopia That Once Was, is the result of 20 years of personal experience, interviews with survivors and Mexican widows of those who lived there, and hours of research. The author takes exception with what he characterizes as some of the myths and misconceptions which were portrayed in Stone's movie. Tumidajski claims, "Whether it's Villa Dulce (as in the movie) or Quadalajara (as in the book), the myth that this was an ocean side sex resort lives on. The movie's only depiction of Mexican women as whores and prostitutes and Vietnam vets and other paras and quads as depressed, whoring alcoholics is an injustice to both groups. One man's experience should not define a thirty year period of time lived by countless hundreds of others."

Although partly autobiographical, QUADALAJARA is, first and foremost, a tribute to those paraplegic and quadriplegic explorers and pioneers who first ventured into uncharted territory and settled in Guadalajara. The book contains over a hundred photos and bios of 260 of those who lived or visited there. It helps preserve the memories and experiences of those who were part this unique history. Long before Christopher Reeve made the terms "quadriplegic" and "spinal cord injury" commonplace and helped raise awareness around the world, many unknown and forgotten others worked tirelessly to help one another and those who would follow."
# # #

If you would like more information about QUADALAJARA, schedule an interview with the author, or request a copy of the book, please contact Jack at (623) 939-xxxx, email:, or visit his website:

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


In the fall of 1998, when I was a social work intern talking to you, someone who had lived in Guadalajara, Mexico, I clearly remember standing at your hospital bed and telling you, "You are part of a remarkable moment in history. You should write a book to tell this story. There's a screenplay in there." After reading parts of that book, now I realize I had no idea at all about just how truly remarkable that moment in history was. I knew it was very important for you, as the youngster of the group, to tell the story.

M.O. Social Worker
San Diego VA
_ _ _ _ _

Wanted to tell you I very much enjoyed your book. You have a gift. The research you did amazes me. Although I wasn’t there, I feel that your documentation of the adventure that you and your fellow pioneers underwent in that place and time will and should always be preserved not only to acknowledge those that participated, but also preserved for those that your courage has and will inspire.

Dennis Burton
Mesa, AZ
_ _ _ _ _

Interesting book. Jack is one of my clients and he shared some of this with us as he was writing it Many of the veterans living in Guadalajara during those years are guys that I know today (or knew before they passed away), so it was an interesting read. Certainly shows a different picture of life in Mexico following Vietnam for SCI veterans than was shown in "Born on the Fourth of July.

From the Internet
_ _ _ _ _

My editor loved the story and I get the feeling that a lot of other people read and liked it. I'm glad we were able to generate some buzz for your book. You have a fascinating story and it's worth telling. I want to thank you again for your cooperation. If there's anything else we can do for you, just let us know.

Dave Casey
Pawtucket Times
_ _ _ _ _

I started reading your book as soon as I got it and read all the way across country when I left Phoenix. I loved the book and felt as if I was there in Mexico -- I can just see you guys. The book was very interesting not just to me who knows you but to some others who have read it. You "quads "are something. I admire your courage and your attitude about your change in life's plan.
Roberta N, Former SCI Nurse
Phoenix VAMC

_ _ _ _ _

Hi Jack! I was so bummed when I learned you left before I could say bye! I wanted to let you know that I am really enjoying reading the book – thank you for sharing. I ... already I have learned so much. It is so eye opening to me to realize that I know so little about the experiences of the people that I serve. When I have read it around friends, I have been able to educate them on what I do and what I have learned from your book. Kathy said it should be a required text for all our staff - I think she is right. I am doing a very involved program this year. It leaves little time for outside reading, but yours is the first book I grab when I get a chance. Thank you again!Sincerely,
Lani D, Recreational Therapist
San Diego VAMC
_ _ _ _ _

My mum snatched your book off of me and is half way through. She loves it!! I asked her if you were more naughty further along in the book, she wouldn't answer me. I'm just teasin', although I really did ask her....

