Sunday, September 30, 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 yet 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 his 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."

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:

Saturday, September 15, 2007


A Quadalajara Pioneer, Reno was the Mexico Chapter Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)'s first delegate to the National PVA convention held in Santa Monica, CA in July 1964. (QUADALAJARA, Page 277)

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Clifford D. "Kip" Crase, editor/publisher of the Paralyzed Veterans of America's Paraplegia News magazine, passed away on August 15th of pancreatic cancer. Cliff and I knew one another from PVA functions over the years but became much better acquainted once my book went to print. I was granted access to the Paraplegia News achieves and spent many hours at his office researching old copies of the PN dating back to the inaugural issue in 1946 up until the mid-1980's. Matter of fact, Cliff was first to review QUADALAJARA - The Utopia That Once Was and wrote his "Reasons & Remarks" column in the April 2006 PN (See December 9, 2006 BLOG Post) about the book and the story behind it. Seems like just last week (it was April, actually) that I was showing him some old photos of paraplegics and quadriplegics who he may have rehabbed with in the late 50's/early 60's at Chicago's Hines VA Hospital. Cliff's story is slightly different from most quads I've met. It wasn't until three years post-rehab that Cliff went out on his own. He knew about Quadalajara --- had a number of friends venture down there --- but was just independent enough to attend the University of Illinois, the most wheelchair accessible university at that time. Cliff married Nancy Thatcher in 1969 and the couple moved to Phoenix that same year. An excellent athlete both prior to and after his injury, Cliff soon founded a wheelchair sports magazine, Sports 'n Spokes, and years ago took over as PN editor as well. Been working every day for the past 38 years! Rest in peace, my Friend.....