Kimberly G, Physical Therapist
Miami, FL
_ _ _ _ _

Jack, I just finished reading your book/memoir. I find it thoughtful and well-written. It is a good depiction of your personal experience as a disabled expatriate in Mexico. Also, it brought to life the misconceptions and negative opinion about the real purpose of living in Guadalajara.

Eileen H.
San Diego, CA
_ _ _ _ _

Thank you very much for taking the time to speak to me this morning. We're all very appreciative that you were able to write Quadalajara. I was fortunate not only to have lived in that wonderful city, but also to have met most of the early "Pioneers" you mention from the "Golden Era." I was blessed to have been raised by two wonderful parents who raised me during my formative years in that wonderful city. As with all great books, I will from time to time pick up your book and reread it with the same excitement I felt the first time I read it. I hope to keep in touch with you in the years to come.

Dr. J. A. Foland

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Thursday, June 07, 2007


(The following is a first edit preview of an article which, hopefully this time, will appear in a national publication.)

They came from Long Beach, Chicago, New England, New York, Iowa, Oregon, Minnesota and even Puerto Rico. Who were they? Paralyzed veterans, mostly, paraplegics and quadriplegics hoping for a new beginning. In search of freedom and independence from years confined in veterans' hospitals and their bedrooms, unable or unwilling to face the outside world. A world vacant of opportunity for the simplest of human needs --- life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

For the earliest survivors of spinal cord injuries, and others stricken with cruel disabilities that left them the pitied wheelchair-bound members of society, life could be cold and hope for the future even colder. There were some who beat the odds and managed to live full, productive lives --- but they were the rare exception of the reality that being confined to a wheelchair in the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's represented.

According to Jack Tumidajski, author of QUADALAJARA - The Utopia That Once Was, the first ray of hope for many appeared in a Paraplegia News magazine article in 1954. In an open letter to fellow Paralyzed Veterans of America members, James Seybold touts the ideal climate, accessibility and beauty that he discovered in the 'El Dorado of the Western Hemisphere', Mexico City. And, added Seybold, "One word about the senoritas - WOW!" At about the same time, a few other nomadic paraplegics were exploring other auras up the road a ways --- in Quadalajara.

As word spread, other brave souls, paraplegic and quadriplegic veterans of World War II and the Korea War, soon followed. By the late 50's some twenty paras and quads were renting houses and rooms in this newfound Utopia some 300 miles northwest of Mexico City in what someone cutely dubbed "Quadalajara" (melding the words quadriplegic and Guadalajara). Although the passage of time has claimed the names and identities of the earliest explorers of this enticing South-of-the-Border quad paradise, others' names live on in old newspaper articles, magazine achieves and in Tumidajski's book. George Ray, who took over the reigns of what was probably Quadalajara's first group home-away-from-home, from a fellow American para who the locals referred to as Senor Roberto, was soon spreading the word to any para or quad --- trapped in a VA hospital --- interested and adventurous enough to leave family and friends behind and journey to this relatively unknown and uncharted territory.

The gradual trickle of curious paras and quads continued. Young Mexican men, capable of lifting a quadriplegic in and out of bed or vehicle, were recruited and trained to care for quadriplegics.

George Ray teamed first with fellow para Joe Miller in running "George Ray's Place" until Miller struck out on his own, opening an eight room wheelchair-friendly home close to Guadalajara's soccer stadium . Bill Macleary then partnered with Ray and would make period trips to the Long Beach VA Hospital to personally escort men like Bill Bailey and Patrick Wolf to their group home.

In October 1958 Bill Bailey became the first American quad to marry a local senorita, marrying one of the nursing attendants originally hired to care for those who required nursing care. Wolf, an independent para, returned to the States and Macleary opened his own community house across town in the suburb of Las Fuentes. Other paras and quads who had heard of this place in Mexico that promised sunshine in paradise arrived from the US. to take their place.

By 1960 there was sufficient interest in Quadalajara for the opening of a fourth wheelchair community. The spacious Hacienda Las Fuentes, located a block away from "Macleary's Place", was founded by Larry Kegan, a quadriplegic and lifelong friend of singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Within a few years the number of paraplegic and quadriplegic residents of this unique fraternity had grown to over fifty, as friends and new friends began moving out on their own or to share three and four bedroom houses. More quads and paras married locals girls --- another attraction for lonely paralyzed men in seemingly hopeless situations back home.

By the mid-60's the Quadalajara population had reached the century mark. Some American wheelers resided there year round while others visited briefly or became regular snowbirds --- spending winters in Mexico while bringing their Mexican attendants back to the States with them during summer months to spend time with family and friends . Paralyzed veterans who had heard of this place in Mexico from fellow hospital buddies or read advertisements in the Paraplegic News and elsewhere, as well as, non-veterans made for a steady stream of newcomers.

The vets organized and petitioned the national organization of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) for their own chapter South-of-the-Border. The Mexico Chapter PVA became a reality in 1964. By 1967 they had their own clubhouse and BINGO hall. The once rowdy Pioneers had new focus and purpose in life and turned their energy toward helping, not only one another, but children at Jalisco's state run orphanage and poor local grade school children in their community. At the Time, QUADALAJARA author Jack Tumidajski was totally oblivious to what he would someday encounter. He was barely out of kindergarten when James Seybold was exploring territory in and around Mexico City, was a ten year old fourth-grader when future friend and Compadre Bill Bailey discovered this quad paradise and married a pretty senorita, and was a student at Providence College when the Mexico PVA members purchased their clubhouse. Financial concerns led to Tumidajski dropping out of college in his sophomore year. He joined the Army and soon found himself in Vietnam. Within days of his safe return home, he was hospitalized in an Intensive Care Unit . An idiot driver had broken his dreams --- and his neck --- in a split second of stupidity!

The author shares some of his experiences, setbacks and triumphs during his two year hospitalization and rehabilitation and year and a half a living as a virtual shut-in before his decision to ''Check out" Quadalajara.

Tumidajski does not go into his entire life story, rather opting to focus on the time leading up to his own journey to Quadalajara. He spends sufficient time introducing his character through both his Vietnam experience and an exotic R&R spent in Bangkok Thailand.

The two stories become entwined shortly thereafter as the author, according to Military Writers Society of America President Bill McDonald, "Does a wonderful job preserving the history of these people and this subculture. Thanks to him, future generations will not forget this American community that once was so vibrant and active in the heart of Mexico."


Monday, June 04, 2007


QUADALAJARA --- The Utopia That Once Was

The alarm sounded during the middle of the night. Qui Nhon was on full Red Alert --- there was enemy activity in the area.

Our platoon fell out to its designated locals: my squad to the front bunkers and myself and another soldier to the first bunker. We were startled boys and young men, with our hearts pounding as we joined the confusion of that night. As I took my position in the first bunker, the gate to the compound and the MP post suddenly looked much closer than ever before. The sky was illuminated with flares and there was gunfire at the port's entrance, just fifteen or twenty yards in front of us. The makeshift village of scrap wood and cardboard lean-to's adjacent to the compound was on fire. Distant gunfire sporadically filled the night air. A truck approached the main gate and drew fire from the MPs. It was total chaos. It was as if nobody was in charge or knew what was happening. I could have been back in Rhode Island if I had only extended my tour. Seventeen days from leaving this mixed up war and now this.

It was only the second time in a year I had to chamber a round in my WWII vintage M14. Relief, albeit temporary, was learning that the truck was driven by South Korean civilians just trying to reach the safety of Qui Nhon's port. The MPs waved them by as the gunfire slowed and the confusion lessened.

By morning the fire was out, as villagers inspected what remained. Unofficial word filtered down to us that some GI, in a nearby compound, had opened fire at something suspicious. An errant flare shot into the night sky by another nervous soldier had apparently caused the fire. The events of the past few hours only served to heighten my appreciation of what other sacred young men lived and died with on a daily basis.